The actual anniversary of today is three days away, but I’ll always think about it on Mother’s Day because it happened on Mother’s Day.
When I woke up on May 11th, 2014, I didn’t know it then, but that was the last time I would wake up in a world where everything was okay.
Even though it’s been two years now, I think this year is harder because last year I was in South Africa. It was easier to pretend it didn’t really happen when I was so far away from the scene of the news.
This morning I pulled into church and my brain clicked and reminded me that I parked in the exact same spot where I parked that day. I got out of my car and stood where I stood when I heard Scott say the five words that broke my life in half.
But, it’s still Mother’s Day, regardless of any past tragedy, so I pulled it together and walked into the last building that I sat in before the world stopped.
I was so mad at Scott that day for not being in church, and furious that he wouldn’t tell me over the phone what was going on. I didn’t hear a word of the sermon that day because I was thinking about what could possibly be so wrong that he couldn’t even come be with Mom on Mother’s Day.
I remember everything about that day because it was the worst day of my life, but what I remember most is feeling. Unlike any other time I’d gotten heartbreaking news, it wasn’t a sudden shock followed by dizzying numbness; just words…
“They found Daniel Blanchard. Dead.”
…then the heaviest weight, consisting of every dark emotion that exists, set up camp in my heart and stayed that heavy for seven days. I felt all of it all at once and I never stopped feeling.
But I don’t need to tell the story again. I wrote it all here in the kind of detail that makes me feel like I’m living it again when I reread it.
And I don’t know how to write about what I’ve learned since then. I’m surprised how hard it hit me today; I don’t get that sad about it very often anymore. Not that I’m glad it happened or that I don’t miss him now and then, it’s just that I almost turned around and went right back home as soon as I realized where I was and remembered how I felt that day, and I never would have expected that intense of a reaction.
I think it wouldn’t be normal to never feel sad about it again.
I had a friend who hugged me after races even when we were both sweaty and gross, who hated running as much as I did but also loved the family that was our team as much as I did, who was the only one to just sit silently with me and let me cry when I didn’t make it to nationals, and who was just a wonderful person that I wished I’d taken more time to get to know better, and he’s dead because depression is a liar and the lies were too loud and staying alive hurt too much. That is sad, so I’m allowed to be sad about it.
I think that’s the biggest stride I made in this second year, because I was so impatient with my slow progress in moving on, and I never would have said that a year ago.
I think I’m mad that I can never again have a Mother’s Day where all I think about is how great my mom is, because even if it’s only for five minutes, I will always remember the worst day of my life. I’ll start celebrating on May 24th instead; that’s the day I saw my mom for the first time in eleven months. It’ll be like how America doesn’t celebrate MLK on his actual birthday.
And I think I’m going to be okay.