At Keith's second funeral the pastor gave the following anecdote from a widower regarding the loss of his wife: The first year will be hard. However, if you can make it through that first year it will get easier. The first year is particularly hard because you have all of the "firsts" you are forced to face alone - the first anniversary without them, the first Christmas without them, the first Valentine's Day, birthday, etc.
Well, what about me? I've had my first year. Heck, I'm almost halfway through my second. Although my case is a little different, it's not by much. And, in fact, I feel like mine is different because it was harder to deal with. Technically, I've been a widow for two weeks. However, in reality, I've been a widow for seventeen months. I've had my first Christmas without Keith even though he wasn't gone. Last Christmas I spent the entire day with my parents, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephew, yep everyone...everyone but Keith. So as the day was coming to a close and everyone returned to their own homes to wrap up a cozy Christmas, I drove to the nursing home by myself. I got in Keith's hospital bed and sat beside him and then probably told him that I didn't hold it against him for not getting me a present. I went to the nursing home to spend time with him, but it wasn't him. Then I probably sat there and cried. I cried off and on at different points during our journey while sitting beside Keith. Sometimes the reality of it was just too hard and it was difficult for me to grasp just how badly our lives sucked. But when I grasped it, I cried. And spending Christmas night in a nursing home with your thirty-one year old husband who no longer responds to anything is a time where tears were necessary.
What about anniversaries? In 2009 ours was spent in the hospital. In 2010 it was spent with my sister and Brooks at Gatti Land. I can honestly say that never in a million years would I have imagined eating my anniversary dinner at a pizza buffet.
I understand what the pastor was saying about the difficulty of the first year without your loved one, but to me, I almost feel like mine will be better. Not better because Keith is gone - that's not it at all. Better because part of me thinks that this first year without Keith couldn't possibly be any worse than what I have been facing since April of 2009. I guess only time will tell, but I sure hope I'm right.