Primarily, I learned, as a writer, that if you live with a crime long enough, it seeps into you. You cry at the trials. You hug the siblings of the victim, and they hug you. You keep your distance. You know that the best thing most of the time is just to keep your trap shut and let people talk when they feel it is safe for them to talk -- or when they feel they can do nothing but talk.
The day my mother was transferred from a nursing home to a hospice, I raced from Baltimore to northeastern Pennsylvania. This 80-mph excursion into death -- my mother's death -- might rescue me from whatever boredom and tedium had enveloped me, but it would also plunge me into a realm where I didn't necessarily relish going. But go I went. For you see, there was no choice.
Anniversaries take on lives of their own. The further from the original event, the more laden they become with symbolism, meaning and portent.