On the 17th of January a group of family and friends took time to mark the second anniversary of Kent's death.
It was a strange day. I don't like the idea that how I am feeling should be dictated by the calendar. I think I do find the lead up to difficult dates particularly hard. I tend to feel sort of hamstrung and unable to do things. It's a relief when it's over. And on the morning of the 17th my mind did turn with great clarity to some pretty difficult memories. But I was treated with such lovely tender care by those around me and it was nice to have that acknowledgement. There are other days of such fragility that are nothing on the calendar, but noone knows when they are, and the special care on special days can be remembered in the in-betweens. And I wouldn't really want to be treated like an eggshell every day.
It was hard to know how to mark the day, we couldn't really do an exact repeat of last year. But we had to do something. I bought some flowers and lay them on the grave, and while a friend played guitar we each took a stem and put it in a vase on the headstone. It felt like the right thing to do.
I was somehow both stunned and numbed at the sight of our children playing with the flowers as they sat upon Kent's grave. It was the most unbelievable and incomprehensible thing. They enjoyed the flowers and the little guy enjoyed making sure everyone had a turn. But when I cried a little behind my sunglasses they both left other various family members and came over to me, popping down on my knee and sitting quietly for a long time while I held on tight. I asked later and learnt that they had both chosen to come on their own, noone had suggested it. They saw me, and came.
It's hard, really hard, going in to the third year. I've read quite often about the second year. Everyone seems to like to say how noone talks about the second year, and how all the support comes in the first and you feel lonelier in the second. But never have I ever read anything about the third year. It seems to just be lumped in to "the rest of your life," and that's pretty tough.