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FORTY SEVEN

Cindy Maddera

Chris turned forty one and then died one hundred and three hours later. This is the first thing I remember when I wake up on February sixth. It is the beginning of the losing. If this were a normal day and there were no such things as tumors or cancers, Chris would be turning forty seven, but this isn't fantasy land. Tumors happen. Cancer has been a thing since the dawn of man. No one lives forever. I can't even image what we would be doing to celebrate his birthday this year. Movie? Dinner? Maybe have Amy, Roger and Charolette up for the weekend? Traci, Chris and Quinn? Maybe we'd go there? I don't know. The only birthday of Chris's that we celebrated after our move to KCMO was the one before he died. It had only been a year since our move. 

One year. 

2011 was a year of great change. 2012 was the black hole that sucked up all of that greatness.

I keep thinking that there really is going to be a day when I don't dwell on this day. Facebook reminded me to share a Thankful Friday post from February sixth where I wrote about being thankful for the time Chris and I had. I read through it and rolled my eyes. What a load of sugar coated bullshit. Of course I am grateful for that time, but come on. I'm the Pollyanna of grief. Oh look at me! The person I expected to grow old with died before we were old, but I'm doing so great! Sometimes I think this attitude I have where I try to show everyone (mostly myself) that I'm doing just fine, diminishes Chris and what we had. I mean, if it was all so great, how is it that I've been able to move forward so quickly. What I don't always tell you or anybody is just how much I have to work at staying in forward motion. 

Do you watch This is Us? I don't know why Michael and I watch it. It makes us both cry every damn episode. The latest episode was the hardest for me but at the same time, a little validating. Twenty years later and each family member is still grieving. Each member of the family spends the anniversary of their Dad's/Husband's death dealing with it in their own way. Mom makes lasagna. Kate watches a home movie. Randall goes all out for the Super Bowl, Dad's favorite thing. Kevin...usually does nothing, but that changed this year. We see him start his own tradition. I feel like each of those characters represent my years of grief. I made everything jambalaya the first year. I got lost in all of our old photos. I haven't gone all out for anything or started a new tradition. Those are for years to come I guess. 

I have removed 90% of his junk from this house. Mostly garbage. Some toys. All of his clothes with the exception of a T-shirt that I still wear and his old bath robe. I still wear that too because it's big and soft and he didn't really wear it but once or twice. I never got around to fixing his Facebook account. It requires a photo ID and I've put all of that stuff someplace so organized that I don't remember where. Also it's for selfish reasons. The daily onslaught of messages to his timeline is too much for me. So I've let it slide. I'll fix it eventually. I owe it to the others who loved him. Just not today. Today I am too busy being split in two between the life I had and the life I have.