June is a sneaky month for me. It sneaks in summer temps. It sneaks in sudden downpours on sunny afternoons. It sneaks in random cry-fests. It sneaks in cringe-worthy memories. It sneaks in pain. It sneaks in joy.
June used to be MY month, for no other reason than it’s my birthday month—isn’t that enough? It was my mother’s birthday month. It was my grandmother’s birthday month. It was my uncle’s birthday month—we even shared the same day of birth, the 24th.
Then it became my brother’s death month. Then it became the “was a birthday” month for my grandmother, my mom, my uncle.
I’m years down the road from the deaths in my family, even decades. By psychology’s standards, I’m probably healed, or have at least completed the grief process.
Outwardly, I think I’m unaffected by the sadness of this month. Even inwardly, I think I’m not really affected. But there’s an inner cavity that’s still affected. That still holds on to the sadness of Tim and Mom, the most tragic of the deaths. And it sneaks up. And I cry for no reason. And problems are bigger to me in June than they are in May or July. And I know, as I have for 26 years, that it’s just a season. It’s a natural rhythm my body and psyche goes through every year at this memorable time, and its sneaky, unyielding grip will only last a week, two weeks, tops—all I need to do is ride it out.
I get quiet. I don’t tell anyone about what’s taking over. Because, how do you comfort someone’s loss 26 years or even 6 years later? And I tell myself I’m not affected, that it’s no big deal. But the inner cavity is still empty . . . and affected.
So, naturally, I wanna fix it. How do I sneak joy back into June when it’s sneaking in a steamer trunk of inner inward emotion that stalls me? It’s only as I get closer to my birthday that things start feeling better, and the little rain cloud lifts. And I start sharing, and laughing, and talking about things again.