Anniversaries are great and something we look forward to if they are celebrating and commemorating a happy occasion. However annivessaries of a more somber nature are, as I have been finding out in the last few days, a lot harder to deal with. On the 17th October it will have been a year since I received a phone call after my 9 am lecture on Catherine the Great that my dad had died from a heart attack during the night, two days after his 56th birthday. In the year that has past I have become an adult, graduated from university, found a job I love and have managed to become near completely self reliant. It sounds easy on paper and in my stubbornness I have powered through it, my ambiton and determination to succeed edging me on. Of course it hasn’t been that simple. From one minute to the next the structure of a normal family that as much as I had issues with my father ( and there were no doubt many) at once disappeared. I had to find a job after university because I could no longer fall back on parental monetary support. I had to quickly learn how to deal with adult responsibilities because I could no longer pass these annoying little tasks on to anyone but myself.
In a way I was lucky to have made a life for me in London already. Indeed one of the main struggles was not about me but about witnessing my mother essentially loose her purpose in life. Coming from a generation that was only ever meant to be a housewife she was plunged into a lonely, dark and lost place that she is still struggling to find her way out of. We are so used to being the child in the relationship with our parents no matter what age that it was extremely hard for me to suddenly having to be a parent like figure in terms of emotional support and reason to her whilst of course also dealing with the turbulences of deciding on and setting off on the rest of my life after the end of university. Seeing someone that you love so much confused and volatile to the point where there seems to be no solution but to let them make their own mistakes and not knowing when and how she will be happy again has been heartbreaking. I have had great friends that have become like my family and that have offered me the support and also fun to keep me a slightly more sane and balanced person but there are always moments of worry and uncertainty of the remainders of what was once my family which cannot be fixed that I don’t wish upon anyone.
October is going to be hard month for me. A month were snippets of this Wednesday morning will return, where I will consider if I have made my dad in some way proud with the grown up life i have made for myself and where I will think about my mother even though right now I can do no more than love her and hope she will be a complete person one day again. Maybe this first anniversary will be the hardest but maybe it is good for me to actually let the memory make me terribly sad that one time a year. A human life is precious with all its flaws and when ended to soon can’t just be forgotten. The family I had may be gone forever but will always be part of me in some way and October will remind me of this each and every year.