September 13th

The day that forever altered my life. Every. Single. Day. I notice 9:13 a.m. and 9:13 p.m.

Jennifer Estes
4 min readSep 5, 2023
Photo by the author.

September 13, 2023, is right around the corner. The giant hole inside my chest, my soul, half my heart, reminds me. It aches with pain and it aches with emptiness.

Two years since you left my side. My brain is no longer in protection mode, at least I don’t think it is. It feels like my brain finally realizes you are really gone.

However, I re-read my journal entries from two years ago. I had written early in the morning of September 13, 2021. You were still alive as I wrote. I was shaking inside my skin that day. When you died I was shaking violently in my skin. I continued to shake in my skin, unable to cry much in the beginning as I violently shook. Now the shaking is gone and the tears flow daily.

My next entry was September 21, 2021, and the first sentence “Tom passed away on September 13, 2021, at about 10:18 pm” I read it and my whole body revolted. I said “NO” My body protested no, it was as if I was reading it for the first time. Tears flowed, and I rocked back and forth saying no, no no.

I flew solo to Phoenix in September 2022 for the one-year anniversary of your death. I rented a car, the cheapest economy car. It had a chip in the windshield so I was…



Jennifer Estes

I am a widow, a mortician, a mom, and grandma. I write about grief, caregiving, substance use disorder, and the death care industry.