It’s already been a year since we lost her. There are days when it feels like she has been gone longer than a year and days when it feels like there’s no way she has been gone for that long. Then again, time has felt incredibly warped this past year due to the pandemic. 

It’s hard to believe that she has been gone for this long. The past couple of weeks have been incredibly hard because I keep thinking about what was going on at this time last year. 

Unless you have gone through it, you will never understand what it was like to lose someone during a pandemic with restrictions in place. I had to say bye to her through a window. We could only have her graveside burial. I’m home this week for her funeral service. 

It feels like I’m grieving her death all over again and that it just happened. I will always be grieving in some way and something will always remind me of her, but with her funeral coming up it’s a different type of grief.

When she was in assisted living, I would write her a card every couple of weeks and send photos with what I was doing. She hung all the photos up on her wall.  

Whenever I’m having a hard day or something happened that reminded me of her, I write her a card and put it in a card box that Nicole sent me. She knew how important it would be to me to continue writing those cards and she wanted me to have a special place to put them. 

There are times that I really just need to talk to her because it’s been a grief-filled day. Writing those cards really help. It’s been even more helpful since I found out the day of her funeral service because there have been a lot of grief-filled days since then. 

Last year for Easter, I sent her a frog stuffed animal with a bow on it. Mr. Frogs sits on my bed and always brings me comfort when it’s been a tough day or I just really miss her. She might have only had it for two months, but it’s something of hers that I have. 

Since I graduated college until the day she passed, my Ithaca College stole hung in her room at assisted living. She couldn’t come to my graduation and I hung it in her room while she was getting her hair done. 

While Mr. Frogs stays on my bed or couch, my stole, card box and a shadow box that has her handwriting on it sit on a shelf in my living room. There is a photo of me saying bye to her along with a ton of family and friend photos above that shelf. 

One day in December was particularly hard and that was when I was making Christmas cookies. It’s her recipe and the only one we have ever used to make Christmas cookies. I’ve made the dough myself the past few years I have been in New Mexico, but it’s different making the dough when you know she is gone. 

If mom or I were having issues making the dough, mom could just go ask her and our problems would be solved. Same thing with the frosting, but I always taste tested it until I knew I had it correct. 

For Christmas, mom sent me a cookie jar with grandma’s recipe etched onto it. It may never be filled with cookies though so I can make sure it stays in perfect condition.