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Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for visiting. If you care to follow my story from the beginning, I encourage you to click on the oldest post first and make your way to newer entries. In so doing, hopefully, you will see the hand of God in my healing journey that started in April, 2009.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The "First Times" Are Difficult

Posted Aug 4, 2009 ~ (Three months into widowhood)

I have to confess, before I became a widow, I did not understand why certain dates on the calendar might be more painful than others for people who were grieving. My thought was, we miss our loved ones every day. Why would a holiday, anniversary, or any particular day change the intensity of ones’ feelings? I still don’t understand, but now I know from experience; the date on the calendar makes a definite difference.

I am learning that not only important dates, but also experiences in general are extra painful when you experience them for the first time without your loved one. These days have a powerful significance, because they present the opportunity to a broken heart, to relive cherished memories  and a flood of shared happy moments. Of course, these days are no longer the same as you move forward, because your loved one no longer walks by your side.

The initial revelation of this fact showed up the evening of Buck’s memorial. It was a long, eventful, and emotional day; a wonderful time to commemorate a life well lived by the love of my life! Following the memorial and lovely luncheon that my church family provided for all who were able to join us, my family attended a graduation party for my niece, Katie. After the party, my family went to watch the fireworks display in Darlington, Md. I had intentionally planned Buck’s memorial to coincide with the fireworks date, to celebrate “Buck’s Independence Day”, symbolizing his freedom from all that encumbered him during his lengthy hospitalization.

The day had been especially emotion charged for me, as what I felt most powerfully was excitement, similar to the way I felt on our wedding day. As we traveled to the little town of Darlington, the excitement of the day wore off and the true reality came crashing in! I had been consumed with preparing for the memorial and never once anticipated what was going to happen next; I never saw it coming. This would be the first time since I met my Sweetheart, that we would not be enjoying the fireworks together. The body shaking grief took over and tears flowed freely throughout the whole fireworks display!

This past Saturday held several more of those painful “firsts”. Last week, I was spending several days with my daughter, Sarah and family. Before bedtime on Friday, I asked Sarah to wake me on Saturday morning, because I hadn’t packed my alarm clock. Sarah gently woke me by stroking my arm, and greeted me with “Happy Birthday”, as I opened my eyes. Once again, I did not expect the emotion. Sarah encouraged me to let it out and so I did. Sarah and family do a great job of comforting me whenever the need arises. Even my three-year-old grandson, Colin, comforted me by stroking my arm one day during my stay, when his Nana was feeling sad! I am so thankful for the loving and supportive family God has blessed me with! What a treasure they have been to me, throughout this difficult season of my life!

Saturday, late afternoon, brought the second challenging “first”, when Sarah’s family and I went for a two-mile hike near there home. Unbeknown to my family, I fought back tears most of the time, as we made our way down the trail, through the woods. Hiking was a favorite activity that my Bofren and I enjoyed doing together. We went whenever we could, especially in the summer, although last summer didn’t permit us to spend much time in the woods, because we were busy building our new home. Buck took me hiking in the Shenandoah National Forest at Skyline Drive on our first date and many of our vacations centered around the hiking trails in Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont and were packed with many of our favorite memories as a couple! I wanted to be there, enjoying the exercise and the outdoors with my family, but it was another painful “first” that I needed to encounter. I pray it will get easier and I am confident that it will.

Although I often feel sad, and sometimes overwhelmed with emotion, I know the Lord always walks with me and I feel closer to Him than ever before! I also experience many moments of happiness, love and great joy as my friends and family continue to be so wonderful and helpful when I need them the most. My heart is full of thanksgiving for all the blessings I enjoy every day! Thank you for caring enough to check in on me. I love and appreciate all of you!


  1. Dear Renee', these firsts are almost surreal as we have the sense of watching ourselves collide with both national and personal anniversaries. Sometimes its a number on the calendar, often its a season that opens up the floodgates, or a touch, or simply having someone wake you up in the morning after becoming familiar with your independence. Your writing is a victorious tribute to the Lord and your openness to His goodness, thank you for sharing these reflections. *

  2. Thank you for stopping by, Ferree! I always appreciate your kind and encouraging words! Have a blessed weekend, my friend.