It was my birthday this week. On Monday. My third birthday as a widow. I haven’t enjoyed birthdays the last few years. Each year I was getting older than he ever got to be. It seemed like the distance was growing between us.
This time, I did enjoy it a little more. Perhaps it’s a sign I’m coming to terms with it all a bit?
I think it was Christine at Second Firsts who said in a comment somewhere that it wasn’t until three years after her husband’s death she began to move forward. So perhaps as I head to the three year mark things will stabilise a little?
Here’s some of what she wrote recently on Facebook as part of her weekly letter you can subscribe to.
THE HALF STEP
There will always be setbacks, especially in the beginning.
When I say beginning, I mean the first 2 to 3 years after loss.
Sorry I didn’t say six months or one year.
That is not even the beginning, that is the aftermath.
So, in the first few two years it will feel as if you are not moving forward.
You will be taking at least two steps back and maybe a half step forward.
But that half step is building your forward momentum even if it doesn’t feel like it.
Remember everything is broken right now.
This half step is a MIRACLE.
You getting up in the morning and showering after a tough night is a miracle.
You going to work again and again this week, a miracle.
Even though these may not feel like half steps to you, they really are.
I know sometimes you compare the self before loss with the self after loss, that is unfair.
You can’t do that. The old self did not have a broken heart.
The old self did not spend the whole night crying.
The old self did not have to lift furniture alone.
The list goes on, and it is a very long list.
So, next time you see yourself taking a half step forward and two steps back know that you just experienced a miracle. Nothing less.
As I look back at myself during those early years, going for job interviews, feeding my kids, and doing all the human tasks with a broken self, I wish I had told myself that I was superhuman in those moments.
Instead I told myself that I was not doing a good job, that I needed to do better.
My half steps were a miracle and I didn’t even know it.
And this is why I am writing this letter to you today.
If you have just taken two steps back, know that it is necessary so you have the ability to take that half step forward.
Without the two steps back the half step won’t happen.
One day in the near future, the half step will become one full step.
The two steps back will become one. Can you see this?
Soon your back steps will become less frequent.
And your forward steps the only constant.
Life after loss is a dance.
And today, if your steps are going backwards please remember this letter.
Your half step will have a turn soon.
I know where you are heading. And from where I am sitting it is a beautiful place.
With many half steps,
PS. If a friend or a family member needs this weekly letter too, here is the link where they can subscribe: www.secondfirsts.com/signup
So in a half step forward moment I enjoyed my birthday.
It began with a Sunday lunch on the water.
The next day Princess Child made pancakes for breakfast.
I had coffee with friends.
There was chips and lemonade ALL OVER my desk. Yes I know the desk is messy, what else did you expect?
Then there was lunch with my work colleagues. Note to self. Don’t let the Gen Y colleague take the selfies.
There was dinner at home that evening (thanks Mum). With presents.
And the big surprise of Hippie Child coming home for the night to say happy birthday.
And so I head on towards the big FIVE OH. Wish me luck! Thank you everyone.