The days were sunny and it lifted my grief just a little. Everywhere I took our children was somewhere they had never been with me and never would be with him in their lifetime.

Instead I sat home and cried on the basement floor.

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So this is my list of my own 38 firsts that I have experienced in the past two years as a widow. I couldn’t bear to go to my parents and his parents house all in one day. It felt so dreadful to be turning the page into a new year.

38 things that I had to do on my own or for the very first time. Our son turned 2-years-old just weeks after my husband died. I turned 36-years old without the man that I met when I was 23. I didn’t have the energy and I was so deep into my grief and so depressed and no one, no one understood…….I ran away. I’m not even sure how I made it through this one and even got all the presents wrapped and under the tree in time for Christmas morning for our children.

My friend was a movie buff, belonging to several film societies. He'd stop by my house some evenings "to avoid rush hour." A few months after George's death, things between us became physical.

My brain was still deep in mourning, but other parts of me were in overdrive, reminding me that I was still alive, healthy and up for fun.

I hope they make you think of your own firsts after loss or help you to realize all of the small moments that go unnoticed by others and are hard and terrifying to go through for a widow. The night after he died was the first time that I wailed and cried and screamed and he wasn’t there to comfort me. This was the first of our children’s birthdays that I would celebrate without him. I took our kids out of town and we experienced our first holiday and our first vacation without him. I was determined to still create some magic for them.

Some of my firsts are sad and some of them are exciting and new. The first time I had to sit our children down with big, devastating, and sad news without their Dad there for support. For weeks, for months after he died I wanted only him to call to comfort me…..sometimes I would text his phone hoping for an answer from the beyond…he wasn’t there. The first morning I woke up that my husband no longer resided on this earth. Just like the days when she was a little girl at Colvill swimming pool eating her favorite ice cream, listening to the song “Heaven” by Bryan Adams blaring on the pool speakers, and dreaming of her future. All my hard work of writing through my pain and grief is getting out there into the world and it’s what keeps me going other than my awesome kids. Our kids have new tears every day, new triumphs, new milestones. The silent ones that no one notices and the big ones that make us hold our breath. A regular girl who turns 38 in a couple of weeks and is going to celebrate with a big cake….frosting…with mint chocolate chip ice cream on the side.When I told one of my girlfriends about my new sex life, she said, "Good for you for getting back on the horse!" Another friend said something I took to heart: that as women, we can claim our pleasure without shame, that our sexuality is a gift to be proud of. I only hoped that wherever he was now……he knew this and was proud of me. It felt happy and joyful just as a child’s birthday should. The roof of my house got damaged by a big hail storm and it was the first time I had to call and make arrangements with insurance, roofers, etc. It was a first that made me proud of myself and how much I can handle alone. I took our kids and 2 dogs camping for the first time. One of the many, many first she will experience in her life without her Dad. I took my first classes since before we had children. Nik Tebbe is a woman who has risen from the ashes of heartbreak and tragedy with grace, love, empathy, deep compassion, and authenticity.