The First Year

Less than a month after Alan (my husband) died my little sister gave birth to her daughter.  She already had two sons whom I adore.  My whole family lives at least 500 miles away so it was a little while before I got to meet my new niece.  And then I cried because she was supposed to be "our" new niece. 
Throughout the first year of my grieving I made that 500 mile trip to visit family at least every two months.  It was a very necessary part of my healing process.  The only little kids in our family right now are my little sister's kids, the others have all grown up.   I was amazed at how healing it was to go to their house.    Often my sister or her hubby would just hand me the baby to snuggle and OMG what peace filled my heart.  I just hadn't thought about how utterly soothing it is just to snuggle a little baby.   It is just such a peaceful experience.  Of course it was also healthy to hug on my  nephews as well, ages 4 and 6.   As a matter of fact, one night at dinner the four year old said to me, "Aunt D, when I grow up, will you marry me?"    It does not get any more precious than that! 
Also in that first year my family called me on the phone regularly--not something they normally did.  Even my brother, who pretty much never called or wrote, phone me regularly.  My whole family really stepped up to the plate and supported me and surrounded me with love even though they were far away!  Even though none of them could really understand my grief, having never lost a spouse to death, my brother had lost his 17 year old son 15 years earlier, and he had also had four divorces, so he was no stranger to pain and grief.  And of course all of us had lost that nephew/grandson/cousin, and it hurt all of our hearts profoundly.
My local friends and in-laws were very supportive as well.   
I belong to another widow/widowers group on Facebook and cannot believe some of those peoples' stories of how their loved ones did not support them and kept expecting them to "get over it" after just a couple of months.  Perhaps it is because I live in such a small town, or perhaps I was just more fortunate in my experiences, but I greatly appreciate oll the love and support I have been given!
Everyone's grief has a different timetable, for for anyone to expect a preson to "get over it" in just a few months seems ludicrous.   I mean I was stunned when a lady who lost her husband unexpectedly three months after I lost mine, got remarried this July.  Not trying to judge her, I was just surprised that anyone could heal that quickly.  I can't even find a decent date!  LOL