Annabelle and her daughter, Primrose
A close friend of mine recently told me that she found the second year of grief to be harder than the first. It was an honesty that most people don’t often share, sometimes we are so focused on healing that we forget that grief is a marathon and not a sprint. It’s also a timely thought as I begin the new year and another year without my husband Josh.
This time last year, I was in a whirlwind of shock and exhaustion. It had been a month since Josh had died, and I was heavily pregnant. I didn’t do a lot of reflecting or bracing. The truth is, I couldn’t comprehend what had just happened, and definitely what was coming for me. So, in many ways, stability is a huge difference this year.
Looking back on last year, it has been a wonderful overall. I have my dream job helping the brain cancer community, a beautiful home, spectacular friends and family. Of course, the best part has been getting to know my new best friend, my daughter, little Primrose. There have been lots of laughs and exciting moments in all of these things, and Josh’s energy and passion for living the good life has found its way into all of my decisions. And I am proud of that.
It was also, probably unsurprisingly, the hardest year of my life. There were countless moments of deep despair. I have apologised to my daughter for not being enough, been cold in my empty bed and felt lonely even when surrounded by people I love. There are no shortcuts in grief, but I have weathered all of it and am still standing tall. And I am proud of that.
I keep thinking about what I would tell 2017 Annabelle to prepare her, but honestly, I wouldn’t do anything differently, so there is nothing that she needs to know. Last year was excruciating at times, but it was a really lovely feeling to get to the end of it and feel like I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I’m proud of that too.
There will be many things that will be easier in 2019, even just knowing that I made it through 2018 is enough to pull me out of those dark moments. Whether the sharp feelings of grief get easier or harder as time goes on, the one thing that’s for sure is that Josh will never leave us, and that wonderful thought is enough to keep going, year after year.
I wonder what "future Annabelle" would tell me if she could, or if she will be still feel no need to say anything. I hope so.
So, I guess there’s my resolution for 2019; make future me proud.