One year ago today my husband died. It has been a rough year, a year filled with ‘firsts’ that I would rather never have experienced: the first Easter without him, his birthday in May, the first Father’s Day that we didn’t bar-b-q and give him the latest ‘must-have’ tool from the local hardware store. It was the first summer at our cottage that he wasn’t there to fix a pipe or share a glass of wine on the deck; it was the first Thanksgiving dinner without him to carve the turkey and prepare the coleslaw, and it was the first wedding anniversary that I didn’t receive a card and a kiss from my beloved. And now it is the one-year mark of his death.
Family members and friends have reached out to let me know that they also remember what today is, and that they are just a phone call away if I want a visit or a chat. But although I am comforted knowing that other people loved Gary and remember him and miss him, I chose to remain hunkered down in my home for the day. I have stared out the living room window and reflected how the dark and sombre sky mirrored my mood; I have browsed through family pictures on my laptop and in photo albums; I have tried several times to capture my jumbled thoughts on paper, as if writing them down will help me make sense of them.
While I haven’t managed to make sense of my world, what I have realized today is that no matter how many difficult ‘firsts’ I have experienced in this last year, the worst one happened Dec 13, 2009, when I had to whisper good-bye to the man I loved almost my entire life. I miss you, Gary, and will never forget you.