For the past three years, I have reserved the ten days between July 1st and July 10th, I have put them aside as a reminder of the last ten days of Marianne's life in 2008. Ten days of hospice care at home; ten days of gradual increases in pain medication; ten days of withdrawal; ten days of her body slowly shutting down, system by subsystem, bit by bit, until there was no room for her and no room for me any more.
I like to think that her spirit didn't need her body anymore, and so slowly freed itself, piece by piece. In the Bahá'i faith is written "to consider that after the death of the body the spirit perishes is like imagining that a bird in a cage will be destroyed if the cage is broken, though the bird has nothing to fear from the destruction of the cage". So like the bird in the cage, her spirit was freed, and remains free.
It becomes easier, year by year, to look back at those ten days. The pain is eased a little - not quite so raw. Memory is selective, filtering the view, rounding the edges, allowing me to focus on those times when love was affirmed, when a kiss was shared, a hand held, a touch received.
Much has happened in these four years: two boys have grown into young men, their lives filling in from the corners, confidence growing and their futures slowly appearing, pixel by pixel.
And what for me? I am still reminding myself to be in the moment, to take another deep breath and start again. Life is lots of new beginnings after all. I need to remind myself of that at times like this.