January 12, 2014

The Hard Part

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 5:40 pm by Debbie

About a year ago a friend warned me that the second year of widow-ness would be harder than the first. I’ve heard and/or read the same ‘warning’ several times since. Silly talk. Everyone knows the first year is the hardest. Right? Wrong.

And here I thought making it through the first year would be such an accomplishment. Wrong again. Hmmpf.

The Firsts
The first year is, well, all about firsts. You find yourself dealing with one first after another. And it’s not just the first important dates like anniversaries, birthdays and holidays. It’s the first time you want to talk to them about something. The first time you roll over in bed and remember why they aren’t there. The first financial decision you have to make alone. The first party you go to without your other half. The first trip back to his hometown. The first (ugh) home repair. It’s all about the firsts. Each one dealing its own blow. One right after another. Add to the mix that you spend a good part of the year in shock, rehashing those last moments, dealing with strange emotions along with your grief, and trying to figure out how to at least attempt to control the tears.

Plenty to handle. But as hard as all of that is, I’m learning that the second year of widow-ness is harder. My friend was right. It’s true. Really. Here’s my take on what makes months 13 thru 24 such tough ones:

The Missing
The missing. Oh, the missing. Of course you miss them during the first year. But remember, there’s that shock thingy going on. And during the second year the missing sets in. Big time. I couldn’t have, in my wildest dreams, ever imagined missing someone as much as I do Dave. After over 30 years together, I kinda got used to the big ox. We were a part of each other. And trying to come to grips with him not being here is hard. Really hard. It’s a stab to the heart sharper than his death was. And, man, does it hurt.

Waning Support*
And since everyone in the whole universe (except those who know better) thinks that the first year is the hardest, you’ll also notice a weakening in the strength of your support system. Innocently, family and friends think you must be doing well. After all, you made it through the first year. They might even think (because they don’t know any better) that it’s time for you to ‘get over it’ and ‘move on’ (and I think that’s another post topic altogether.)

You Without Them
And while you miss them terribly and might be feeling like you’re at it alone, you begin to realize that you have to figure out who the-you-without-them really is. The second year is about defining who you are. It’s about figuring out your new normal. It’s about learning to live life without a part of your breath. It’s about choosing to enjoy life without them. It’s about getting back up. When and if the journey through grief finds you ready, the second year is about searching for and redefining happiness.

I don’t care who you are, that’s really freakin’ hard to do. Really!

*I don’t mention this little tidbit because I want to speak out to anyone in particular. And I don’t know of anyone who would be brave enough to say something like ‘get over it’ to me. Quite the contrary. I happen be related to and am the friend of some of the most awesome-est people in the world.



  1. I understand, Debbie. I cannot imagine – nor will I ever have a soul mate to miss; but I know you two had IT. And while you are in separate worlds (or sides) you have to search hard for the happiness that was always right there in front of you. I think about you often….

    • Debbie said,

      Thanks, Teresa. You’re one if those awesome-est people I was talking about.

  2. Jim Steele said,

    Hugs from all your Big Brothers… it takes time…. Thinking of you! Your writing is wonderful!!

    • Debbie said,

      Got it. Thanks, Jim. I know all my Big Bros are there if I need them.

  3. Eddie said,

    Jim said it best!! But I am sure that ALL of the members of Delta Sigma Phi would be there for you!!!

  4. Natalie Lurvey said,

    Been thinking about you a lot over the last couple of months, While dealing with my own little bit of hell …though it wasn’t my soul and I can’t even imagine, it was a very close aunt. You are a strong individual and very inspirational, hang in there girl!

    • Debbie said,

      Let’s all hang in there together. Thoughts are with you, too.

  5. Lynne said,

    It’s the reality of it all Debbie that finally sets in…trust me..it does get better, but you never forget. It could be a song or a comment that someone makes that will take you to your knees. However, you learn to cope and continue to live your life and take care of your kids, because there is nothing worse than seeing the pain that your kids are feeling as well.

    • Debbie said,

      Dave used to always say, “I don’t want to grow up!” I wish I could get away with saying, “I don’t want to deal with reality!” But, I am. And each day is a new, perhaps even better, day.

  6. Denise said,

    So true. Year one’s unreality turns into year two’s finality. Year one everyone’s sort of careful, tender and focused on you; year two, not so much. It’s not that people don’t care, it’s that life goes on.

    And if that phrase is supposed to comfort, it doesn’t. I miss my son and I want him to come home.

    • Debbie said,

      Well said, Denise. Life does go on, whether we’re ready or not.

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