Beginning on December 14 we have my dead husband's birthday.
Now, you'd think you could kind of skip right over a dead husband's birthday if you wanted to, right? One of the essential features of being dead is that you stop having your birthday. There is no shopping for gifts for the dead person, no singing the dead person happy birthday, no choosing a favorite restaurant and making reservations for the dead husband and his living wife, no being extra nice and leaving all crabbiness behind for your man, no theater tickets, no gourmet dessert, no special, sweet, soft surprises of any kind at all.
In fact, a dead husband's birthday is no birthday at all UNLESS he has an identical twin. In this case, which is in fact the case here, we get together to celebrate the birthday of identical twins which has become the birthday of just one man. There's a family gathering! There's a really nice guy having a birthday! There are presents to open! There is laughing! There is singing happy birthday! There are two children celebrating the birthday of their uncle and the outline of a birthday of their dead father. Now, come on, is there anything sadder on a birthday than an identical twin that has become one man? The answer to this question may possibly be yes, but I'll be getting to that later in this story.
Then you have the double duo of Christmas and New Year's Eve as a single parent and a single woman.
The coping device for this most festive time of year (no doubt for many people other than myself) is to alternate between attempting festivity, feeling genuine festivity, faking festivity, pretending not to care about this time of year, and caring deeply about this time of year. If all this mental and emotional activity exercised my muscles, this would be a month of incredible toning and shaping.
Next up, January 2, which used to be my anniversary, but I have re-named it my "sadiversary."
This year I would have been married 17 years. Isn't that an accomplishment? In just three years, I would have been married 20 years! What do you say to a widow on her anniversary? Perhaps Happy Sadiversary. This year I actually sat down with my kids and watched our wedding video. I looked very happy. It was nice to see that happy face again!
Finally, to finish up THE MONTH THAT WON'T BE IGNORED, BUZZZZ, BUZZZZ, we have January 14, the day Ken died and my daughter's birthday all wrapped into one fine day.
The day Natalie turned 10, she walked downstairs to hear her six year old brother say, "Natalie, Dad's dead." Still, we filled the house with balloons, went to a bowling alley with a bunch of girls, and even hosted a sleepover. (I will be forever proud of this fact, and grateful to my fine friends for propping me up that day in 2006.)
T.S. Eliot, in The Wasteland, declared in its first line: April is the cruelest month. I beg to differ Mister Eliot (but I do love your poem and you are an inspiration).