The Death Date

Today, May 18, 2018, is David’s third death date. The term “death date” assumes huge proportions. The first year, I went from month to month, from the eighteenth of one month to the eighteenth of the next, anniversary to anniversary, wondering if I would make it to May 18, 2016. Each month became more difficult. The fifth month hit me the hardest because David had never been away that long, except for the five months while recovering from severe septicemia. But, he came back, he always came back. This time, I knew he would never come back. I didn’t know if I could get through the first death date, and I dreaded it.


When it finally came, the death date staggered me. I just hung on, waiting for the day to be over. I did not remember David’s death, I did not imagine it, I reexperienced, back in his death room for his last three days. From earliest morning, I was watching the clock, waiting for the exact time of his death. At that precise moment, 10:30 AM, I sent an email to the people who had been with me during the long months of his death. We all gathered to go to a memorial mass said by the Jesuit who had said David’s funeral mass. Then, the first death date was over.


I was always aware of the approaching second death date, but I was not afraid of it. My friends sent notes and telephoned me, but I had packed the day with activity to distract myself. Besides, at this time I was angry at David. I was sad, but not shaken to my core.


This year, I don’t know what to expect. I have moved from the death place, I’m living in an apartment where David had never lived, and I’m just beginning to believe that I will have a life of my own, no matter how difficult it is to find that life. I’ve been feeling like Nancy Klein Maguire, independent, resourceful, and resilient. But, I’ve been working on the chapter in my book describing David’s last days. Writing that chapter puts me right back in the death room. So, this will not be an easy death date. Send me good thoughts.