The Firsts

Common wisdom in the grief world says that the first year is the worst. That you’ll feel most keenly on the birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays and after that first year you’ve past a milestone. True to form I seem to be out-of-kilter with anything common or wise. My birthday came and went a mere 48 days after K. died without me feeling particularly sad or alone.

However, there have been an endless parade of seemingly insignificant firsts that have taken my breath away. Our days are generally made up of lots of little everyday moments and routines that become the staple of our life. They are where we spend most of our time with our loves ones.

Waking up alone for the first time, remembering how he used to get out of bed and start humming. I always used to groan at that until after my first cup of coffee. The first time I though “Oh, K. would like that! I’ll have to tell him when I get home,” and the emptiness I felt realizing there was no one to tell, no one who would really appreciate my little anecdote. Going to the grocery store and thinking, “I should pick up some more of that hazelnut creamer for K.” only to remember that morning coffee is now a silent and solitary routine now. The first time I had to check ‘widow’ off on a form. The first time I put a book on his nightstand to make it look like maybe he would be coming to bed to read soon.

We were married for 22 years. That’s a lot of moments, days, events. I wonder if when they will stop feeling like firsts and become fond memories that make me smile.

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