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3 years

They say the 2nd year is the hardest & I think I can see where they’re coming from. The 1st year is expectedly difficult. For every event I relived the year prior - with her & without a single notion that it would be our last. The pain was raw & emotions were bursting at the seams but we were blessed with an amazing support system. They look out for us & try their best to fill her shoes, especially for holidays, and kept us moving.

When the 2nd year hit, I suddenly realized how much life had gone on while I had been buried in grief. I could no longer say “last year on this day we did this” and that really, really hurt. It was only 1 year but it felt like an eternity. Even with our wonderful support system it somehow felt more lonely.

It’s ironic that my 3rd year, spent mostly within the confines of our home due to the pandemic, was surprisingly one of growth. It was the year I finally stopped talking about doing things and just did it. I haven’t been this productive in years but most importantly I finally brought myself to fulfill my promise to my mom.

When I became my mom’s caregiver. she was worried I would never reach my career goals. She desperately wanted for me to be self-sufficient even if i didn’t have to be. “Stay-at- home-dog-mom” has a nice ring to it but I don’t think I would ever truly be happy if I gave up on my dream. After years of delays and a major fear of rejection I applied to grad school for speech-language pathology. I applied to 9 schools praying just 1 would give me a chance. I’ve never been so certain my mom was pulling strings than now because I just so happened to be accepted to all 4 of my “preferred options” - all of which I was certain were far out of my reach.

I’m finally making progress. It took me way longer than some and way less than others. I had to do it in my own time. Some things are still really hard. It feels like I lost her a lifetime ago but somehow can still relive those traumatic moments like they were yesterday. I haven’t even begun to think about wedding planning because I really don’t want to do it without her. Yet somehow each year we get better at finding ways to enjoy what we still have & live in her memory. 🖤

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