Two years and Two Days

Another significant date has passed.  It’s now been two years and two days since Maggie’s Angel Day.  It’s difficult to understand how two opposing feelings can rub up against each other and not cause a significant amount of mental friction, enough to label me more than just a little nuts.  It seems like just moments ago I was hugging her at the airport after she flew back home from MD Anderson (it was such a great hug – I had had missed her so much that weekend.)  I can feel her arms around me, her hands open wide and palms pressing into my shoulder and back.  I can remember how she felt as she sighed softly, happy to be home to me back in my arms.  And other memories are still so familiar.  I can still remember how her hair felt in my fingers or how it felt to snuggle my face into the crook of her neck.  I could draw out on paper the freckles on her shoulder and I can still feel the small of her back in my hand.  It wouldn’t surprise my body or heart if she walked right through the door.  I would go right back to holding her, hugging her and loving her like she never left.  Yet it also seems like that other moment, the one two years and two days ago, was so long ago, like a dream.  It’s been two years since I last kissed my baby.  TWO YEARS.  So long ago yet like it all just happened.  How does that not seem a little crazy?

My head shrink tells me that the two-year mark is a psychologically significant, that people who learn the news can get their heads around two years without experiencing much of an associated shock.  Somehow “more than two years ago” is less jarring than “18 months ago” or even “20 months ago.”  “More than two years” can be dismissed as “some non-descript time in the past.”  If it happened more than two years ago, then it basically didn’t happen, right?  Oh, anyone who makes that little misguided assumption is going to be quite surprised one day….

I know that May 4 will always be a day for many people to remember to be sad that Maggie isn’t here anymore.  I know people gathered in various parts of the town to drink wine and toast her life that day.  I also know that my reaction to that date confuses some people and they wonder why I’m not more sad.  But as I’ve said before (exactly last year about this time), May 4th is just another day to me, just another long day without my baby to hold, just like May 3, May 2, May 1, or even February 28, or February 14, or <fill any significant or not significant date here>.  Just another day.

I suppose in some ways I look forward to when May 4th will be a reminder for me to remember her.  Perhaps May 4th will become more significant as my daily emotional noise lessens.  As the little reminders, the firsts, the lasts, and the landmines fade to rare occurrences instead of the daily or hourly occurrences they are now, one day I’ll forget to remember.  Then May 4th will remind me.  You know, just in case I forgot.

Until then, May 4th is just another day – one more day without my baby.

I love you, My Baby, no matter where you are.  I miss you no more today than I did yesterday and no less than I will tomorrow.

8 thoughts on “Two years and Two Days

  1. You don’t know me but your blog has helped me deal with my mother’s own battle with colon cancer. I thought of you and Maggie on the 4th and will always hold good thoughts for you as you continue on without your beloved wife. Thank you for leaving your heart and soul on this blog. And please know that it has helped a lot of people.

    1. Thanks, Christine, for your note and for reminding me that this blog is helping people. It may sound odd but it’s easy to lose site of that, even as important that is to me.

      I’m very sorry for the events and experiences that brought you here. I wish you all the best during this difficult time.

  2. Although we’ve never met, I have followed you as my husband died from colon cancer July 5,2009. You are 2 months ahead of me and I have followed your blog since May 2008 learning from you in my own personal journey. One coincidence is that our wedding anniversary was May 4th! I have learned so much from you and you have helped me so much as I navigate my own path in widow land. Thank you for the blessing you are and sharing your story! It has made a difference to me!

    1. I’m sorry for your loss. We walk the same paths separated by just a few months. Damn.

      I’m glad that at least what I’ve written here has helped in some way. You aren’t alone.

  3. Hi Chris- A couple of years ago I was flipping through the newspaper and saw Maggie’s picture in the obituary section. And I remember saying aloud in my office, “Oh sweetie- what happened?” Because what was that pretty girl doing in the obituaries? I love what you’ve written down here. It’s such a credit to you both. xo, Ellen

    1. Not that Maggie and I were big obit readers but I remember a conversation we had one time about how obits were so frustrating to read, especially when they were accompanied by a picture that stood out (like hers did, as you so eloquently described) because they beg the question “What the heck happened here?” We had both agreed that we wouldn’t leave that same mystery, that we’d say what happened in the obit. So I did.

      That picture was from our engagement pictures. She was so beautiful in that picture, actually, in all the pictures. Imagine, if you will, if that picture caught your eye, how fantastically radiant she was in real life. Yup, she was that beautiful.

      Thanks for writing, Ellen.

  4. I was just thinking about Maggie and all the funny and touching stories shared by so many of her friends and family around this time two years ago. Missing her and thinking about you.

  5. I came here tonight because it was 2 years on May the 2nd that Brad died leaving me with Emma and Brennan then almost 2 and 4 and now almost 4 and 6. I still fantasize about him walking through the door saying, “Hey Fiona, what did I miss? How long have I been gone?” I want to say, “This week Emma learned how to ride a 2-wheeler and it was awesome to watch her and where were you? Brennan broke his finger in a door on Wednesday at daycare and we have to go and see a plastic surgeon on Wednesday and you need to be there because he was crying for his Daddy in the emergency room and you weren’t there. I was there heartbroken and feeling so alone and not a part of our life as we planned. 2 years…..Cancer has taken my mornings, my afternoons and my nights…..Chris, I feel like I’m living the life you would have if you and Maggie had kids. I am forced to be strong and soldier on. My shrink told me that 1 parent is better than 2 fighting and not agreeing on how to parent. Brad and I agreed on how to parent and that makes me all the more bitter. I have these wonderful and happy little ones that fully understand what it means when Mommy says, “I’m done!” That’s when Daddy is supposed to step in but it never happens and it never will. 2 years. 2 years. Stay strong. It’s only been 2 years…….Fiona.

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