Sometimes grief strikes me as being totally bizarre. For example, the eighteen-month mark is particularly difficult, sometimes even more so than the one-year anniversary. I do not know why, I just know that it is because so many of us bereft experience the same thing. In my case, for a couple weeks around the eighteen-month mark, I felt as I had during the first months after my life mate/soul mate died. Somehow, someway, it seemed as if he just died. And maybe in a way, he had. Grief is a journey of starts and stops, retracing steps, standing still to catch your breath, and then being pushed into the future again. Each step forward in grief’s journey is a step further away from our loved one, a step further away from the last time we talked, or hugged, or smiled at each other. Now, all we have left of them are our memories, and as each memory fades, a bit more of our loved ones die.
But such incremental deaths do not explain the upsurge of grief at eighteen months. (Here’s an ironic twist — I googled “Why is there an upsurge of grief at eighteen months? And the top three links that came up were links to this blog.) Oddly this upsurge is not a conscious one. I knew the date, of course, but I had no expectation of feeling any different at eighteen months than I had at seventeen months, so once again, grief took me by surprise. But the upsurge happens even if you lose track of time.
I received this email from a bereft friend today: I woke up crying at 6 this morning and didn’t stop until after noon. This reminds me of those months right after he died. I haven’t had such severe morning cries for a long time. I guess I might be heading into that upsurge a little earlier than expected.
I emailed her back, saying she was right on time since this was her eighteenth month.
Her response: Good grief. Time is losing meaning for me. I’ve been thinking my 18th month starts in February. I guess I’ve been subconsciously trying to avoid it.
See? Even when you get the date wrong, your body knows. There really is something totally bizarre about grief.