when "this time last year" hurts…

boris-bw I’ve been having some serious dog-longing lately. This time last year, I was staring down my gorgeous boy’s impending death. It was horrible and painful, even though it was right – the right time, the right circumstance, the right teams in place. His death was awful, and it wasn’t “wrong.”

Man, I miss that boy.

This time last year, we were getting out into the woods as much as possible. He was so entirely happy out there, even if he was too wobbly to play the way he used to. His impaired, or reduced, physical capacity very rarely seemed to bother him.

This time last year, he wore a purple vest at all times, his weight having dropped so much, he was always shivering. This time last year, there was a morning full of snow – I remember being so glad it had come. It gave him one last time with yet one more of his very favorite things.

This time last year, this time last year… how often we do that. Orient ourselves, out hearts, in time reflected backwards.

With the western calendar year soon coming to a close, we’re doing even more of that “this time last year” stuff. In grief, that can be an even harder burden to bear: especially if “this time last year,” the one you love was still alive. Or you’re tracing the last days of their lives.

If you find yourself doing that countdown, please know that you are normal and healthy and sane – it just feels like crap. It hurts. It hurts to live back there, to countdown all the things that happened. It hurts anytime of year, but this season of cultural reflection and year-coming-to-an-end can make it all feel bigger and harder.

I don’t really have any big message about it. Just: yeah. “This time last year” can be hard. And, if you’re like me, it’s also twinned with remembering some beautiful things, some gorgeous remnants of the love that was, even when the end was drawing near.

I miss my boy. This time last year, I was staring down his death. We made it, he and I. We slid into that home base of his death day with all the love and goofiness that had marked our years together. But this time, this year, I remember into that heartbreak of everyday, counting down, knowing what was to come. I’m so relieved that part is done.

If you’re in a “this time last year” place, I hope there are moments of equal time share – the hard parts of looking back, and the patches of love that exist, side by side, with any of those harder memories. No matter what anyone says (or how they try to comfort you!) the beauty of the love you shared does not negate the pain of their death. That the one you love is gone does not remove the beauty of your time together. Both things – love, and the loss attached to it – are true. They both get to have equal space.

That’s all I’ve got this week, loves. Take good care of your hearts.



grief support that doesn't suckHow about you? How’s your “this time last year…” going? Let us know in the comments. I love to hear from you.