Oddly, however, March 29 was not as hard as I thought it would be. A dear friend of mine celebrated her first wedding anniversary without her husband, and I ached more for her loss than I did for my own on March 29.
I think March 29 was better because I did a comparison. I remembered how I felt on December 31, the day Daddy's body was found, when I collapsed to the floor and spent the rest of the day in a trembling stupor. I remembered how I felt on January 29, when the shock of a full month having passed was more than I could bear. I remembered how I felt on February 28, when every forward motion still seemed pointless.
I didn't feel any of those things on March 29. I just felt sad. Somehow, this shift in emotional competency filled me with hope. March 29 felt hopeful. For the first time, I saw a light at the end of my tunnel. A small glimmer of a promise that life will go on, and in a bearable fashion.
I'm reading a book right now called The Light of Eidon, by Karen Hancock (Bethany House). She describes a scenario on page 162 that hit home for me, in terms of my response to Daddy's death. A sickly prince is sold into slavery by his brother, Gillard, and forced to row. (Think Ben Hur.)
The days that followed were an unending nightmare of straining, agonized muscles and blistered, bleeding flesh pitted against wood and water, driven on by the throbbing drumbeat and the merciless quirt.
...Day melded with night. Pain and Gillard and the motion of rowing became his only realities. Even in his sleep he rowed and felt the quirt and heard his brother's laughter, the mocking high-pitched sound setting his teeth to grinding.
He wondered occasionally if he were going mad, muttering a litany of determination under his breath in time to the beat. I won't give up. I won't give up. It became his personal rhythm, driving him on and on and on. Survive for just another day. Endure for just another hour.
Then one morning he noticed the pain had lessened. That Gillard no longer held the whip, nor did he command the drummer. His hands and feet were healing, calluses thickening where blisters had been. His breath no longer ravaged his throat with each exertion.
Best of all, he received only four blows of the quirt that day. There came a time soon after when he received none at all. Each new day brought a significant reduction of the pain, and in its absence his thoughts returned to rationality. Eventually he realized he would survive, and the knowing filled him with wonder.
On March 29, I realized that I will survive. And the knowing fills me with wonder.