Every summer is difficult for me. May is fine, June is ok, July isn’t tons of fun, August is a terror, and the last two weeks of August could blow up and I would prefer it
Once it starts getting hot, my brain goes onto an automatic timer counting down to the anniversary of my dad’s death on the 24th of August, 2006.
This year, I had managed to stay busy enough that the 24th caught me almost by surprise. I was working a lot, attempting to fight off lethargy, and I felt like I was coming down with the flu. From the 16th on, every day I woke up feeling worse. My alarm would go off, and I’d slap it silent and almost cry because I had to get up. My head would be pounding, I’d feel dehydrated no matter how much water I’d guzzled the night before, and my throat felt increasingly raw.
Being the stubborn and irascible person I was, I attempted to ignore all the symptoms and continued to work, lay bleakly on the couch trying to convince myself to shower off the farm detritus, stare at the fridge as though it could make me food autonomously, and drag myself to bed and my unfulfilling rest.
The vague, almost-sickness never resolved into a full-blown case of anything, and the desire to cry myself back to sleep every time the alarm went off didn’t go away either.
Until after the 24th. I didn’t do much on the 10th anniversary. Worked, of course, and texted with my siblings a bit about the date. I read my siblings posts on the subject and felt no urge to share with the world my sorrow and bitterness at having a dad-shaped hole where most people my age have the actual person around.
Blank. That’s a good word for my feelings on the 24th this year. Last year I was unable to booze the day away, no matter how much I wanted to, and this year I couldn’t bring myself to go fetch any booze with which to drown my lethargy.
On the 25th, though, I woke up and felt fine. Better than fine. I slept well, had no headache, my throat wasn’t raw, and I didn’t have the urge to fling myself into a black hole when my alarm went off. In fact, I woke up before my alarm.
It dawned on me almost immediately with clarity and shock.
My body knew. I’ve had a decade-long pattern of sorrowing, not taking care of myself, and being depressed over the last few weeks of August, and my body remembers that. My mind was too tired and depressed to pay much attention to the dates, but my body kept track, and mourned accordingly.
Ten years. It’s almost too much time to believe. It doesn’t feel like it was ten years ago. This grieving process might never end, or might take another ten years to wind down into the quiet, melancholic remembrance that shades my entire life, but the last two weeks of August, I break down, just a little.
I move that we abolish the last half of August from the calendar. We could make it into a new month. The month of shittiness.