The other day I read an article about the formalized mourning rituals observed by Jews. Being married to someone who is half Jewish, I'm familiar with some of those rituals - like sitting Shiva for 7 days, and the unveiling of the monument one year later.
But what I didn't know is that they understand that that grief takes a solid year to truly process. They figured this out, wrote it down, handed it out and now they all just know to treat each other a little more gently when the heart is healing post-loss. Imagine that.
It has now been one year and five days since my dad died.
Losing Thomas taught me that you don't get over a loss, you simply learn to live with it. So I knew I wouldn't magically feel like "the old me" when the sun rose on January 5th. I knew I would feel like the new me: the one who now lives in a world where my dad does not. The one who lost someone whose voice has been dear to her since before she was even born. But the one who is, nonetheless, still alive.
That's why I also knew I'd probably feel like I could take real breaths again on January 5th. Long, slow, deep ones - not just short, quick gasps designed to keep me alive.
And I did.
The hellish first year is behind me.
And I can breathe.