The first year following the loss of your partner is a complete mindfuck at times. You have all these “firsts” to push through: the first holidays, the first anniversary of when you met, when you got married, when they died. You don’t know how you get through it, but you do.
Then the second year comes.
You think, “okay, I got through ALL of those hard dates, I did it. Now I have to do it… again? And again? For the rest of my life? What the fuck.”
I’ve heard/read/seen that the years following the first year can be even harder than the first. Reality has set in. You can’t cash in all those trials to get your person back. You are here, they are not, and this is it. Whatever happens next is on you and you alone. Sometimes that can be utterly soul crushing to think about. Other times it’s enlightening. You have made it through a terrible time, you survived one year, surely you can survive even more. The days will have ups and downs, triumphs and failures. Things you can’t believe you figured out how to do, and simple things you can’t remember how to accomplish. It cycles and spirals and can leave your head spinning if you don’t find a way to occasionally ground yourself.
Yet the drifting isn’t always so bad. Your anchor is up, you have no idea where you will make landfall, but you know when you do you’ll just figure it out. The best plan is having no plan, no expectations. Because as much as you can read and absorb the experiences of those who have been through this before you, it won’t exactly be the same. It won’t completely align with the expectations you create for yourself from this extensive grief research you have conducted night and day. You’ll be kind of prepared but not really. But it’ll be okay. You’ll just figure it out, like all of those times before, over and over again. You’ll be strong when you hate being strong, bracing against the storms you’d rather just sleep through. Soon they break and you can see the light, the sun. You expand your lungs and just breathe.
And it’s okay. It’s been 13 months, and it’s okay.