I still remember standing outside at an event in a city near ours. I remember shivering violently in the cold temperatures and burying myself into Chad as we watched nervously as the clock ticked down 5-4-3-2-1- HAPPY NEW YEAR! And for a moment it seemed that the crowd stopped and looked around just to make sure. . . is everything okay?
Turns out it was. The transition happened uneventfully.
That is a little bit how things were yesterday. For months I'd been anticipating the day that marks my 365th day without my Mom. I wondered what it would be like. I wondered if I would remember every moment of that day a year ago. I wondered if I would hurt. If I would be sad. If I would be angry.
Turns out. . . I just was.
I was given the gift of some time alone and I took a peak back. I spent time reading my journal entries from that terrible week and looking through the pictures. I required myself to look back. To think about it. To remember.
I remember how surreal if felt. I remember how I had to shake my head at times and force myself to face that it was really happening.
I remember wondering how I was going to do it. I knew that life from that day forward would be different. I knew all of us would be different. . . I knew our family would be different. I just didn't know how.
We marched through the motions of that week overcome with grief and overwhelmed by love poured out from every direction. We did all we knew how to
do. . .we put one foot in front of the other.
It's such a strange thing to be in a completely surreal moment. Unable to be in that moment or any other moment, really. I remember thinking that I wanted to quit life. The only thing that presented any allure was hiding myself in my house and avoiding all aspects of life. As far as I was concerned. . . "okay" was a state of the past.
One year later I can absolutely say I found "Okay" again.
Hitting the year mark is like reaching the finish line of a marathon. There have been moments of deep pain and moments of exhilarating joy and I have no doubt that many more are to come. But on this day I stand side by side with my family and I feel proud knowing that we did it. We survived.
As I look over the year I am very aware that a different person has emerged out of the ashes of that day. Somehow, losing my Mom made me less fearful. It brought me to a place where I am more ready to risk. I've come to learn that I'm not as fragile and breakable as I thought I was. It brought me face to face with the choice I had to just live life or to live with intention.
I find myself wondering if these things would have happened without such a tragedy. I find myself wishing she could see it. Wishing she could see the woman I'm becoming.
As I kiss this year good-bye, I do so knowing that life will continue to be different. Every joyful moment will bring with it a slight shadow where her voice, her smile, her enthusiasm, and her love should have been. Happy moments will produce bitter-sweet tears because her absence is blaring and it always will be. . . because we loved her that much.
Today I'm raising my hands and declaring a big fat "I did it", because I did. However, I did not take one step of it alone. Oh, my heart is so thankful for the family and friends and new blogger friends who have reached out to me over this year. I am filled with gratitude for the outpouring of love I've received from emails, texts, cards, Facebook and blog comments. Thank you to all of you who continue to walk beside me and fill me with confidence that everything truly will be okay.
With all of you. . . I did it.