Friday, September 16, 2011

After the First Year

We stood across the sidewalk from one another at kindergarten drop-off.  She is a tall, slender blond with lovely accessories and a shining smile.

"I heard you and I have something in common," she said.

"We do?"  As she walked toward me, I suddenly connected the dots.  Several of the teachers had told me about the young woman on staff who is a new widow.  I smiled gently.  "Oh, you're the one they've been telling me about."

She stepped beside me so graciously, so carefully.  "I am.  And I'm sorry you're in this club."

"I hate it."

"I hate it too.  My husband died 15 months ago, and I wish I could tell you the second year is easier.  Everyone's telling you it will be, right?  I have to tell you, it sucks in a whole different way."

Her advice reminded me the honest perspective I've received from other patients who have undergone something before me, whether it was surgery to remove my wisdom teeth or a scheduled C-section to birth my son.

Sometimes it's good to hear someone tell me how it's really going to go. 

I suspect when Christmas Eve arrives this year, I won't wake up and think, "Phew.  Wow.  That was a rough year."

Perhaps it is a recipe of time, processing, therapy, and grace that will heal my heart. 

Perhaps I will realize someday that this week was easier than last week, this month more than last month, this year more than last year.

But probably I shouldn't hang my hat on an anniversary.  As if I'll turn a calendar page, and voila.  It gets better today. 

That's probably not how it will go.


Noel said...

It's true that after the first year ends, nothing is magically healed. You don't get to go back to your "pre-widowed" self. And, he doesn't come home. That was something that I had to work on. I kept thinking, "The first year is the hardest. So if I can just make it through the first year, then things will get better. (and he'll come home)" I didn't realize my parentheses were in there for awhile. But, the second year was definitely easier for me. Especially once we got past the funeral dates. This may be specific to me, because of the way my memory works, but I could remember, on almost any given day, exactly what we had done the year before. Once the first year was over, I quit obsessing about that, and so it was much easier. It's just not EASY. Take heart, sweet girl. It gets better.

Allison said...

Tricia, your sharing is such an aid to my grief processing, even though I am not a widow. Today is my daughter's 11th birthday, the 2nd since her death. I have not knocked myself out physically "to make it special" this year, partly due to your take on Robb's birthday. Decpite the freedom in that and the passing of another year of healing it still is nauseating. I've been told to give it five years. That doesn't provide the same anticipation does it? We'll see.

Anne Bosworth said...

Gathering up Allison, Noel, and Tricia in a great, big squeezie hug with tons of love but no words or magic.

Terry said...

dearest tricia..i think that the lord brought this sweet lady on to your path.. after all, SHE knows exactly what you are feeling and so she tells you exactly what is going on...just to think that someone who knows NOTHING of what you two have faced has the nerve to say, "everything will be all right!"
you are a blessing terry