Anthony reflects upon the anniversary of Janice’s death

For a while I couldn’t stop crying, like last year, like eight months ago. I thought I was done with that. I had gotten used to choking up occasionally, and I accepted it like allergic sneezing—more inconvenient than dangerous—and then it was every day, then most of every day. I thought I’d peak on the date Janice died, but I didn’t.

I had a few friends in the garden the evening of the anniversary. We gently reminisced about Janice around a fire, because Janice dearly loved a fire. We have a fire pit because Janice wanted one. In Minnesota, we used a wash tub in the back yard.

I loved hearing how other people thought of her. I knew her well, and I wish I’d known her better. I also recognize the futility of such a desire. I know she’s gone forever and yet will live on in my heart blah blah pfooey.

So several of us said things about Janice, what we remembered, what we loved. I know Janice was thoroughly human and imperfect like the rest of us. I know. What we remembered most, or at least talked about, was the good, of which there was plenty. Janice’s generosity, rigorous honesty and lack of pretension are what count, the same as with your own personal generosity, rigorous honesty and lack of pretension.

There was only one mention of Janice’s capacity for criticism. That was it for negativity. I don’t think we were actively ignoring what we didn’t like about Janice. We just love her, and that’s why we were gathered around a fire talking about her. We weren’t there because we didn’t like her, and with her not around anymore, her love and compassion are what matter. The rest falls away.

I seem not to need a grief trigger anymore, if I ever did. I cry for no reason. It sometimes seems to have no connection to Janice, like a cosmic grief, supernatural sadness. I’m crying for you, too, I think. When I get like that, what I want—and this is how I know I’m becoming a pitiful old man—is a hug. I want to feel someone else and hear someone’s breath and think for a while that it ain’t just me, although I suppose it is. Mostly I don’t get a hug, although that’s changing. Thank you, honey.

All this has nothing to do with my dating or being dated, phenomena dealt with by an apparently completely different area of my brain and/or psyche, which is just as well and doesn’t matter, because I’m done dating.