As of today, my husband has been dead for 500 days. That just sounds so utterly ridiculous to me. 500 days. It might as well be an eternity. During those first few weeks, each day felt like a marathon. It was the greatest challenge to make it through every. single. day.
I'd lay in bed at night with a heart heavy and a broken spirit, exhausted from feeling every second of time that had passed without him here. The days were long and sad. And now there's been 500 of them.
Here, in my 17th month of missing him, the days are definitely easier. There is still great pain and sadness at his loss but - I guess like an athlete who's body becomes conditioned to their sport - I move through them easier.
I have been thinking a lot this week about the passing of time and how it's softened the edges of the agony I feel at being separated from him. Since his death, I have grown in ways that I can't even identify and measure. The weeks and months have a tendency to blur and it's easy to believe that I have not changed or healed at all. Until something prompts me to look back at a certain point in time - then comes the lightbulb moment.
For example, my feelings towards Christmas are very different to last year. I am actually looking forward to this holiday period. I have been enjoying searching for gifts for my family and friends, I bought a tree and have find myself humming along to Christmas carols.
This afternoon, I'm having seven close friends over for drinks, we're doing a secret santa gift exchange, I've made them all gift baskets of fudge and rocky road and have even put together a music playlist for the party!
I was speaking to Dan's parents during the week about this strange sense of excitement I've been feeling and was so happy to hear his mum say that she's been looking forward to Christmas too.
We all wish Dan was here, it won't be the same without him and my mind still wanders regularly to how wonderful things would be if he hadn't of died and we were making these plans together. I'll probably still cry myself to sleep on Christmas eve with Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' on repeat.
But while last year, Christmas was something to endure - a challenge to overcome that I would have gladly ignored if possible - this year there is joy in my heart and gratitude for the family and friends who fill my life with love.