I’ve been having a bit of blogger’s block for some reason. I might be a little uneasy that tomorrow marks the beginning of another year I’ll be spending without you. I’m anxious to see how I’ll handle it; it’s been different each year before.
I went to bed December 1, 2008 confused as to why everyone said the first year mark is the hardest day. Well, when I woke up, I was no longer confused. I was miserable. I didn’t go to class; I didn’t even get out of my PJs or leave my couch. I was sobbing all day. In my mind I relived the horror film my life had been just one year prior.
8AM- Exactly one year since your family started coming over to say their goodbyes while you were in a medically induced coma in our living room.
10AM- Exactly one year since I was combing through your thinned out hair with my fingers whispering to you that it was okay to let go.
11AM- Exactly one year since the hospice nurse left our house because she thought you still ‘had more time’.
11:45AM- Exactly one year since I went upstairs to take a nap, and Tom ran up to tell me your breathing had slowed significantly.
12:02PM- Exactly one year since you took your last breath.
12:30PM- Exactly one year since I sat on our front steps hysterically calling my closest friends.
1:00PM- Exactly one year since the hearse pulled into our driveway.
2:00PM- Exactly one year since our last visitor left and the three of us sat at the kitchen table, without you, wondering what to do with ourselves; wondering how we would make it through the night; wondering if this pain would be enough to literally kill us.
This played over and over in my head like a record that I never wanted to hear once, let alone on repeat. Luckily, my best friend came over to snap me out of this tragic trance later in the day. I was so grateful to her; I am still.
On a lighter note, let’s fast forward 365 days to year #2.
I was living in my sorority house with 24 of my wonderful friends (whom we refer to as ‘sisters’, but I didn’t want you thinking dad has 2 dozen illegitimate little nuggets roaming the University of Maine campus). I was the New Member Educator of my sorority. In other words, I was like a teacher and mentor to the new, incoming pledge classes for two semesters. I taught them the sorority’s history and traditions every Sunday night in a classroom in the top floor of our house. I also helped them with their personal issues with roommates, school, boyfriends, stress, etc. outside of the sorority.
In return, my fall 2009 pledge class is one of the main reasons I didn’t have another breakdown when December 2 inevitably rolled around again. Throughout that semester they made me feel appreciated, respected, needed, and more importantly, loved. They went so far out of their ways to write me thoughtful notes, get me little gifts, and show me that I was someone worth looking up to every single day. I started feeling like a mom myself for crying out loud, but I enjoyed every second.
This particular group of 15 girls decided to throw the sisterhood our annual Christmas Party on the night of December 2 that year. All day my friends handed me letters of encouragement and love, and some even brought me flowers. I was too busy smiling to even shed a tear. My love for you was something that others admired, and they weren’t afraid to tell me that. It was refreshing.
When it was finally time for the Christmas party, we ate food, exchanged gifts, and enjoyed each other’s company. One of the girls in the pledge class got everyone to settle down, and she began to talk about how they had been working to raise money. I assumed it was for our philanthropy, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, but I was wrong. She announced that they had raised money for the American Cancer Society in honor of you. When she hugged me and handed me the certificate with your name on it, I cried for the first time that day. My tears told a story of pride; you’re still making a difference, but now, it’s just through me.
I don’t exactly know how tomorrow will go for me. I could crumble right back down to square one, or it could be just another stepping stone like last year. I won’t know until I’m living it. I do know that God won’t throw me anything I can’t handle, and I’m going to be okay... but somehow that doesn’t really make it any more bearable.
Is it December 3rd yet?
I miss you terribly,