It’s been exactly one month since Will passed away. To say this is a difficult day would be an understatement, but I’m facing a whole bunch of them so this first “anniversary” is only the tip of the iceberg.
I’ve been warned about this by other widows. There is an entire year of “firsts” to get through—the first wedding anniversary, the first holidays, the first birthday, the first Father’s Day—all without him. We would have been married 36 years next month, a date I’m dreading…couples are supposed to celebrate together. We’re supposed to go out to dinner and maybe a movie, eat cake, and drink Martinelli’s sparkling cider. What am I to do on that day now that he’s no longer here?
The one thing that’s holding me together is the love of my family. Ethan and Clark have taken to spending evenings with me instead of going to bed early like they usually do; Clark’s mom Shelly shares with me wisdom gleaned from her four years without her husband; my other kids are keeping in close contact except for Mandy, who’s still living out in some forest without a home to call her own. That situation distresses me to no end, even though she and her family are planning to come back here after Labor Day. I’m still disappointed that they didn’t come out at least for the funeral…her Dad wanted nothing more than to see her before he died, and it didn’t happen.
But it is what it is, and there are no do-overs. I’m so glad I was there for Will at the very last, and I’m proud of the way I put the funeral together. I’d never done such a thing before in my life (and hope I never have to do it again!). And I’m pleased to say that underlying all the sadness is a stable mood; there is nothing pathological about grief, and self-harm is the furthest thing from my mind. I just could NOT do that to the family, and to be honest I’m too afraid of spending eternity separated from God—and from Will.
So I’ll be here to endure this year of “firsts”. There’s no way around it but straight through it. I know that. But it sure doesn’t make days like this any easier.