Is it human nature to find yourself tracking back to where you were a year ago? I'm assuming that it is, especially when a major anniversary is fast on the approach. The desire to compare and contrast where you stand today with where you were twelve months back is one that is at times overpowering, and somewhat inescapable.
Since last year when I lost my Mum during its watch, March has lost its claims on being a kind, happy corner of the calendar. While I don't want the third month to be all doom and gloom -- especially as there are loved ones birthdays tossed in the March mix -- it generally feels like a cold, black hole. It's a strange feeling.
March for me, used to be that month when the NHL season was winding down. I'd be obsessed with my team's drive towards a playoff berth. The weather would often be teasing us with the first appearance of Spring. Robins would return, and the dirty snowbanks would be in mid-retreat. The first steps back into what felt like a renewed life with plenty of sunshine, warmer temperatures and budding trees was knocking at my door. Possibilities were right around the corner.
March this year casts a different shadow. It feels...gray. Not just outside my window, but inside as well. Every day I find myself falling back into this time last year, and I get lost in my thoughts. I remember quite clearly what was going on, how everyone was. I wonder if there was anything that I should have done differently. Why didn't I fully realize the signs of what was to come? I try to make myself feel better by stating the obvious - it's so simple to question the past. At the time, we were too busy coping, struggling through daily events to analyze every single thing. Yet, this explanation still provides little comfort.
The inevitable awaits me in a few weeks time. To say that I dread the occasion is an ignorant understatement. As my Mum would wish, I'm trying to be brave in the face of the worst anniversary imaginable. But like a magnet, drawing its prey ever closer, I cannot escape its pull. I will have to confront this milestone whether I want to, or not. I cannot hide, run away or pretend it isn't happening. Soon it will be here. Just another day for most, but for me it's one that will forever leave its mark on my heart.