Besides extending condolences during our recent time of loss, many friends informed me that this would be a difficult first year. The “Year of Firsts” they would say, often touching my arm and showing genuine compassion and care in their expression. I was somewhat familiar with what they meant, I thought.
I had experienced many ‘firsts’ in my life and generally they were a time of celebration. Some events occurred so early in my life I didn’t actually remember the occurrence itself, but was told of it by a family member or experienced it through a photograph of the event. My first smile, first giggle, first tooth, first word, first steps, first day of school, first kiss, first time driving my car alone. The list could go on, but as you can identify with I am sure, all happy firsts. Experiences that made others or myself happy, proud, empowered and independent. These experiences in no way prepared me for this ‘Year of Firsts’ I was about to descend into.
My new firsts have been as simple as crawling under the covers at night or waking in the morning, alone. Reaching for my toothbrush and noting only one brush in the holder, the empty chair at the kitchen table, the silent meal, the vacant easy chair in the family room. And these are just examples of the mundane (or so I thought) bits of every day life. Again the list goes on and on. Everyday events, places, occasions, and occurrences that we partake in daily that suddenly become solitary experiences. A person who was loved, cherished and needed, suddenly absent from it all.
When I made the decision to attempt expressing myself In a blog format I felt it might be a way to help myself and perhaps some reader in the blog world. I decided I would not use the space as a personal therapy session. That means I won’t be sharing all the details of the difficult situations my life partner experienced in his end of life journey. I have found that while that may help the individual sharing the details, it can be quite emotional and difficult for another individual to encounter, especially if they themselves have just travelled a similar path. Instead I hope to shed a wee bit of light on some of my journey since experiencing my loss. And I hope that you the reader will have a slightly better understanding of what someone you know might be going through or may not be so shocked or surprised when you too have to walk the detour called the ‘Year of Firsts’.