My Year of 2nds
January 15, 2017 marked the one year anniversary of Pete’s death. The short-term shock of this unexpected event in my life has softened but the long-term shock and disbelief are still front and center in my heart and mind.
I’ve made it through the Year of Firsts which I’d heard so much about. I guess that is supposed to mark some sort of milestone. To me it feels like a treadmill that never stops. I start my day so I can get to the end of it, and I end my day in a hurry so I can start the next one. The Year of Firsts isn’t a complete misnomer. There was the recent first Christmas without Pete, a first anniversary—the first that didn’t add to the tally of years we’d been married—my first birthday without him, his first birthday, my kids’ first birthday, my first road trip, and the list goes on.
As tempting as it is, the idea that all the firsts are encapsulated into 365 days is just mistaken. Last week I went to my first NAMM (National Assoc. of Music Merchants) convention without him. NAMM is the annual convention in L.A. where all the instrument and gear manufacturers show their wares. Walking through the convention center with Pete was always a declaration of a PR job well done for me. He’d be stopped every hundred steps by someone who knew him or was a fan of his work. Walking through by myself was solitary. Soon I’ll be in the Denver airport for the first time without him. I know, an airport. How could that be weird? But we’ve flown into and through that airport countless times and spent hours hanging at the bar talking and laughing. In June, I’ll attend my first Huttlinger family wedding without him on my arm.
It doesn’t stop there. There will be firsts for the rest of my life. The first time Sean or James walk down the aisle, the first time I get to hold a grandchild, or the first time I’m sick without him to take care of me.
I understand that the pain of the first time I encounter something without Pete may diminish with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th times, etc… BUT he still feels noticeably, significantly and physically MIA.
So this concept of the Year of Firsts is really helpful because I think I believed that it would be the first band-aid ripped off. And I needed that so I could see light at the end of the tunnel. The joke is that as soon as I could see it, it just moved a little bit further away again.
Have you already been through your year of 2nds? How does it compare to the first year?