Nine years ago, on August 12, my mother, Irene Acuña, was diagnosed with lymphoma. She died four months later. This has been the singular most painful loss of my life.
Four years ago, on August 12, I met with the Director of the Doctoral Program at UCLA, Stuart Kirk. This auspicious meeting set in motion a complete transformation of my life. He helped me take the next baby step in my application to the doctoral program and now, even in his retirement, he is my adviser and will be my dissertation defense committee chair.
Anniversaries can be bittersweet. They are reminders of the good and the bad of our past. They trigger positive and painful memories. It helps to be gentle and kind to self and others always, but especially around anniversary dates when our thoughts, feelings and memories can go back to a time when we felt more vulnerable. Remembering and talking about the good and the not-so-good is important in digesting and integrating all memories. The good and the bad live side by side. Focusing on the good is healing. Ignoring the bad is not. Optimism is helpful unless we dismiss the obvious red fluorescent flags. Being whole and mature means we can stand to see it all, just as it is - isn't that the most horrible, wonderful and beautiful thing?
What are your significant anniversary dates? How do you celebrate? How do you grieve?