The Texture Of Things

Another April

April 7th, 2007

There is something about April. There is something about April that sucks. It sucks the energy out of me and eats the remnants every year, some worse than others. This April is a bad April.

I will try to not reveal many details about the how and why here. If I do, the blog is sure to be easily found, which I do not want at this time. What I will say is this: when I was a teenager, my older brother died in an accident far from home, late in the month of April. Now everything about April is wrong.

It’s funny how a big life event can make a calendar date stay with you. When I was a preteen, eager to break away from childhood, I asked my mother why it was so important that I spend my birthday with her. Couldn’t I just go with my friends to some thing or another and see her later? Geez, it seemed like my birthday was more important than hers. That’s because it is, she said. She explained that no matter what happens to her in her life, when my birthday comes around, she always remembers where she was and what she was doing on that day. It’s true, I’ve learned. We don’t remember our own birthdays, but we cannot forget our children’s, no matter what. The date is written indelibly on us.

It is in this way that April unfolds for me every year. I enter April tangibly aware of the passing of the days. Somewhere in my bones the dates are all written: this is the day he left for Virginia; this is the day I last spoke to him, the day he promised me that he would back from training in time for my birthday (in May) and that when Mom and I came down, he’d teach me “how to drive for real – forget what those Driver Sped teachers say”; this is the day I came home from school to hear about the accident and had to spend my evening dodging my extended family, who had crowded into our minuscule house; this is the day I went to school even though I had been told to stay home, where I was “needed”; this is the day the entire town gathered for the funeral; this is the day, this is the day, this is the day.

So I hate this month. I mean, I try not to, and in some years, April almost gets by me unnoticed. This was something I never in those early days of grieving believed could happen – that going on with my life could actually get easier. It does and it does not. It’s not like the pain doesn’t exist anymore; it’s just more predictable now. I usually know when it’s going to hurt, I know kind of how it feels, and I know that it will abate, that I will survive it. Again.

This year, I feel like the girl in Sandra Cisneros’ story “Eleven.”* This year I feel like a teenager again and I am bracing myself for April. Bracing myself because I feel like it’s happening all over again and I’m not quite sure I’ll actually survive it this time. Of course I will, I know. I just don’t feel like I will.

April is, for many people, solely about spring. Who can blame them for thinking that? I used to, but along the way I’ve come to realize that April is a different month for other people. It’s the month their children were born, it’s the month they got married or fell in love, it’s the month that finally gives them that desperately needed break from a long winter, or it’s simply Spring. It’s the month of Easter bunnies, fertility rituals, and rebirth.

I want April to be that month for me too, but I suspect it never will be. I am trying to find a way for it to be, but the only thing I’ve got is the consolation that there is no rebirth without death and at least I’ve got the death thing handled. So maybe, just maybe, on the other side of this is a rebirth waiting for me.

Please let there be. Please let’s just get to May now.

*The opening paragraphs read:
“What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel eleven at all. You feel like you’re still ten. And you are –underneath the year that makes you eleven.

“Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s the part of you that’s still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama’s lap because you’re scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you’re three, and that’s okay. That’s what I tell Mama when she’s sad and needs to cry. Maybe she’s feeling three.”


  1. KLee says

    Hugs for you. I’m so sorry about your loss. It never gets any better, does it? The losing of a loved one?

    I know what you mean about April being a bad month. Let’s both hold on tight and try to get through April together, okay?

    April 7th, 2007 | #

  2. admin says

    Thanks much. No, it doesn’t get better, though it does get different.

    So, KLee, here’s to us getting through April!
    And here’s a message to May:
    You’d better be up to the challenge of following April. Seriously, or I will kick all 31 of your days in the ass.

    April 8th, 2007 | #

  3. KLee says

    I am totally with you. When we crawl out from under the giant mind-sucking torture that is April, we will totally rock your world. If we can make it though.

    It is so hard to get through these days — I take any help and any humor that I can get. Much hugs for you, and we’ll hold hands and face into the storm together.

    April 8th, 2007 | #

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