A story of grief by a man and a boy

school years

My wife always measured people’s age in school years. I was “the year above” her even in my thirties despite the fact that we were born just eight weeks apart. I hadn’t realised that this hilariously juvenile take on time could run into a person’s sixties until I heard my dad refer to himself as “the year above” my mum just a few weeks ago (Dad, if you’re reading this please don’t let me hear you say that again).

Today I’ve spent a lot of time trying to decide how to spend my wedding anniversary and birthday this year, which fall just six days apart in August. I had no idea why the dates were plaguing me so soon until I got into bed this evening. This year I’ll be 34. No big deal, no real milestone and it hardly makes me old. But it does make me something. It makes me ‘two years above’. It makes me older than my wife ever got to be. And to be completely honest it also makes me scared.

I’m worried that I’ll be grey and wrinkled and still pine after a fresh-faced girl of 33 like some sugar daddy type. I dread the thought of looking at a picture of the beautiful young woman I married, then glancing in the mirror and seeing an old man who used to only be ‘the year above’ her.

But I guess the thing that truly fills me with horror is the idea of not getting to see a reflection of the aged me. So I tell myself that the school years I need to focus on now are not mine and my wife’s but my son’s. I just hope I’m still around to fill his ears with embarrassing comments just like my dad for many ‘years above’ and beyond.

2 comments on “school years

  1. Actually Mummy
    May 30, 2013

    I worry all the time about my own ability to make it until my children are independent of me. As a single parent I can’t imagine how intense that worry must feel.

  2. darkeyes85
    May 30, 2013

    I was seeing a man who was a lot older than me…I fell in love with the person inside. I am a firm believer that Men get better with age, not just in looks but personality. I believe that I probably would not have liked him when he was younger, I even told him that this and why I thought I would not. Ageing is character building, it makes us wiser and stronger. Whatever you decide to do on your birthday, anniversary or if you decide to combine. make it BIG, make it COUNT. Do it for you, your son and your wife. Although I never knew your wife, she probably would not want you to be sad or very little on what should be a special time. Happy Birthday Ben and have a wonderful anniversary.

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