A few days ago marked five years since my dad fell in the snow, which was the first symptom of his brain cancer.
We no longer live where there is any snow. But some things don’t leave you.
I didn’t know it was the anniversary, because I hadn’t checked the calendar. But I knew it when I went to bed. I closed my eyes and I was in the room he died in, and I saw his spirit rush out of his chest like a green-blue honeycomb of light. My son had a rattle with that pattern, which is the sort of random nonsensical association that one makes in half-asleep dreams. In my dream, I remembered the Hindu teaching that the body is temporary; but the soul is eternal.
And then suddenly I was in the room here and now, and the light formed a honeycomb around me and he was here, and my own light came out of my chest and joined his. And I was so afraid it was a dream and I would lose him again that I sobbed and sobbed. I had a bad cold and my nose clogged from all the sobbing. And of course I checked the date and it was almost midnight, on the day that five years ago he fell in the snow.
A therapist would call this the “anniversary reaction.”
It happens every year. I don’t ever consciously know it is the date, but the heart knows and the body knows, I guess.