Funny old thing anniversaries aren’t they?
So I guess the first significant date was the 1st January 2013. It was only over Christmas, whilst thinking about a few other anniversaries, I realised that this was a pretty significant date. I doubt my father or my sister realise it and I’m not going to remind them, seems a bit pointless really, they know the date, the number of years less important. On the evening of the 1st of January 1983 my brother “accidentally” took his own life, in our house. He was 15 at the time and my parents had refused to allow him to go to another party as he had attended one the night before. He got flustered in his angry explanation and we had all laughed at him from the dinner table. He stormed off. During the evening whilst my sister and I watched the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (a program I can’t watch anymore) he asked to go to the shed for a screwdriver and whilst there he made a choice that cost him his life. He chose a particular bug poison in my dad’s pesticide cabinet that we found out years later, increased in toxicity the longer it was on the shelf. It was 10 years old. He took barely a sip, just enough to teach my parents a lesson I guess. By the time he got inside he was already vomiting. His body started shutting down within 20 minutes. The ambulance took over an hour to come because we were semi-rural and they got lost. My grandparents arrived before the ambulance did and my grandfather and dad carried out mouth to mouth resuscitation to keep him alive. He was hospitalised but a few days later it was confirmed that he would not survive. It’s been 30 years. I was 10 years old and whilst I had and have no strong connection to my brother the events of that night still haunt me. A thousand what ifs. I guess this is the big anniversary I’d rather not dwell on as it completely changed all of our lives forever. My mother was never the same again and my brother was NEVER spoken of in the house again. Everything you shouldn’t do, my parents did. I didn’t even get to go to the funeral. I still expect him to turn up one day, having skipped off to live another life somewhere. I went to a different high school, met different people and my life path changed. Without this event I wouldn’t be living in London or married to my husband. A very strange anniversary.
January 7th – 15 years since my mother’s funeral. I think she died a about 5 days earlier, but for some reason this date was the one I remembered. I flew back to Australia on the 1st January to see her as her brain tumour had returned. She was in a much worse state than I thought she’d be. Each day she declined massively until she went into a coma. I had only managed to get 2 weeks off from drama school and in typical Mum fashion, she timed everything so I’d be able to say my goodbye. It was 40 degrees on the day of her funeral. The sky was cornflower blue. Not a great anniversary, but a significant one.
11th January – 7 years since my dad had his stroke. He’s alive, at home, being cared for by his wife in Essex, but he hasn’t got a great quality of life. However, had he died on that day he would have missed out on seeing his youngest daughter marry and 4 grandchildren, so I imagine he thinks it’s well worth it. He’s still going strong. Not a big anniversary but worth remembering.
So, January isn’t such a great month for my family, but life has a funny way of changing things. January IS a wonderful month because on the 20th January 5 years ago my longed for daughter who was conceived via IVF was born. This has made January a very important, happy month in my house. My son was due on 5th January 2 years ago (although he opted to arrive on the rubbish date of Christmas Eve!) So for me, January is a wonderful month despite these horrendous reminders of past sadness.
And when we are done with January……….I get to celebrate 10 years of marriage in August. I’m so impressed that Hubby and I have managed to weather the storm through some quite tumultuous times to get here. I wouldn’t be without him and a fact I need to remind myself of sometimes when I’m grimacing about his lack of washing up skills.
So for all the BIG anniversaries that aren’t so good, there will always be those that are amazing and remind us of what is really in important in life.
Do you have a month of significant anniversaries? Is there a time of year that throws them up, good and bad?