The Passing of the 9’s
by MrsTDJ (Taya Dunn Johnson)
Funny how things take on a clarity that’s not apparent until you are in the midst of the situation. I gave myself way too much credit and I was overconfident about my ability to control my emotions. I made a conscious decision that I would not mourn the anniversary of my husband’s death. Nope, WOULD NOT DO IT. I told myself that it was foolish. Although June 9 changed everything, I didn’t want that date to paralyze me for eternity. Yeah, go ahead and shake your heads. “Denial” is more than just a long azz river in Egypt, right? Somehow I thought that I could actually control the dates upon which I felt the most pain. Riiiiiiiiiiiight. I was even so bold as to tell my therapist that I wasn’t counting the days since MrTDJ passed away. I’m a liar. A naïve, well-intentioned liar, but still a liar. Little did I know that I’d have not the teensiest bit of control and would be at the mercy of my calendar. I have not taken an actual calendar and marked off the days since his death, but my mental calendar is clicking and ticking.
I keep a personal journal and thank goodness it is the only witness to the daily arc of my thoughts. It’s clear to me now that I was altered and unable to honestly acknowledge that there was a connection between my waves and the 9th day of each month. I awoke this morning at 1:41 and was compelled to pull out my journal. Hmm, me thinks maybe there is a pattern. On July 9, I had a dental appointment for a crown repair. Ugh, bad day, no wonder I was in such a terrible mood. Riiiiiiiiight. August 9 found me calling into work because I’d barely slept two hours in the three previous nights. I cancelled plans with friends at the last minute on Sunday, September 9 because I just didn’t have the energy. Although October 9 came on the heels of Columbus Day and a three-day weekend, I simply couldn’t get it together to do or say much to anyone. And now, it’s 3:23 am on November 9 and I can’t stop crying. The 9th of each month has done just what I unrealistically denied it could do – slam me against a brick wall and send me spiraling down the rabbit hole.
I know not how to change the course. It’s as if I build myself up from the 10th of the month and then subconsciously, my defenses weaken around the 7th of the following month and by the 9th, I’m drowning again. I think of my husband hundreds of times each day and the good memories have not yet tempered the stinging ache of having lost him. That’s not to say that I don’t smile and laugh, because I do. Undoubtedly as the 9th approaches, my efforts to sustain a sense of normalcy seem to be in vain. At some point today, I know that I will drift off in the middle of a conversation, stop watching during the middle of a television show or completely check out during a meeting at work. During that time, I will relive, with laser like precision and accuracy, the last 2 hours of my husband’s life. Those 120 minutes run through my mind in about 7 or 8 minutes. The moments play like snapshots in a photo montage and then there is a pause. The pause makes way for our last, laughter filled conversation as we awaited the arrival of the paramedics. Snapshots again. Then another pause for MrTDJ’s last interaction with LittleTDJ. And then the FEELING.
I’ve never blogged in detail about the events of that morning and I doubt I ever will. I’ve journaled them and talked to my therapist and inner circle about them. What I will share is the FEELING that I experienced. I was standing on the front porch of our home when my husband made his transition. At that very moment, I KNEW. Minutes before a paramedic came to update me on his status, I KNEW. Well before we traveled to the hospital and he was officially pronounced, I KNEW. We’d shared a heart for 2 decades and gone through too much for me NOT to know. I FELT his spirit pass through my body followed by the gentlest of breezes blowing across my cheeks. I KNEW because I FELT the essence of him hug me tightly, and then release me. I was absorbed in the stillness as I FELT him float to the heavens above me. The tears didn’t come until much later. Dare I say that the moment was both heart wrenching yet peaceful. It’s hard for me to express in words. When I think of it, a line from the Sarah McLachan song, Angel, passes through my mind. “In the arms of the angels, fly away from here”.
I feel him all the time, but on the 9th, everything deepens. The 9th marks another month that I’ve had to survive here without him. Maybe someday, the 9th won’t send me straight into darkness without passing go. Tonight, I’ve got plans with friends and I’m trying to prep myself to hold it together. I know how I’d like today to go, but the universe has offered me no assurances. Five months into my new normal and it still seems like I’m living somewhere in the Land of Oz. And even the Land of Oz would be ok if MrTDJ could get here.
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