The first night you’re alone after losing your loved one, you’re numb, but even then, you know the year of “firsts” has begun.

As I recall it, there seemed to be some kind of protective shield around me.  I felt isolated from all the activity going on, but still, I did the things that I needed to do.  The first “firsts” of my new life.  My life without Leroy. 

It was in the early morning hours when I finally put my head down on the pillow in our bed.  It had become “my” bed in an instant and that was just the beginning.  There would be birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and plenty of days when I just wanted to tell him about my day. 

My friend is in her “first” year.  She just celebrated her birthday.  Her first birthday without her husband.  Cancer took his life nine months ago.  Today is another big marker for them and her memories are weighing heavily on her heart. 

It’s days like these that remind me of how brutal cancer can be.  How it takes couples and families and breaks them in two.  Lives of the survivors go on, but we are forced to adjust and never really quite get back on track.  We built new lives, we had no choice, but there’s a missing beat; a rhythm we felt vanish when our loved one died.  Others come into our lives with their own rhythm and it helps, but it can’t duplicate what we’ve lost.

As we go through our year of “firsts” we quickly realize how different we’ve become….but we still remember the special dates we shared with our loved ones because they live on inside us.  It’s important to remember them…first and forever.

 

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