Anniversary

If you knew her, you know that Jane kept diaries. Some were private, page-a-day journals. Accounts of her life, a bit like this blog perhaps. I sent years of them to Con, but not ’76 and ’77, yet. They are to go to Con, of course, as the Spears Family Archivist. I’m just not quite ready to part with them, especially the one that Jane was reading to me from, this time last year; the one with the pink post-it tabs for the ‘occurrences’. But the one open in front of me today is of the week-per-two-page-spread type that Jane also kept. I think this is a pretty well-known fact as she received three or four as gifts for both Christmases that we were together for. Each time, one was chosen to have the annual events transposed into it from its predecessor. Events that I use ‘recurring events’ in my electronic diary for, and that Jane may well have migrated to the same medium, enthusiastic user of her CPL iPAQ that she was. Birthdays of family and friends, wedding anniversaries (of both the still-together, and the not), anniversaries of overseas trips commenced and concluded (always noting the year and, if Jane herself was not among them, the participants), the anniversaries of the births and deaths of all her cats (their names mostly beginning with ‘Z’), anniversaries of deaths, acquisitions of properties; the anniversaries of our first meeting in 1976 (2 Nov), and in 2003, the first email I sent to Jane (30 April), our first dinner together in Christchurch (27 June), and our weekend at Rough Creek Lodge in Arthur’s Pass (22-25 Aug) and the day Jane shifted to Christchurch in 2004 (9 April). I’m still to blog all that. But the first half of Jane’s 2005 diary (an Escher one ~ who gave her that?) has liberal sprinklings of day to day and week to week happenings, cycles and trivia. There are departures and returns for holidays (eg Bannockburn Jan 8-12 and Sydney 2-6 April), day trips (eg Tumbledown Bay 14 Jan and Ashely Gorge the day after), movies watched (the source of the incriminating list), sports, social events, book club meetings, rehearsals and uni lectures attended, undergoings of surgery by our friends, collectings of my children, usually Elsie, from various locations, goings out for dinner, a play reading (Lysistrata, April 25, AZAC day) and the day that Jane “took seconds of sausage” (Thu 28 Apr).

I’ve kept this diary open on a shelf in (our/the/)my bedroom since then. Initially , I paid attention to the annually recurring events (mostly in black). This year, I watched the one-offs from ’05 (mostly in blue), and more recently, their abrupt disappearance at the end of July.

On this night, one year ago, Jane and I were enjoying our last evening together. Listening to the “Be Good Tanyas”, as I am now, alone. Though so many have been torn away, the fibres of our relationship, our love that had only just (@#$%ing) begun, remain stretched from my flesh to the woman who wrote those diary entries. It just is. I don’t think I could do anything about it, even if I wanted to. One year on, I sit bolt upright and think “NO! That’s wrong. That hasn’t happened. Not that.” There is no panic, only knowing that it is not possible that Jane is dead. And then the creeping incursion of “actually, …” begins to battle my denial.

As I read my account of the events of a year ago, I want to protest at the use of “Jane” to refer to Jane’s body. I suppose that is progress in the process of acceptance. I know it wasn’t “Jane’s body”, tho. She wasn’t dead. She still isn’t. Circular darned process on this planet.

Of course, there are many circumambulations still to be completed. I know that. This is how you do them, acknowledging anniversaries and stuff.

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