“I’ll remember you And all the times we used to Sit right here on the edge of this pier Watch the sunset disappear And drink a beer,” – Jim Beavers / Chris Stapleton

I don’t usually sit here stressing out about an upcoming date. Last month the 8th came and went. This month is different. For the last few days I’ve been dreading tomorrow. I had a rough Monday and some sleepless nights. I have had a headache and woke up with a fever blister. I’ve felt out of sorts and been super emotional.

Tomorrow is 11 months, so close to a year.

Starting tomorrow we start what I am fearing will be my hardest month. There are so many triggers and dates. It’s the 11 month mark, Duane’s 46th birthday is the 29th, July 1 is the day we said goodbye to Gracie’s, the 2nd is when my Dad found out he had cancer (he’s fine now), 4th of July – our favorite holiday and then the 8th of July marks 1 year. 1 year without my best friend. 

I can’t believe it’s been 11 months. The time has dragged on and sped by. The days have been full of crying and laughter. I’ve made new friends and reconnected with old ones. I’ve dug deep to remember the skills he taught me, I’ve relied on people I didn’t know to teach me new ones. I’ve found a place I love. I have learned that most people truly do want to help, as long as I ask for it. Buddy has started acting like a dog again, protective but happy and playing again. I have so many people cheering me on and loving me. Life is good. 

I don’t know what I was or am expecting to feel or what I am “supposed” to feel. There is no guide book for grief or widowhood. There are no rules and there is no normal. I am taking a deep breath and realizing it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to be mad. I wish it hadn’t taken me 11 months to realize I can’t fake strong forever. 

I have so many amazing opportunities on the horizon and know great things are happening around me. 

– xoxo Victoria

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