For most people, the new year starts in January.

For me, it has started now. My “new year” started when I passed the first anniversary of my husband’s death. I feel as though I’m starting over, but it’s not the same as getting a “fresh start”.

I feel like I’m a sophomore. Like I’m in the midst of this, and I’ve got a lot of work to do to prepare for my next few years as a widow. I don’t think there’s a graduation, but maybe just a degree in knowing how to live in this new reality.

Most things haven’t changed. I still miss Jon more than ever. And that pain is still acute. I don’t feel as though I am comfortable with “moving on”, but subconsciously, I hate the idea of being alone. This causes incredible personal battles that I deal with all the time. I can’t foresee a happy future alone, but I don’t want anyone but Jon. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s the same all the time. I’m caught between the inevitable and what I want to hold on to. I don’t want to let Jon become a part of my past when he’s so much a part of my present. I still refer to him in everything I do, and I still think about him about most of the day.

But I have come through something. I think it’s the first part of healing. I’ve come to accept that I am a widow. It’s part of my identity. I don’t like it, and I wish things were different, but it is reality. This is something I really struggled with. When I would get a glimpse of this reality, it would trip me out and I would crumble from the sharpness of it.

I still have a hard time believing Jon is “gone.” But I know that in the most Earthly and human sense of the word, he is.

It hurts so much to admit that. To say to myself, Jon will not experience this with me, or Jon has nothing to do with this new thing. I feel like the more I do without him, the more I am leaving him behind. I don’t want to disclude his input or ideal from my life. I want to live it the way he would approve of. I have no idea if this is healthy or not. But I am not fighting it.

The next twelve months will probably be harder than the last. The shock and fog of everything is gone. I’m not living in this strange awareness where I somehow function but on a very distracted level. Instead I am completely aware of how broken I am, and how much I need to heal. I have a long way to go. And I know I’ll experience a few setbacks.

I’m worried about the warnings I’ve gotten from a few widowed friends. Some of their social group have chosen to dismiss them, because they’re not over their grieving. (As if anyone could be) They tell me to expect this. Most people don’t want to deal with it after a year. Who can blame them? If I could simply feel better about everything at exactly one year, I’d probably go for it.

But it’s not realistic, despite what people want to believe. And I know that certain people, either in my family or outside of it, will hit their limit of support. And I know from experience that some of my friends will be so frustrated at my pace that they’ll edge me out. While this scares me, I think I can handle it. I don’t have the energy to fight that battle too.

I have to take it all in stride and keep going. I know I have a purpose. I know I have things to do, that will probably come to define me in the months and years to come. Hopefully, there will be a new season for happiness and friendships. And a new season to look forward to good days.

Until then, my “resolutions” include working through the things I don’t want to accept, and learning to be OK with who I am now.

I’m at the point where I just want to toss my coins in the air, and let them land. I’m grateful for the people who care without prejudice. That’s all I really need anyway.