Last year I interviewed Lu Ann Cahn, Author of “I Dare Me” for the Simple Steps Real Change Radio Show. Lu Ann was going through some major upheavals in her life and challenged herself to try something new every day. I was inspired by her fearlessness and excited to try a few “firsts” of my own.
What I didn’t realize at the time is that I’d be forced to live “A Year of Firsts.” That’s what the first year is considered after a loved one dies. It’s the first birthday, the first anniversary, and the first time being sick without my husband to take care of me. Still to come is the first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year, first anniversary of Jack’s death and more firsts that I don’t even know I’m heading for.
There is no excitement in these firsts. They are a time of sadness, loneliness and overwhelming pain. No matter what I do to distract myself during the day, in the silence of the night the tears flow and the grief overwhelms me. And I let it. In my heart I know I am suppose to have this experience… so I let it be all that it needs to be.
There is no answer to the “why” of it all. There is no reprieve from Jack’s death. There are only my beliefs. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that we die when it is our time to die. I believe that Jack wouldn’t have died if he didn’t think I would be OK. I believe that he is still here even if I can’t touch him or hear his voice. I believe that our love didn’t die with him. I believe we’ll be together again. And it is those beliefs that help me get through this year of firsts.
In this year of firsts I’ll find strength I didn’t know I had. I’ll discover who I am, alone. I’ll keep taking the simple steps because that is what works for me. And at the end of this year of firsts I’ll be in a better place than where I was when I started. And therein lies hope.