The 14th year.
How could it possibly be that I’m in the midst of living in year number 14 without you? How can it be that I have lived and breathed and cried and walked and laughed without my love and my sweet baby girl for more than 13 years now?
I meet so many who are brand new to their grief and to this thing called life after loss. They are just now learning to live without their partners, their babies, their most loved ones. They are on day 3 and 20 and 90 and 275 and 489. Days and weeks and months.
How is it that I’ve now lived for so many days and weeks and months and years without seeing your faces, touching your hands, hearing your voices, and holding you next to me?
Some days it feels as if I held you and touched you just yesterday. Other times it feels so long ago that I half-wonder if I imagined knowing you.
But no, you were real and beautiful and bright. You were my love. You were my baby. You both were my family.
Even in my 14th year without you, I still miss you both. Every day.
I wish I could say to some of those I meet that the longing and missing of their loved ones will ease over time and years. I wish I could say that as the weeks and months and years pass, that the absence of the ones they love gets less. That the space that their loved ones left will be filled in by time and life.
I can’t. Even now, in year 14 without you, I still miss you fiercely. I still long to touch you, talk with you, kiss you, and laugh with you. The absence of you in my life has never filled.
The pain is less. The grief isn’t as overwhelming and intense as it was on day 30 or month 26 or year 5. Life has bloomed and filled and moved along without you. The days aren’t the same black or gray or filled with sobbing and weeping that they once were.
Life has become beautiful again. There is color and sunshine and sweetness to fill my days and my years, even without you. The life that fell to ruins after you both died has been rebuilt into a beautiful mosaic of colors and art.
Year 14 is very different from day 14 or week 14 or month 14.
Yet my love for you has not changed. Missing you has not eased.
I imagine I will love and miss you just as much in year 34 or 54 or 74 as I do now in year 14. Even as life moves forward and new love might blossom and grow, I will love you and miss you both.
14 minutes or 14 years, my love and my heart, I love you.
Fully. Fiercely. Always.