"Today's date is the 20th," the poll worker announced this morning as I completed paperwork to vote in Georgia's (very important) election.
The 20th jumped out at me, as it often does. I got married on one 20th, and I became a widow on another 20th.
After doing some quick calculations, including counting on my fingers, I realized it's been exactly 27 months since Ramón died. But when anyone asks, I say it's been just over two years.
It's like when you ask a parent their child's age. The number is in months up until about 2 years, but then months become too weird and math-y. "My son is 72 months old" isn't something you hear a parent say at a sixth birthday party.
I think of grief whenever I see a new mom post one of those side-by-side photos that illustrate being X weeks pregnant on one side and the new child at X weeks old. Like, "Here she was at 30 weeks of pregnancy, and here she is at 30 weeks on the outside." The change is undeniable.
If I use Ramón's death date as the measure for my own side-by-side illustration, today marks 27 months of him gone — 27 months on the widow side of things. And 27 months prior to his death would have been April 2018. At the time, he'd never been called “Judge” or heard the words "acute myeloid leukemia.” (And my phone certainly didn't know how to predict those three words the way it did just now.) But a lot can happen in 27 months.
This got me curious about the kinds of things that are expected from the average child at 27 months. I was surprised how much I, a 27-month widow, have in common with a toddler. A 27-month-old is likely to:
Behave inconsistently (Grief 101)
Be more independent, but easily frustrated when things don’t go their way (But everything in life has gone my way!)
Want to try new things and explore (See: my bank account)
Be fearful due to an active imagination (What tragedy is coming next?)
Act on their impulses (Oh, like my journey to get Pop-Tarts this morning?)
Need an afternoon nap (Count me in!)
Prefer snacks over meals (Give me the cheese.)
Be capable of complex choreography (Heck yeah.)
Grief is a lot like a child’s development. For me, the first year was a total whirlwind, filled with sleepless nights and a slew of milestones. The second year entailed constant change, but I’d grown to expect the unpredictability.
But, regardless of exactly what happens when, I know I am growing. Some days may feel like setbacks, but altogether the result is positive. Growth is good.
Please excuse me. I must go choreograph my 27-months-a-widow dance.