Those Firsts, Again

I remember my first Christmas after my husband died, and I will never forget the most painful memory - being sat sobbing in my bed on Christmas morning, windows closed and blinds shutting out the world, and hearing the noise of the children of the young families who live around me outside playing and laughing. I felt broken.

I have never known pain like it. It wasn't just emotional, it physically hurt too. My head felt so heavy with pain, it felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, and my entire body just ached.

People did actually look out for me in the early days, things like Christmas, New Years, Valentines, they knew they were going to hurt, but the ones that hurt the most were birthdays, anniversaries of our first date, engagement, wedding, vow renewal, date he died, the list goes on. They were dates that no-one except me was aware of.

Then there was the other type of milestones when you get to be older than the age they were when they died, hitting big birthdays without them, and just wanting them to be there with you.

The worst ones for me were when he'd be been dead for longer than the duration of our relationship.

Those really hurt, it felt like he was slipping away, and I was terrified.

We were only blessed with a very short time together, just a few short years, but those years were jam packed full of love and memories. Despite that, this type of "landmark" felt crippling.

They hurt so badly, and people just didn't understand why I couldn't snap out of it and just "enjoy the day, for them", meaning my husband, and be glad I had the chance to be married, or engaged, or whatever sad-iversary had cropped up.

We're allowed to feel sadness and pain, and it's totally ok to feel gratitude that they lived too, we just don't have to be permanently grateful and filled with such toxic positivity that we don't dare to do anything other than smile and nod and say we were blessed. It's because we were blessed that it hurts so much in the ""after him" chapter of life.

Helping Others Understand

Please allow the grieving space to feel their pain, and know it's just part of the process they have to go through to help their hearts to heal a tiny bit.

An important thing to understand too, is that some of these milestones won't make sense to you. You may wonder why on earth we'd want to remember these things, but they're not a choice. It's not something we want to remember, but this kind of information is drilled into the minds of those who are grieving.

Just be there, be present, be kind and listen.

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