Day of Remembrance
This is my friend Mike. Mike and I were a tandem duo when we started at Wizards. He was the editor and I was the content manager / wrangler.
This photo was taken 7 years ago and I am so incredibly thankful my friend Aideen took it. I don't have many photos of Mike and I, he was very camera shy, almost always opting to be in the background when given the choice.
Mike died a few years ago. He was due back to work but never showed up. This was a notable event such that on the drive home, while carpooling with another friend, I swung by his house to see if he was there. When he wasn't, I knew something had gone wrong but had no idea what and I never thought he was actually gone.
After dropping my carpool buddy off at his house, I was actually heading back to the office. I was going to go out to dinner with my new boss, but on my drive there Mike's ex-wife called me and asked me to pull over. She let me know Mike had died in a car crash. I was broken. I called my wife and she told me to call our friend who I had just dropped off rather than try to drive home. He and his wife picked me up and drove my car back to the house. We ended up with a dozen people coming over and sharing a bit of a wake and working through our feelings. I remember it all very vividly.
Remembering it, and my times with Mike, are extremely important to me. In fact, remembering the lives and relationships of all the people close to me who have died is important to me. And, as I get older, as is the nature of this thing we call life, it gets harder and harder.
I've long thought that I need a day, a defined day of the year, that I treat as my own day of remembrance. For Mike. For my parents. For my grandparents. For my brothers-in-law. For my childhood friend.
I know of some cultural holidays which are similar, but I don't want to just take them as my own. They aren't mine or my culture. Maybe it's also that, honestly, I want to own what this day is. I don't want to work in the confines or framing of an existing cultural holiday, but this is a day for me and my memories.
I've had this idea for a while but have never been able to settle on a date for it. I don't know what day is the right day. I could pick the day someone close to me died and use that as an anchor, but then it feels to me like it's too much about that person. And if I pick a day that is just a random one on the calendar, it feels like it doesn't have enough meaning.
As I write this though, I realize that today makes a good choice for a day. It isn't the day of Mike's passing. It's a day remembering him because of a hike I, he, and some of our friends, took.
Today will be my annual Day of Remembrance. A day for me to take time, and sit back, and remember the good times I had with so many.
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