I didn’t remember my anniversary this year. Somehow, that’s a victory of sorts after thirty-nine years of remembering every single one of them, twenty-two years after there was absolutely no reason to do so.
Maybe it was because my son had surgery and couldn’t come for Christmas, my first Christmas in thirty-eight years that he didn’t get the stocking I made for him, complete with the chocolate orange he now expects.
Maybe it was the absence of my oldest grandson, the first of twenty Christmases that he didn’t spend time with his family as we gathered to celebrate without him.
Maybe it was the strain of watching my younger sister struggle with chemotherapy and surgery for breast cancer, knowing that her suffering is not yet at an end.
Maybe it was visiting my beloved oldest brother for the last time as the dementia that ravished his memories gave way to the effort of labored breathing that finally quieted as he broke the veil that separated him from the confines of his earthly body.
Maybe it was just time that I stop remembering.
Or maybe this is a reminder that no pain can last forever. It can distract us from worthy goals; it can cripple us and prevent our living the lives we were meant to live; it can make us bitter or resentful; it can make us doubt the good intentions of those around us. Or it can remind us that we are alive, and as long as we breathe, there is always the hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
I didn’t remember my anniversary this year. I think that’s a good thing.