I’m on the other side of the three year mark at this point. I can watch a movie where an actor is hospitalized, and not have to turn it off. I can hear a song that reminds me of Megan, and get a little choked up, then laugh it off. I can even pull all of our holiday decorations out from storage, observe the ornaments with Megan and I’s names on them, or pictures, or items we purchased together, curl my lip a bit, and remember the happy times we had at Christmas.
I can remember dates. Anniversaries, birthdays, transplant dates, and so on, and know that they’re coming. I can even find a private writing of Megan’s, written long before her passing, cry my eyes out reading it, and go about my day afterwards. A persistent cough that Shelby or Sarah may be experiencing only pales in comparison to the decades of it that Megan experienced, but it still makes me remember just the same.
These are called “triggers”. I know it. We all know it. It’s the songs, sights, events, smells, sounds and memories that don’t really “haunt” us, so much as they are just part of our day to day lives. Time does not make these go away, but rather, softens their outward impact. When that godforsaken “Let Her Go” song, by Passenger, gets randomly played, it has become somewhat humorous (that particular piece of music has followed me around since the day she died), albeit still thought provoking, to say the least.
There’s also “reminders”. A family member having a child or a new marriage. These remind me of the same occurrences in Megan and I’s life together. They’re not sad moments to remember. They’re memories that in our case happened but once anyway. There is no association with loss, because we DID get to have that together. It’s almost prideful for me to be standing in my brother-in-law’s wedding, with Shelby doing the same across the aisle, and think of Megan. The change the diaper of my nephew is still just as not-fun as it was when Shelby was a baby, but the fact that I am ABLE to do it is a point of pride. I get a sense of honor that I got to have this with or without Megan.
There are “milestones”. These are weird, and mostly revolving around Shelby. She’s graduating 5th grade this coming year, and moving on to middle school. She’s made the honor roll for at least the 12th consecutive grading period since Megan’s death. Her brother getting married and having a child is also part of this category. These are the things that Megan “didn’t get to see”. She won’t ever get to hold her nephew or take Shelby out for “good grade ice cream”. She wasn’t and will never be a physical part of Shelby’s first slumber party or her current incessant practicing on the recorder. These are the events that make you think “god, I wish she was here” but also “I’m so happy for this”.
Then there are the indescribable moments. The moments when I’m just sitting there, reading a book or eating dinner. The moments when I’m not at home, not near a hospital, not attending any ceremonies, and nowhere near a trigger, reminder, or milestone. The moments when, well, I just plain MISS her. There isn’t any logical explanation for these. There is no “why” or “how” to be explored. Big and small, night or day, sometimes, I just miss Megan, for no reason, and for every reason. I am beyond proud of Shelby, and I love Sarah to no end, but once in awhile, I miss Megan. I would never replace the life I have now, but damn, it would be even better if I could say “Hey Megan, how’s it going?” at that moment and receive a response.
These are the moments that grind on. There is no laughing them off or applying logic and intellectual thought to them. A moment turns into a day, which begets a week. Sure, there could be something chemical happening in my brain. I could just be stressed about life in general, and a comforting thought of Megan being not quite so dead is a way to shield myself a bit. It may be that a trigger, milestone, or reminder has happened recently, or will happen soon, and that’s the reason that a sudden wave of missing her comes in.
But it doesn’t need to be explained. I don’t have to overanalyze every single moment in grief. It comes and goes, and it is what it is. Not everything needs a “reason” behind it.
I won’t apply a name to those moments when I just plain miss Megan.
Other than “untitled”.