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The 365 days following the departure of your person are a year of firsts. A dreaded year of firsts. It is the year you will do thousands of things for the first time without them.

Sure there are the big ones that everyone expects to be difficult. Birthdays, Anniversaries, Holidays and vacations. People expect us to be “a little off” on these days, that’s to be expected right? But what about the multitude of other firsts we have to endure that are not so easily understood by someone not walking our path?

First night you crawl in bed without them laying beside you

First morning you open your eyes and see an empty spot where they should be

First time you open the cupboard to get a coffee cup and see their favorite mug that you would have normally retrieved and filled for them

First night you don’t have to tuck them in

First time you pick up your phone to call them

First time you go to the grocery store and automatically grab diapers or their favorite cereal only to realize you don’t need to buy them anymore

First time you hear their favorite song

First time that light bulb they always changed, because you hate ladders, goes out and you have to change it yourself

First time you smell their cologne on another person

First time you do something that drove them crazy, then realize it doesn’t matter now

First meal you have to prepare with one less serving

First load of laundry you do that contains her favorite outfit

First form you have to complete and mark “single” because “widow” isn’t an option

First time you hear someone refer to them in the past tense

First time you refer to them in the past tense

First time you receive a letter addressed to them

First time you shower and forget a towel and there is no one to get you one anymore

First time you use the “D” word (died). This took me well over a year to say, I just told people he “left” or was “gone”.

First telemarketer call asking for them and you have to say they are no longer here

First time you sit in a church pew without them, feeling that everyone is watching you waiting for you to crack

Their birthday

Your birthday

First membership of theirs you cancel

Turning off their cell phone number

Anniversary of your first date

The day they would have graduated

First wedding you must attend without them

First card you send to someone signing only your name

First time you call their phone and realize they have given their number to someone else

First time you are desperately in need of the wisdom and advice you could always count on them to give

1 year anniversary of them leaving

Firsts are so much more that the “big ones” when people will expect you to be sad. What may seem to be mundane to some can be monumental to us. Deal with these firsts however you see fit. I had a lot of meltdowns that involved crying and swearing. Each one of these firsts can bring their own set of emotions. You may even have firsts that will cause you to smile. First time you don’t have to go to his goofy cousins house for a party?

Year one of firsts are definitely the worst but firsts don’t stop there. You can experience firsts for a long time that will effect you deeply. Our person being gone will affect our firsts for years to come.

So, support staff, please know the first year is going to be tough. Please be extra kind when we have a first. They may not seem like no big deal for you but for us every one of them is monumental.

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