There were times over the past 731 days when I could’t imagine making it to this day, much less seeing it as a springboard. But it’s the only way out. Out of the pain. Out of the dark. Out of this vicious cycle of guilt that lurks just out of sight, lashing out to knock me off my feet when I least expect it. You got what you had hoped for, inflicting even more pain than I think you could have imagined. I suppose I owed it to you to suffer as I have. But I can’t do it any more. I won’t.
Since that awful day and every day that has followed, I have measured every instant of the distance from April 23, 2018 as it crawls painfully behind me in the rearview mirror. That dreadful date on the calendar, today’s date, has had an enormous power over me, a power that, in actuality, I gave it, and only I can take away.
The pictures taken down. The albums safely stowed. I have only the images burned in my mind, some more vivid than others, some more painful and catastrophic. But what a waste it would be to focus on the darkest, when the brightest are the most beautiful and full of life. We had our challenges, but we also shared so many wonderful things together. I will forever remember the best of them.
It’s a day — a day like any other day. Full of memories, sad and sweet. Hopes near and far. From this day forward, I choose to simply recognize this day each year as a milestone of achievement, a vantage point from which to look back in wonder and look forward with hope and a desire to make every other day all worth it. The pain too is locked away in a box, and occasionally I will open it and taste the salt of my tears, if only to know that I am still alive. Still growing. Still moving forward.
I miss you. Now and forever.