“This is the prevalence of ritual. To remember something that cannot be forgotten.”
— CHRIS ABANI
For almost seven years I stopped on the 8th of every month to mark my inconceivable journey of living without my daughter here on earth. I counted every month. The words always found their way to this page, sometimes with ease, but often through painful searching. The thought of missing a month was inconceivable. What started as an innate ritual became almost an obsession. Then there was a month (the 79th) when the technology gods reared their heads to say “not this month”. I convinced myself it was okay because it was out of my control. Then came the month (the 83rd – but who’s counting) when I just couldn’t find the words. My rational mind convinced my aching soul to let it pass. And then came the year – the 7th (and yes, I’m still counting) when I didn’t spend the day in my chair. I got on an airplane and went on a trip. With my best friend. To the mountains. And the world didn’t end because I wasn’t in my chair. And I didn’t stop remembering because I didn’t count the months and write. Grief is an unpredictable journey with no final destination. Our grief rituals are a sacred way to mark the journey, but if you hold on to them too tightly you can miss some of the most beautiful stops along the way.