Today is an anniversary of a traumatic event in my life. My wife moved out of our house today, one year ago. Compounding this trauma, over the next month are three events that were once happy annual events in my life: my birthday, my son's birthday, and Christmas. Thinking about them now brings up feelings of profound sadness and grief.
I have been doing some reading (Mayo, Tim Hill, and Theravive) about the triggers, length, and manifestations of grief. Yes, anniversaries are definitely a trigger, sometimes even unconscious anniversaries. No, nobody knows how long a person's particular grief process will take (but 2 years seems to be a minimum for the end of a marriage). Yes, allowing yourself to go with your body's unique way of processing grief is the way to go (tears, curling up in bed, talking to friends).
While today marks the end of something in my life, it also marks the start of something. I had a horrible night's sleep last night. I know I am going to need to hang out with some friends today. I have a ton of negative energy floating around and through my head, telling me that I should just go back to my old way of living. In spite of all this, I am going to start a new ritual to mark the occasion that I was given another chance to find and live my own life.
The first part of the ritual is on the day itself - I will buy some new clothes on this day. Clothes that I love. Clothes that I look good in. Clothes that are me.
The second part of the ritual is later in the week - as this anniversary falls on the week of my birthday, I am going to celebrate my birthday each year with my friends. Because it is not just a birthday celebration any more. It is the celebration of a new life.