From early on in our relationship July was always a favourite month. Being slap bang in the middle of the summer (i.e. my school holidays) we usually went away at this time of year. Add to that the fact that the 7th (today) is my birthday and that the 26th is Liane's birthday it was always a month we looked forward to, enjoyed and celebrated. We chose the 17th of July as our wedding date because it was a third reason to celebrate us and sat in the middle of the two birthdays. And this year we'd booked a week long yoga retreat on the Adriatic Coast (via Ashtanga Yoga Dublin - Paula and David are incredible people and excellent teachers) which was ending today before a trip around the Italian coast. Dreams eh...
So many people have spoken to me in person/online/via messages about the occasions being the toughest part of this new journey I am on. Birthdays, anniversaries, events and so on. It's strange - you take partners for granted on those days - rushing to be on time, fussing over gifts, worried about booking the right restaurant etc. - what I'd do just to hold her hand today. To be given one of her handmade cards. To laugh at another quirky and thoughtful gift. To argue over a trivial detail.
(I'm sitting on my parents' couch eyes full and throat tight, trying to articulate a maelstrom of thoughts for this post and in runs my ecstatic three year old niece - "Mark, look I got a jelly! I did a wee in my potty!" - kids are amazing and have helped me more than I can express. That's another day's post).
I've a simple approach to these events - launch myself at them with positivity and surrounded by friends and family. The phrase "it's what she would've wanted" gets said with ease but it remains a staple of my current mood. "What would Liane actually want me to do here?" - I can tell you what she wouldn't want - moping, self-pity, withdrawal, hiding, dishonesty, fear. She'd want me to be strong, to believe in myself and to reach out and lean on others. And that, that is exactly what I intend to do.
I'll celebrate my birthday with my twin brother and some friends in Clonmel this weekend at a festival she'd have loved. I'll celebrate our wedding anniversary in Clifden, where we were married, amongst the wild charms of Connemara. I'll visit her grave, I'll swim, I'll eat Indian and I'll meet our friends/family on her birthday. Each day will be difficult in different ways. Each day I'll face knowing others are with me. Each day I'll miss her with all my heart. And each day I'll persevere. What else is there to do?