If the death was unexpected, some say that the second year is even more difficult.To be honest I've heard this before in other books I've read. But I always rejected it. A year ago if I heard that statement, in my head I would be thinking "No WAY will I let myself feel WORSE in the second year." I would cringe when I heard people talk about it being years before grief eased up. My honest heartfelt and real reaction to that statement was:
No. It won't be that way.
Honestly in the first year (and I cannot believe I am talking about this situation in terms of years) I think that everything was so focused on getting through stuff. First holidays, first anniversary dates, first days of getting used to a life for me and Luke and Alyssa in which Joe was not here. So many things to figure out.
I think that I had a little break from the pain last summer in which I kind of felt like I was just not allowing myself to feel the pain. Don't get me wrong, I thought about Joe all the time, but at the same time I was truly rejecting grief in a way, focusing on something different for a while. I remember getting daily emails from the first grief group I did (just little sayings or thoughts) and I remember every day I'd get them out of my inbox as fast as I could and think "I am DONE with grief". I was running.
I think during the summer there was also a sense (though never consciously a thought) of "I did it" in terms of getting through the first year. I am not saying that in a boastful way, more of a "phew (wipe your hand across your forehead and exhaustedly fall into a chair), I did it". It's a weird thing for an intelligent person to have.....of course we know there is no end, there is no "did". The high of "I did it" ends quickly when you realize that month after month the pain, emptiness, sadness wear on; that every morning you still get out of bed alone. With grief, I am not sure there is or will ever be an "I did it" with a true feeling of closure and all rounded accomplishment. Does anyone know, is there?
The second year has truly been a struggle. Different from the first. In the first year I struggled with what happened, how it happened, where it happened, going over the day a million times, trying to make some sense of it all, trying to figure out the day-to-day living, doing all the paperwork and legalities, trying to figure out my kids and I apart from Joe. The first year was very much about the present and getting through it and a lot of focus on that horrible event in the past. The second year has also been about the present, but more trying to savor it (hard and sad because I feel dull to everything because I constantly think of what is missing), but also coming to grips with a/the future and trying to make sense of what that will be. Looking at the future, it seems, at least for me, is more difficult than looking at the past. How that can be possible I don't know. But I can tell you that I feel overwhelmed, sad, angry, confused and depressed when thinking about the state of my life right now. I feel like it's just not going anywhere....same stuff, different day, and no plan for what I am doing it all for. Yes, I know what the obvious answer is, I am raising my children. And yes, it's an important role and I am honored to be here for those two great kids, but......what about Robin? When does her life begin again? And understand that question is asked with great pain because I don't want to begin again. I had all this stuff wrapped up years ago. Done. Moving on.
"Not so fast" says the universe. And POOF, everything changes. Life as I knew it, gone in an instant.
I don't want to feel this way. Why can't I look at the future with hope and positivity? As a wide open canvas in which I can do anything and everything that I want? Why can't I feel joy the way I used to? I have so many gifts in my life, it is so full in so many ways. Why can I not feel the beauty in it all?