It is said by many, that the first year after the death of a loved one is the worst. Each birthday and anniversary seems to open the wound again and push the reset button on the pain.  It is impossible to predict how we will react as we reach these landmarks.

While it is possible to deny the grief, and postpone the mourning process, there is a high cost to be paid. At the opposite extreme are those who get stuck in the quicksand of grief and cannot move forward at all. Between those two extremes lies the daunting task of mourning the loss and building a new life.  The pain is slowly incorporated into this new version of ourselves and no longer consumes us. 

Having survived those "first times" no matter how painful, the work of becoming that new person lies before us. Armed with the sure knowledge that we have and will continue to go on without them, we keep putting one foot in front of the other. Spring is a miracle every single year. The barrenness gives way to new growth. Hope blooms. 

It is impossible to find our way alone. The voices of those who have walked this path before us promise that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. They are, in fact, holding the light for us so we can find our way out. Without them, we are lost, wandering in the darkness of our grief.