We celebrate lots of things in a year if you think about it, and I hope you do, celebrate. Celebrations change, or at least they have for me. Christmas, the very essence of opening a present and getting the tingles from deep inside the gut as you rip and tear through it, changes with age. The crock pot isn’t as exciting as say an easy-bake oven, now is it? Birthdays, every year counting down to another year older and another year closer to getting on with it – whatever ‘it’ was then, become just another day. Thirty two isn’t as exciting as say sixteen, now is it? No excitement of driving legally for the first time and potentially…wait for it…a new car. Nope, but you still have to pay the bank for the loan on your birthday and the Happy Birthday balloons aren’t even allowed at work.
The older you get, and trust me I’m not claiming thirty two is ‘old’ per se, the more dates you add to the calendar; anniversaries, in-laws birthdays, new birthdays, and death days. The longer your life becomes the more boxes on that calendar that you, in some form, celebrate.
Death days are unusual days because they don’t, necessarily, have to be marked in a box on a calendar to depress everyone. No, death days you never forget and the internal clock (the same one that powers the biological clock you hear about or may feel or felt but with less pressure…more like an iCalendar inside your soul) reminds you the closer one gets. Historically, around Thanksgiving is when a down cycle starts for me and eases back up around February. I know what you’re thinking and no it’s not seasonal depression. It’s a hole looking to be filled, but the person to fill it has passed on so it’s an emptiness in my soul around holidays – loss. The holidays begin the stretch into the moment in time, January 29th, that his life ended. The constellation of death holidays all at once is the reason for the down cycle. The death of Thanksgiving with my brother, the death of shopping for him at Christmas, and as a New Year approaches…ultimately the death of him. In more ways than one every year, like grief, it gets less so a death occurs…the longevity of death pushing me further away from the actual moment. Maybe this is why death vacillates in my writing and speech in the fourth quarter of the year.
I think back to the precious moments (no not the collectible figurines) when life resonates causing me to smile, deeply, and the urge to dance strikes. That moment when the full moon takes your breath away, or when you can feel the sun hit your nose and radiate your soul. Moments when you skip across the street, music hits your nervous system causing your head to move to the beat, a bright idea that shines down from the heavens right through you to the paper, those innocent moments. Laughing until you cry, remember that? Somewhere in the space between death and day I found a reason to celebrate, and that reason is life.
My brother couldn’t stop smiling, it’s true. The very fiber of his being was happiness, and his life was a delight.
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” (Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet)