Everyone tells us about the year of firsts when we are grieving. How difficult it is to face the first year of birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We have to get through Valentine’s Day, the holidays, and Christmas as well as facing the first anniversary of our loved ones death. Then there are the family celebrations – the graduations, the weddings, the births. It is a jumble of hurdles we have to cross.
I remember struggling through that first year, all those first dates and what once were joyous celebrations. Everything and everyone was a reminder of what I no longer had. The shops were full of it! People were laughing and happy. It hit me square in the face and brought me crumbling to my knees. I remember the words distinctly someone said to me, “It’s the year of firsts”. It was as if when I got into the second year it would be easier.
There’s nothing easy about grieving and living our life after profound loss. The second year and every year bring their own challenges. Each year we are faced with the same days and what they mean to us. For some of us birthdays are the hardest, for others it’s the anniversary day.
We have to relearn our lives over again because it’s not just about those significant days, though they are significant. The year of firsts is about our daily life as well. It’s the first time we have to face anything without our loved one.
The first time we wake up and realise our life has changed forever.
Opening the door and walking into an empty house.
Getting to the check out and remembering they’re not here to eat the food we were about to buy for them.
Sitting down to an empty table or facing an empty chair.
Picking up the phone and realising that we can’t ever call them or text them again.
The first time everything is so very quiet – where are they, it’s so empty.
Going back to work with our first “I’m OK’ face and near on having a panic attack – the first one of those too!
Rolling over and reaching out to touch thin air.
Thinking what to buy them and then realising this is the first time they won’t be here.
Opening the first official letter where reality hits us bham!!
Driving down the road and turning into their street before we remember they don’t live there anymore.
Our first birthday with someone missing.
Going on holiday without them.
And more, so much more…..
As we learn more from our own experiences of getting through each significant first as well as our daily firsts we are finding out more about our grief and ourselves.
We know whether the lead up or the day itself is the worst for us.
We know what in our daily live is our biggest challenge without them.
We know which days are most difficult and why.
We know what helped us the most and we can use that to help us again.
We may still be overwhelmed by such times but we know now we can get through them.
Grieving is a constantly evolving process of change. Each moment we are living through our loss we are adjusting to it and making subtle changes that help us to step through each day and into our future.
I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
Maureen Hunter is an inspirational writer and grief steps mentor giving comfort and hope to many. She is passionate about helping people to step through grief and build a new and different life after loss, one in which their loved one is always a part of.