First night sleeping without you.
First time grocery shopping only for me.
First birthday alone.
I talk with a lot of people who have lost their loves. Every single one says something different. The first year is the hardest. No, the second. No, it's the third.
First time paying bills without you.
First movie by myself.
First Sunday night trash alone.
I don't know the truth of it, I only know this is very hard. Each new first scrapes away the scab. Makes it more real. Draws more blood. Each first is a surprise even when I'm braced. When they become seconds and thirds I find myself numb. The waves of grief are unexpected and seemingly unrelated to the first or second or third, but they still come.
First cold without you.
First home repair by myself.
First basket of laundry, mine alone.
I feel as though I should write something about gratitude, about thankfulness, because I have so much to be thankful for. I had 15 years with the love of my life. I had (and, as far as I'm concerned, have) a love of my life, that's more than many people get. I have friends and family who love me. For all of that and more I am grateful. For the hand held, the tears honored, the meals shared, the good and loving care. Thank you.
I don't have that post in me today, the celebration of how graced I am. Maybe soon. There is no reason to reserve gratitude for Thanksgiving alone, I try to practice gratitude daily. It's harder now but I still practice. I am still grateful but in this moment everything is coated with soot. I live in moments now.
First meal cooked without you.
First performance by myself.
First Thanksgiving, surrounded by people who love me, alone.
I can even be thankful for this grief, but not the loss. Never the loss. At this moment the loss is what consumes me. I am an emptiness illuminated by sparks of memory. Eventually the emptiness will fill and I can again be grateful. That, too, will be a first.
(eight months. 35 weeks. I love you. And I miss you so damned much.)
(c) 2014 Laura Packer