One Year Later, I No Longer Need You

Florent Chretien
Florent Chretien

It’s been 365 days since we laid you to rest, and somehow the world has kept turning.

I walk through my days with a slightly heavier heart, but also a bolder one. Your vivaciousness and zest for life had to go somewhere; I think it dispersed among us all. This year I’ve been a little braver and a little more sure-footed. I’ve tried to compensate for your absence by being more present.

One year later, I’m celebrating a new life on its way into the world. My best friend – you remember her – has discovered she is expecting a child in this year since. Back then I was thumbing through tributes and your remembrance program; the anniversary finds me scrolling through sonogram texts and rifling through ‘Congratulations’ cards, blue and pink. I remember growing up with you, laughing as you threw me into the air, and hope to bring that much joy to this little one’s life.

One year later, I sit at a candle-lit table, celebrating Valentine’s Day, with a different date than before. My holiday last year was spent surrounded by floral wreaths and sympathy petals; this time I’m surrounded by roses and blossoming feelings. I smile as I watch him raise his eyebrows, excitedly telling me a story, squeezing my hand as he does, and think how much you would like him. I feel myself falling for him, this boy I’ve found in the year since.

One year later, I’ve seen so much more of the world. Ever the reserved and rational thinker, I channeled your sense of adventure and set out with just a pack on my back. I rode planes, trains, and automobiles, remembering the railroad tracks we would walk together, climbing up on the cars and putting pennies on the rails. This time last year I set out on a trip to remember a life well-lived; in the year since, I’ve set out to live my own with fervor.

One year later, I’ve lost and I’ve gained. Last year’s spring brought change, indeed, with the end of so many things. I lost you, I lost him. But, as always, with the changing of the seasons comes the arrival of new finds, new feelings. The old are not lost, but rather they prepare you, mold you, ready you for the new. Losing love leads to capacities realized. The emptiness of this year since has been filled with new spirit, and I am ready with open arms, like you always were.

One year later, I think of you often. One more trip around the sun since we last said goodnight. I smile and cry, reliving the emotions of that day. I consider what I would tell you about this year since, how delighted you would be. Your life, grandly lived to the brim, has inspired my own. Your end was just my beginning.

One year later, I’ve become so much more alive. TC mark

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