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The Start of the Second Year

They say the second year is harder then the first. I never understood how that could be, but now that I'm here, I understand completely. Much of the numbness and fog have lifted and I'm becoming more aware of reality. This reality is very painful and devastating which makes it harder to deal with in some ways. I can no longer think Carly in College Station, in her apartment, nor attending A&M. The truth that she is not on earth and never will be again is an extremely hard concept to learn to live with. A deep sadness has entered my life that is with me every second of the day. I carry it with me like I am made of heavy rocks. It sucks my energy and leaves me exhausted.

In this state of deep depression it is hard to fake a normal life, but I do as it seems to be expected of me. I act normal and can even smile and laugh when I go out or am with friends. But my attempts to act this way are painful as I am silently screaming with agony inside. It is hard to have everyday conversations, hear about other peoples daughters, and watch life going on for others. My life has been destroyed, and the unfairness of that is very disturbing. As I watch other young adults move forward with their goals and dreams, it seems so unfair that Carly did not get her opportunity to do so. I do not just mourn my life without her, but Carly's life also.

Parents are not supposed to outlive their children, it's unnatural and shatters everything you thought you knew about life. It leaves a gaping hole and emptiness that will never be replaced. Suddenly, life seems meaningless and doesn't make any sense. The structure of the world has collapsed and you do not know who you are anymore. The overwhelming sadness and loneliness are with me constantly. It's hurtful to see other people's celebrations, holidays, and family gatherings where everyone is happy and enjoying life because my life will never be that carefree again. Those events are just reminders that Carly is not with us to experience them or celebrate them with us. A part of me died when Carly did and I now have to learn to live with this devastating disability.

So, how do you learn to live with a disability that no one can see, understand, nor help with? There are also so many layers to the emotions and pain of grief, that it is impossible to describe how I feel. This makes it hard to let friends and family understand what I am going through and how to help. I guess this second year is the start of rebuilding a new life without my precious daughter. It has been and will continue to be lonely and painful, and nothing I want to do, but have no other choice. I am still here and Carly is not, so there is no choosing other then learning to live without her.

As I continue this unwanted journey, there are a few things that those blessed enough to have not experienced the loss of a child should know which may help you understand in some small way. Please know that I am not okay even when I look and act like I am. I will never get over the loss, heal from her death, nor put it behind me and move on. It will be a life long journey to learn to live without her. There is no one, but God that can "fix" the situation. Unfortunately, nothing anyone can say or do will fix it, but there are ways to help make it easier for me. What really helps are friends and family that will sit in the deep, dark hole with me and let me talk, share me feelings and emotions, and express my struggles as I'm working through them. I need to know that Carly will never be forgotten and that people are still thinking and praying for us on this long journey.

My family has been blessed by so many people that love and care for us for which I am very grateful. We are thankful for the support and love shown to our family this past year. Please keep us in your prayers as life goes forward.

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