I've always found it fascinating that much of the world - Christian and non-Christian alike - mark time in a way that acknowledges the existence of Christ. We are currently in the Year of Our Lord (Anno Domini) 2011.
Using this same sort of starting point, I have marked the time A.D. (after Daniel) and am currently in the year 6 on this calendar.
Most things temporal have been measured along this calendar - at first in minutes, then hours, days, weeks, months and finally years. I remember the first time I forgot to mark the number of days in my head...I beat myself up for hours and barely slept. How dare I forget for a single day that another day had passed A.D.? It was horrifying, and for a while I went back to considering it each hour as a way of compensating for my lack of loyalty and my lapse in true grieving. I couldn't be truly grieving if I wasn't doing it all day every day, right?
Eventually, I gave myself a break and allowed the small lapses which would occur and I began to actually enjoy the reprieve from daily grief. It was when I had a gap of more than a week that it began to trouble me. How could I go for an entire week without thinking about it? How was that humanly possible? Technically, I don't think I even went a day. The reality was it was less painful, so random thoughts of Daniel weren't a kick in the stomach anymore - they were more normal and less likely to stress me out or even get a big reaction from me. His absence became part of the day instead of a noted occurrence. It was normal.
As hard as it is to believe, the time did come for me when living A.D. was normal, an expected part of life. I don't know exactly when, but it wasn't noticeable at first. It just became the reality. It doesn't mean that I'm "over it" or that I don't miss him. It just means I'm used to the missing. I'm used to him not being here. Grayson is too. We speak about it in straight forward terms - "Daddy would have liked this" or "Sometimes you are so much like your Daddy...". It's not so painful. It just is what it is.
I remember actively dreading the day when this would be the reality. I remember thinking it would never happen and that I loved him too much. Time passed, it became less painful, and my future began to unfold before me. I look back often, but my focus is forward. and I have resolved to live as happy a life as humanly possible. For myself, and for Grayson. The truth is that I refuse to waste my life in his memory. He'd hate it. He lived his life to the fullest, even when he was sick. He took his last breath struggling to stay alive. I will too. I plan to have many many years A.D., and I know that when I slide into heaven (or not, as the case may be ;-) exhausted from the ride, he'll be there cheering me on and proud of my efforts.