“The second year was harder than the first.” That’s what Jane Brody, New York Times writer and author of Jane Brody’s Guide to the Great Beyond, had to say in her moving story of the two years after the death of her husband. They had been together for 44 years.
I have never been married, but I had the same experience after my father died more than two decades ago. That first year, every new marker was freshly painful – his birthday, the holidays, even my birthday and my mother’s. There were also those trips “home” to visit; unlike all of the other visits in the past, now he was no longer there. I worried about my mom, too. She and my dad had been married for 42 years and now she was living on her own for the first time.
As Jane Brody noted, though, that first year, other people recognize your grief and they are there for you. By year two, they seem to assume you are over it and everything is pretty much back to normal. To me, though, Year 2 seemed astonishingly unfair. After making it through an entire year, with all of those difficult events, I thought I deserved a reward. I thought I should get my dad back. Instead, there would be just endless additional years of not having him.
It does get better eventually – at least it did for me. The end of Year 1, though, offered no magical ending of the pain.