I’ve mentioned before that my writing activities have taken a back seat to my business as my day job continues to demand more time. Eventually I will return to fiction writing and more frequent blogging; that is my retirement career. For now, I near the fourth anniversary of creating vCISO Services, LLC (July 23, 2017). The business has exceeded my expectations.
But this post isn’t about the business, it’s on anniversaries. I have a “thing” about anniversaries.
For the most part, I recognize significant anniversaries with either pleasure or sadness. I gave an example of the former above, and one that gives many sadness is 9/11. I’d say I approach anniversaries similar to all, with one exception – wedding anniversaries.
I must emphasize this is my issue, my quirkiness, and my story. I’m not looking for fix suggestions or sympathy or disagreement. Unlike most, I don’t always externally recognize other’s wedding anniversaries; I never send cards. I’ve tried to explain why to some people, but I feel like I get a “deer in the headlights” reaction. For some reason, while relaxing in the sauna this morning and reflecting on nearly four years of vCISO Services, my mind wandered on this topic, taking hold all day (it’s late afternoon as I type this) to where the best way to shake it was to write about it.
Writing has been a way for me to cope with issues for many years. My first* novel began as a fantasy exercise of what if things had worked out differently in my first failed marriage, if only I could go back in time and reverse whatever happened. Eventually that morphed into something quite different, and while not many have read it, I received positive feedback from many who did. I of course include this paragraph because this is a writer’s blog, and I’d like to include some mention of writing in each post (though I don’t always hit that mark).
Don’t get me wrong, I love celebrating my wedding anniversary. My wife and I will celebrate twelve wonderful years together next month. But receiving well-wishes from others for this wedding anniversary reminds me of my two previous marriages that I did not want to end. For during those relationships, there were happy congratulations of anniversaries; cards galore, and smiles and well-wishes from people that I lost contact with a long time ago.
Divorce is terrible. No one enters into marriage with divorce as the end game except for those with purely selfish motives (which does not apply to either of my failed marriages). Divorces create divisions. Families pick sides. And all of those who had congratulated us on another year suddenly separated to their own benches, assuming tribal behavior that prohibited all contact with the other side. That hurt me, more than I can express in words – people I genuinely loved, suddenly ripped away.
Why does it have to be that way? I understand some of the reasons; it’s difficult to maintain relationships like that, and the first responsibility is to your own family. But it doesn’t make the hurt any less intensive, at least not for me, years later. As illogical as it sounds, sometimes an external “happy anniversary” takes me back to those ripped relationships, even though there is no connection whatsoever. I feel the pain again, sometimes almost as intense as if it had happened just recently.
Because of this, I don’t send out anniversary cards either. I prefer to let the couple celebrate in private; it is their time, after all. I think one reason why I wanted to write this is to explain that – it’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I literally feel, to one degree or another, the pain of those ripped relationships caused by divorce. Those two dates that people used to send cards come and go every year, and not one has passed when I don’t feel some measure of the same pain of relationships that were family lost, never to be resurrected.
Like I said above, this is my issue, my problem to deal with. I want to close by emphasizing that I do appreciate those who reach out and wish us a happy anniversary. Perhaps with time and more well-wishes, the pain will subside more, but there will always be a hole in my heart for those who, a long, long time ago, held a special place in my life. I hope this explains what I mean when I say I have a “thing” about anniversaries.
*Technically second novel. I wrote a novel in high school that never progressed past the torn spiral notebook first draft stage. It sits somewhere in my basement.