June 1 is crisp. Somehow compact and rigid. It sits right at the promise of summer. It can barely contain its toothy smile in light of all the bounty it will bear. Almost smug. But it can’t help it. It’s just being June 1. As it should.
Apparently, I’d met June 1 before. But it was in passing. Carelessly. Without any kind of acknowledgment. I can remember running into it once in a while. But we had no connection. No relationship.
Since Ken died in 2011, June 1 has taunted me from early in the year, looming at the far end of May. Waiting for me. To punch me in the gut. Hard. Reminding me of the smallest nuances of that surreal morning when Ken’s weary body finally yielded and my heart fractured. But it’s just being June 1. My June 1.
I find a struggle in marking a day when something so painful happened. A day when my life changed. Forever. I try to remember it’s also the day Ken’s pain ended and he was set free…or whatever happens. He was released from the shell that was failing him. A shell I was so intimately connected to. And loved. Sometimes it’s that severed physical connection that still aches, like the phantom pains he experienced in his prosthetic leg.
This June 1 is somehow more polite. No punches to throw. No flinching as it approached. I nodded at it with great reverence. We didn’t speak. We didn’t smile. We’re not close. We’ll probably never be close. But we have an understanding. A silent pact. Because we know what happened today. New journeys began for both Ken and for me.
My life looks different on June 1, 2014 than it did in 2011. Most of it is unintentionally intentional. Not because I pushed myself before I was ready, but because I made changes in their own time–in spite of how scary they might have seemed. Different home. Different car. Different Chow Chow. But it feels much the same as it always did. It’s a life full of family and friends–both new and old. I take great pride in knowing it’s a life Ken would love for me.
In the end, I’ll always surrender to the whims June 1–whatever her mood or mine. I can’t help it. I’m just being me.
(Though I would like the chance to punch it back. Hard. Just once. Maybe twice. But I would apologize immediately. And drive it to the ER. Or at least drop it off near the ER.)