The First Year Without You


The first year without you has been simultaneously the longest and fastest year of my life. It has been challenging and lonely, and so, so hard. At times, the first year without you has felt impossible.

The first year without you has been a reminder of how much joy you brought to the lives of so many people. A reminder of the impact you had on everyone you met. The first year without you has been dark. It’s been a constant reminder of the incredible person you were.

The first year without you has been angry. Unfair. Confusing. I still don’t understand why. There is so much I need you for. So much to talk to you about. So much I won’t have with you.

The first year without you has been full of denial. I still can’t believe you’re gone. I still pick up the phone to call you. I still forget that we don’t have you.

The first year without you has been full of learning and growth. Learning about myself. Learning how to feel. Learning how to deal with this grief. Learning and understanding myself, and others and just how differently everyone handles grief. It hasn’t been easy. But, it has led me to unexpected places. Losing you pushed me and inspired me to find my voice, and to being writing. Never in my life did I think I’d be opening up and connecting to so many people, but here we are. I’ve grown so much in this past year, in ways I didn’t know possible. In ways I didn’t know I needed.

The first year without you has been full of pulling away. From friends. From family. Feeling it was sometimes easier to hide. Not something I’m proud of, and I should have/could have handled it differently. I’m working on it. Pulling away from experiences because I don’t have you here and am afraid for pieces of my future without you. I’m afraid to date because I’ll never get your opinion. I’m afraid of a future that can lead to marriage because I won’t have your blessing. You won’t be there to walk me down the aisle. I’ll never get a Father/Daughter dance.

Honestly, the first year without you has been a clusterfuck. Losing you has led to a series of unfortunate events that I need you for. You were always in my corner and always knew what to say and what to do.

The first year without you has been lonely. I miss your voice. Your laugh. Your hugs. Your demanding of showing up for a visit when I didn’t even know I needed it. Missing your random mail. I miss talking sports with you. I miss cracking a beer and just shooting the shit with you. I really, really, miss the holidays with you. Christmas will never be the same.

But, with all the hurt, this first year without you has been full of love. Love for others, and from others. Having grace with myself to move through this process. Feeling the love of all those in my life who care for me, our family, and most importantly you. Full of support and encouragement. Full of gentle and understanding people. Full of so much love for you that will never go away.

Dad, this first year without you has really sucked. And somehow it’s also been great. It’s been life-changing in good and bad ways. This first year without you is one I never wanted to experience.

I love you and miss you, and I hope I’m continuing to make you as proud of me as I’ve always been of you. Each day without you I’m striving to be the woman you raised me to be, foul-mouthed and all. Thank you for being the best dad, friend, and role model. Thank you for always showing up. I strive to be the person you saw in me.