All the Firsts I Didn't Think About Until Now

2011 hasn't lived up to my hopeful expectations yet. 2010 was rough and so at the New Year, I began hoping and banking on the fact that 2011 had to be better. It's had some serious highs, but the lows are the worst I've ever experienced. For those of you who hadn't heard, my husband passed away on June 11. And with that comes a whole list of complicated emotions and experiences swirling around me on an every-minute basis. Writing has always been something that has pushed me forward and gotten me through tough times. Whether it be public or private journaling, it has always been a constant source of comfort for me. But writing has not been easy. This is the first time I have written anything about the situation. Sure, I've written to-do lists, filled out forms, sent thank you cards, but I haven't written from that place inside of me (and those of you who are writers know exactly what I'm talking about. At least, I'm hoping you do) that fuels and inspires you.

Lately, I've been noticing a lot of firsts and I'm taking comfort in them. Not just for me, but for others as well, because it once again proves to me that life goes on even when I want to demand that time stand still. Things like when my brother was able to run for the first time. The firsts that allow me to actually SEE and FEEL progress in my life beyond the never ending forms, phone calls and action items that are associated with all of this. They have been mundane (at least in the grand scheme of things, although each has been a small victory in their own right) and they have been basic. But they remain, at their core, immensely important. Each first has been a step forward. Each first has been a glimpse of momentum. Each first has given way to something else and they are all building a foundation for me so that I can continue to put one foot in front of the other.

When I first started thinking about them, I was a bit surprised by the list that ran through my head. Because when you hear about tragedy in other people's lives, I don't think we stop and ponder the firsts they're going to have to experience outside of the "big ones." Things like holidays, family gatherings, anniversaries, etc. The firsts that make up everyday life but take on whole new meanings after an event has changed... well... everything.

The first time I was able to do my own laundry and not feel completely overwhelmed with life.

The first genuine laugh I heard from myself.

The first time I could read a chapter and remember what I read. The first book I finished.

The first time I picked up a craft.

The first time I drove down a familiar street without breaking down.

The first time I could be alone for more than an hour.

The first day back at work.

The first blog post (albeit a work one, but a post nonetheless).

The first time I slept in a bed and not on the couch.

There have also been a lot of firsts that I haven't wanted to deal with. Like the first holiday. But those will come too and I know that. I've been fully warned that no matter how much progress I make, there will be setbacks. And I'm prepared that they will come, but not always prepared for how they feel.

So, here is another first. The first post about it all. Maybe the only one, but who knows? All I'm thinking about is today. And today I am ok. The kids are ok. The baby that will come in October is ok. Today, ok is good enough.