If in the past year and a half, I have developed an odd reaction to the number nineteen, my response to twenty-two, however, is far stranger.
One knocks me down, but the other causes amnesia.
This month, twenty two equals one year.
It is not quite believable ... a whole year since my sister left us.
Nineteen, described here, was the number that would sneak up on me and lay me low before I could prepare.
Last year on April 19th, it turned into the number that signaled the beginning of my dias nefaustos. For months on end, the days between 19 and 22 have been torture ... and sometimes the days leading up to them, too.
At some point, I started ignoring twenty-two, pretending it did not exist.
Just like for months I pretended that my sister was not dead.
Now the year anniversary is upon us... again, somehow I managed to *forget* -- I scheduled work, I didn't ask anyone what they were doing. I made other plans that would keep me busy.
Turns out my mother had arranged to have mass at 6:30am and my brother-in-law wanted to hike up to where we scattered her ashes.
So, I had to confront the reality. I cancelled work. I organized the hike with my brother-in-law and planned to spend the afternoon with my nephew.
It was a beautiful surprise for my mother when her two brothers (and their wives) showed up for the super early mass. It reminds me of the bond we were taught to have as siblings.
We may not really know how to be emotionally open with each other, but we are fiercely protective -- just like my mom and her brothers.
The thing about spending this day with my family is that I can't seem to break down in front of them ... instead, I worried about them, we entertained each other with chit chat and stories, and held it together.
It feels far away and like an open sore at the same time.
At least we got to be in the beautiful resting place we found for her.