First dates and runniversaries

The day your loved ones decides to leave this earth isn’t one you care to ‘observe’ for lack of a better word. That day is not only the worst one of our lives, but also does not define our sons, daughter, nephew, friends or in my case, my best friend, my beautiful husband. That day is the opposite of him. It makes no sense. That day is like a cliff, at the edge of nothing. You fall. And it feels like you keep on falling, for a very long time. 

Unfortunately, as humans, we measure our lives in years; Birthdays, wedding anniversaries, Stanley Cups, service awards at workplaces… it is how we live. And it is how we die.

I didn’t know what to do as this dreaded time of my “first” year without John approaches*. My second year will immediately begin without mercy.

What’s even shittier, is that I, in my haze and confusion after he left, got the dates wrong on 2 out of the 3 obituaries. I mean, really wrong. I spoke to him on those days. 

I was at work when John decided to go, and he knew i’d be away, but for some reason didn’t think i’d worry about him not answering my calls and texts…   When you work away from home so much, days tend to be called day one, day four of five etc..and we lose what date it actually is. I also got confused when I saw the death certificate as it couldn’t be. I found him that day, the date on the certificate, and he’d been gone for 24 hours, at least. So, that date is incorrect as well. I have figured out what day it was, give or take over the midnight hour, but does it matter?


He’s gone. That’s all that matters… but they are still galloping towards me… all four of those days.

Two weeks after his death, is our wedding anniversary.

I ache not having him with me to celebrate. We made jokes about the “7 year itch” about our last one that just don’t seem funny anymore. The eighth anniversary was going to be lovely, the sign for eternity knocked upright, the bronze, or pottery anniversary. I was really looking forward to my tenth. Not so much the tenth per say, but the tenth with HIM. Maybe we’d go back to Paris to the Eiffel Tower. 

On what would have been his 46th birthday, we held our two day memorial service for him as he requested in his note we not have a funeral. I’ve never had that tiny house of ours so full of people, so full of emotions, both happy and sad. We celebrated and remembered him with all of our hearts. (As if there was another way). He would have loved it. We even had bagpipes. He and i had planned on celebrating his 45th like that, but with the issues we were having with his work, it just didn’t happen. Oh i wish we had. 

I have never liked my own birthday, and still avoid it. It was worse this year. All I could do was remember last years’ when JohnBehr decided to more or less make me celebrate, but low key. We thought “life, the universe and everything” was a birthday to celebrate. Just he and I. It was nearly perfect.  I say nearly, because after you lose someone to suicide, you can’t help but think of all of the little things that weren’t absolutely perfect and wonder “if I hadn’t said/done that, would he still be here?” …. 

I’m trying to celebrate the positives we had. It’s so difficult, as my brain cannot help but wander and take my heart into sadness. 

I celebrate his Highland games. He loved this sport and threw with his heart, and is missed by so many in that crazy community of throwing athletes.  

I celebrate his achievements, both educational and personal and his travels. 

I celebrate the fact that he chose to love me, and I chose to love him.

I try earnestly to find things to celebrate. 

I celebrate the kitties. They are “our” boys and those cats have given me comfort. 

My wedding anniversary will always be a tough one. Silly me, I started running that day. The day that would have been our 8th is when I started to put one foot in front of the other, and ran. It’s my runniversary. That is something to celebrate, and while I’m out there running, I think of him and of what could have been, but I also think of what was. Those thoughts give me breath, and then take it away. Those thoughts give me pain and they give me joy. (We found out after we got married that our wedding day is also “talk like a pirate day”. oh, if only we’d known…yarrrr)

For any of my friends reading this, I’m asking you to not observe the day John passed away. Note that the obituary you have is probably incorrect, and remember, it’s just a day, and certainly not a day that defines him. 

Please do not call, text, pop by or send even more condolences. I know a lot of you are probably freaking out because it’s hit you that you haven’t checked up on me since the initial event, and that’s OK. Live your lives. Observe and remember him, yes… but like you do every day. With love, smiles, and by doing something awesome. Curse at him ( i know some of you do, and i get that… why did Behr go?)

Start your own runniversary. 

Donate to your charity of choice in honour of John. 

Plant a tree or flowers every year, slowly starting a wee Johnny forest. 

Take a scotch tasting. 

Start taking lessons in something you’ve always thought about and see how you’ve improved in a year. (Highland games, perhaps?)

Start your own amazing tradition that you can thank John for every year for starting and creating a better year ahead. 

He’d like that.

Gotta run.


*i know what I’m doing over those days/weeks. I’ll fill you in later….


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