January 14th is bittersweet; it’s the day that served as the beginning and the end of our relationship. The grief one goes through when losing a loved one too early is incomprehensible; there’s no way to describe it or relate to it unless you experience a loss of that magnitude.
Today marks the last first time for us without Laura. During this year there were a lot of first times – birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries. All unique experiences that were significant to us as a family. Each one was difficult in its own way, and some were tougher than others, but we got through them.
These past two weeks have been difficult; memories from a year ago have continuously pounded me like relentless waves on a rocky shore. Waves that I haven’t felt for a long time. The difference this time is that the pain is quickly followed up with a fond memory or small moment of joy – a favorite song, her infectious laugh, or the way she would look into my eyes.
In a perfect world, I’ll wake up tomorrow suddenly feeling cleansed and free from these shackles of grief, but I’ve learned that it doesn’t work that way. I will enter into another year without Laura. Another year of trying to figure out on my own this mess we call life.
Grief has given me some hard lessons in life; it taught me how to find joy where you least expect it and to never take anything for granted. Grief has also shown me how petty my worries were before cancer made it’s way into our lives. I’ll probably never be 100% again, but I’ve accepted the fact that grief will forever be my dark passenger. Silent at times, but always there whether I like it or not.
My children and I have a long and fruitful life ahead of us that will no doubt have many first-time experiences. Experiences that the 3 of us will tuck away into our hearts and remember forever. Lessons will be learned, and adventures will be had. However, on those dark days, when the sky is gray, and the waves are relentless; I know those moments we experienced as a family for 16 years will serve as a blessing and a reminder of the times we had the pleasure of sharing with Laura. Moments of love, laughter, and care that will inspire us to keep climbing.