Answer: Many of you have heard me say July is my hardest grief month and it is, by far. For the last few years this month has been extremely difficult to wade through. It literally takes every ounce of strength I have.
If I'm being honest my hard July actually starts at the end of June, when the dreaded Father's Day occurs. This is a hard day for us every year and this year it was especially so. The first (and last) Father's Day we shared with Joel was in the hospital. Father's Day carries tough memories, and also much sadness for the fact that our Daddy is not here to celebrate with his family.
From there we move on to July 2nd, my wedding anniversary. I am not sure if this day will ever not break my heart.
July 5th is Milo's birthday. We celebrated Milo's first birthday together at Joel's rehab center. This was the only birthday with our son that we had as a family. This was also the very last day I ever got to hear Joel's voice. The next day on July 6th he had another stroke, and never came back to us.
July 23rd-the day of his death. This is naturally a tough day, but oddly an inspiring one as well. This is the day we have turned into the Choose Joy Project, performing random acts of kindness in my husband's memory. I love that in a small way we took the power from this date. Even though it's always inherently sad, there's also a big part of me who, oddly, looks forward to it. I love hearing the reports of how you guys are executing your random acts. To know that my husband's life is being honored by this community, well... it's just amazing.
To be fair, there are even a couple tough days in August. August 1st is my birthday (which happened a week after Joel's death) and then two weeks later, August 14th is his birthday. Once I get past that day I breathe a huge sigh of relief. We made it through a tough 6 weeks.
Dates and anniversaries can create landmines of emotions. That is a natural component to grief. Of losing someone you love, I always say you can't get around the difficult parts, as much as I wish it were so. You just have to hold your breath and get through them. Every year I'm grateful once I make it through the tough ones, and always feel relieved to be standing on the other side.
*If you would like to be a part of the Choose Joy Project (this Saturday!) all you have to do to sign-up is email your name to: firstname.lastname@example.org