Anniversaries come and go but some linger like the drops of rain hanging on the humming bird feeder outside.  They don’t want to let go and so they hang on until the weather changes and dries them up or drop from their perch with the force of the wind.  Anniversaries are important reminders of the past that are celebrated with the care that should be afforded them.  But, they become less celebrated after someone leaves us and remind us what we miss and can not do anything about.

When these days come up for me, I sometimes do not even realize what time of the year it is and then bam, I get hit upside of the head with a memory that tells me in no uncertain terms that I am to remember something and oh yeah, pay attention.  Then, for me the floodgates get opened and memories stream in so fast that I have a hard time separating the appropriate pictures swirling throughout my mind, so they become a jumbled mess.  You would think that these memories could come in an organized fashion and communicate in a linear way so that I could view them in context.  But, that is not how memory works.

Sitting at my desk on the 11th anniversary of an event so profound to me that I can’t believe that the Earth didn’t stop turning for even just a second, creates a cloud of emotions mixed with pictures.  Oh, I realize what the day is now.  It is not like we forget intentionally, but life has a way of weaving a cocoon around us that is supposed to protect us from hurt, pain and anguish. But, thanks to my internal time clock, it sets off an alarm pretty much exactly as scheduled every year and leads me down the rabbit hole of a life review with someone that I spent so many years with.  I want to thank that clock for going off every year, because without it I would be concerned that the lack of use of these memories would make them go away forever.

For me, playing in these jumbled memories every year helps me to stay connected to the importance of my life.  Even though they are not all fun to relive, they are mine, and I can take them with me on the rest of the journey and mix them up with new memories.  So, when it comes to the end of my time here, I can say that I connected, and I don’t need to be like that water drop and hang on.  Letting go will bring new memories that I can share in, and thanks to this incredible body, I know that I am going to get hit upside the head occasionally. That is perfect.

The lesson learned from this is to not try to control your memories and allow them to flow from the drips in the direction that they need to go.  Being free to sort out the jumbled mess is a job that can be thought of as an honor in remembering the soul that touched your life.  Enjoy the reminders.

Mike Russell

Having grown up in the Air Force in the 50's and 60's, I was able to travel with my family around the world to various bases which opened my mind to the issues affecting people. I grew up in Arizona after my dad retired. I got married in 1975 and was married for 34 years, during which I graduated from Oregon State University and went to work in banking. After the death of my wife in 2009, and through the opening up of my senses during the grief process, I wrote poetry, created a blog, wrote a book and reconnected with my best friend. We created a business called T Michael Healing Arts in Beaverton Oregon after being married. As a business, we serve the Holistic crowd, put on classes, and workshops, as well as attend various fairs around the Northwest. We have two books out at the moment, and contribute monthly articles to the Sedona Journal of Emergence. My journey in grief through all the deaths in my own family has brought me to the point where I became a certified grief counselor, minister, and have written a book on my spiritual journey through grief, as well as many articles on the subject. My goal is to help as many people as possible through their own grief journeys by telling them my story and supporting them with the hope that there are others out there that will support and understand them, and that it is possible to come out of the fog in one piece.

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