Wednesday, August 19, 2009

7 Years Later: How to let go of negative thoughts

Hi friends,

Well, today is the day. The "deathiversary," as I've coined it, even though I'm still trying to think of a more positive word. August 19, 2009: 7 years since Sally passed away.

When I woke up this morning that was my first thought: 7 years. And then I thought of the curse we taunt as children: Break a mirror, 7 years of bad luck. I endured my 7 years, not necessarily of bad luck, but of longing and missing and wishing for impossibilities -- similar to the characters in The Lovely Bones. Now, today, 7 years later, I want to be rid of it. I don't know if you can get rid of grief entirely, but I'd at least like to exchange the bad luck grief for the good luck grief.

So I'm doing things differently today. For the first time in 7 years, I'm going to work instead of taking the day off. I know some of you had different ideas of what I should do today, but this seemed like the right idea. I'm not giving up the tradition of going to the cemetery with my family entirely. We just plan to go on Sunday instead.

I also tried to treat the month of August differently this year. In the past, I've let the whole month be sabotaged by this date. I've relived every second of her last summer. I've despised August. On August 1st of this year, I woke up in Chicago feeling full of dread. I went for a run and decided mid-run that I was in control of August. I could choose to have a good month and focus on the positive. And most days this month, I didn't even have to remind myself to be happy. It just happened because I had established a new mindset.

Focusing on the positive can be difficult. A few weeks ago, I saw the first cockroach in my new apartment, and after that I put on my "Bardach Surveillance Camera" and scanned the apartment for more. Soon I realized I was dreading coming home, even though I had been so happy here with Mark until then. So lately, every time I think of the cockroach, I immediately think of something positive to counter it, like how much I love all our plants that hang in our sun-filled windows. Similarly, today I don't want to think about all the negative. I just want to remember Sally as someone I really loved talking to, the best conversationalist you could get on the phone, the wisest words echoing out of this little 5-foot woman.

Mom, today I let go of the negativity. I let go, I let go, I let go.

What do you do on the "deathiversary" of someone you loved? And can you PLEASE help me think of a better name!



  1. Love you friend. Let's keep thinking positive thoughts together!

  2. Marisa,

    Nice blog, I am thinking of you today....!

    I think your plans are great, luv....!!!

    ashley :)

  3. Thinking of you today and sending love and positive thoughts your way. xo

  4. Wonderful post Marisa. You have such a way with words. My thoughts are with you and your fam today. Be happy and mazel on your first of many cockroaches in your apt!

    Dara R.

  5. Dear Marisa: Every year there will be another anniversary on August 19th. Yes, it's very sad. But, let's try to dwell on the good memories we have of Sally...her constant great wit, our shopping trips where she'd talk to and even make friends with strangers, our family vacations out west, and her overall wonderful zest for life.
    All we need to do is to look at our kayaking photos fron Utah to remind us of those good times. Great memories forever!

  6. Well Marisa first let me tell you, you really have an amazing way with words. Today is my parents wedding anniversary and even though my dad died in December today is also very sad for myself, my mom and the rest of my family. We went to breakfast this morning because that is something my father loved to do. But thank you for writing and sharing your feelings because I know I am not alone with the way I am feeling around these anniversary. I am happy that you are going to be staying positive and that has given me a whole new look. Stop thinking about the negative. Thank you!

  7. What your Dad wrote was wonderful. I am remembering the giggle/laugh Sally did while talking! and that smile....amazing


  8. Marissa, I found you when you guest blog on "Life with Cancer" and I always come back to read your post, and occasionally comment. I agree with your mom's anniversary was on Aug 21st (5 yrs) and I try to think of the great memories I will have forever. Wow! I can relate how the months of June - Aug 21st are a bit of a downer for me. June is when she was went in the hospital through her passing (of pancreatic cancer too) Best of luck with your job as a professor. XX Glenda

  9. A valuable post on positive thinking

    Karim - Positive thinking

  10. The Power of Positive Thought.

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