The End of the First Year

You have made it through the first year. That time could have dragged so and yet gone by so fast seems impossible, but here you are, not sure sometimes how you made it to this anniversary. So much has happened in this year and, as you tried to adjust to new circumstances, you probably experienced both successes and failures as well as moments of discomfort and awkwardness.

Survivors often feel a new sense of the value of life and an awareness that their scale of values is no longer the same as before their loss. A new appreciation of each day is brought by the knowledge that tomorrow is not inevitable and that what one does and says today may be one’s final act or word. Unfinished business can no longer wait - what needs to be said or done takes on a sense of urgency. Your memories are precious but you can now accept them for what they are - a time that is no more.

You have survived but you are not the same. You may have made new friends during the past year and perhaps you even feel more comfortable with them than with some of your old friends. Changed circumstances alter your view of the world as well as your needs. You have learned a lot about yourself and have identified both strengths and weaknesses. If, at this time, you still feel completely overwhelmed and unable to function, do not be ashamed to seek professional help. Many issues can complicate mourning, just as an infection can complicate an otherwise successful recovery form surgery. Both need professional attention.

Perhaps your experience has confirmed your spiritual beliefs, perhaps it has awakened new feelings of spirituality toward that which is beyond comprehension. Through suffering , one often feels a link to a larger whole and a need to become a part of that whole in a significant way. In any case, you are a sadder, wiser person than you were a year ago, forced to draw upon your own inner resources. You have also discovered the need to find help and the comfort and value of confiding your confusing and sometimes frightening feelings and thoughts. In this need, you have sought others who understand and you have allowed yourself to receive what they had to give. Something in you has opened and although you are now more vulnerable, you are also more sensitive, more compassionate. It is that which is worth striving to maintain as your grief becomes less intense and as you reorganize your life and adapt to a new routine. You know that you must let go of the past and concentrate on the present, but as the days go by you will need to make an effort to remember and to live the lessons of your experiences. You know now that it is possible to laugh again, to experience joyful times. You also know that any meaningful relationship involves risk, but now you can acknowledge death as a part of the life cycle - part which is beyond our understanding.

So, you have begun to rebuild your life; it has not been easy but you have managed. You deserve credit for having made it through the first year of survival to reach this anniversary milestone in your life.