Today is July 23, 2012. Tomorrow I will turn 35 years old. This will be the last significant occasion of my year of “firsts without Paul,” because less than one week later will be the first anniversary of his passing.

Paul was my best friend, soul mate and love of my life. When we married just under eight years ago I thought we would grow old together. The last year has been so hard,  it has forced me to live a series of emotions and feelings that I had never encountered before like loneliness, anxiety and depression. I have forced myself to get used to the idea of living alone managing a household of one and facing the fact that I am a widow.

As I sit alone in a park in Vienna, Austria this morning drinking coffee and watching ducks swim in a pond, I feel calm. A feeling that 51 weeks ago I never thought I would feel that way again. I plan to spend the day here reading my book in the sunshine. Thinking of Paul and how much I continue to miss him, every single day – especially today as I approach my birthday. I will think about how many occasions we celebrated together and that will warm the empty space in my heart.

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