It’s another New Year as a widow.  The first felt almost unbearable. How could I face an entire year without seeing Tris, not even once? The second holiday season also was excruciating – Tris’ absence was palpable, and a whole new decade loomed ahead.

From here on out, it seems like the winter holiday season is always just going to be hard. Also, I’m adjusting to that fact.  At first, I had no idea of what to expect or how to make it through.  But now I see that the past seasons have given me experiences, and experiences serve as a compass of sorts.  I’ve come to expect the bittersweet memories that come with unwrapping the Christmas tree decorations. When the waves of grief ambush me, yanking me under water, I now know that the waves will pass.  I’ve come to expect the ugly jealous feelings that arise as I open holiday cards; my friends and family have beautiful, smiling families who are intact in a way that mine will never be again. I’ve grown more accustomed anticipating a new year ahead without my beloved husband in it.  It’s still agonizing. And as it feels increasingly familiar, I know that I can and must bear it, and that I’ll find a way.