“Is the second year after your spouse’s death harder than the first year?” my widowed friend asked me over lunch a few weeks ago. I struggled to find words to answer her question. How could I answer her? It took awhile to come up with the right words, but this is basically what I told her. I told her my second year was hard. It was not as hard as the first year, because my second year was built on a foundation of grief and lessons learned during the first year.

The second year has been different than the first and different than what I expected. Somewhere in the back of my head, I had hoped that when October 29, 2013 rolled around, the start of year two, things would be really different. But there were no fairy godmothers around to change my circumstances. My husband was still dead, I still struggled with my new life, but I was plugging along.

As year two progressed, I worked on rebuilding my gutted soul with a vengeance. I found joy in life. I settled into my career of choice and loved it even more. I created some good habits. I got some home improvement projects done. I even started sorting through my husband’s stuff in our basement. I now sleep in the middle of the bed.

As a week from Wednesday will be the beginning of year three, I find I am at the place I had hoped to be at the end of year one. Yes, my husband is still dead, but I am thriving, not struggling. I love my life! Life is awesome! Wahoo! And the best part of it all is I did not need a fairy godmother to do it.