On this date every year, my husband humors me. I have a practice of building memorials on important days. February 2nd is the time-splitting day for before Bill’s brain injury and after. For 34 February 2nds I have been placing a stone on the memorial altar; both remembering this day and trying to forget it. Celebrating the miracle man I am married to, while still honoring the man I married previous to the accident. They are two different people who live in the same body.
Bill gladly lets me make a big deal over him. Who doesn’t like to be celebrated? He knows it is the anniversary of the most traumatic day of my life. Our lives, really. He just doesn’t remember it. Not the day of, not who he was before. None of it. To him this is another day like any other.
However, to me it is filled with feelings remembered, usually unbidden. Rather than fight the flashbacks, I choose to celebrate them. I choose to focus on the miracle that Bill is. Getting out of bed is a miracle. Getting dressed. Any of the daily activities most people take for granted. All miracles. He shouldn’t be able to do any of it. His ability to function with a good portion of his frontal lobe non-operational is truly amazing. Miraculous. Supernatural even.
I also choose to highlight the faithfulness of God to me in the dark night of my soul. This part of my life was trauma that lasted for months then, and years after. Ongoing and constant in many ways, even now. Yet, the connection God made with me in that time, the comfort he gave me is one of my most cherished “possessions.” The depth of that relationship is the rock I cling to in every storm. Anytime I am stranded in a river of adversity, it rises for me to grasp and hold on to until the floodwaters recede.
So, as I celebrate the anniversary of the life-changing day, and Bill listens to me rehash it all again while trying to remember for himself, I choose to be grateful. For survival. For so many added years. For the man who came after, as well as the one before. Happy Bill’s Alive Day!