January 25th, it was just a very normal day for most of you. But that was the date I wish I could just take it out off my Calendar. Or I wish I could skip it somehow. One year ago that day, my husband, my true soulmate passed away. I was surprised that I made it through this first year after he was gone. I was highly doubted that I could live without him.

Life After Loss || Making Through The First Year

When I was young, the only family vacation we took were hiking and climbing mountains in my hometown. I used to hate it because that mountain has 999 stairs and many places we had to twist our bodies like a spider-man to get through it!!!It took pretty much the whole day to get to the top and I was just so tired and grumpy. Then I remember one day, I didn’t keep looking up to see how far we still had to climb, I was just only looking at the next three steps ahead of me, and chatted with my family to kill time. Then, suddenly I was on the top!!

I didn’t even realize I used the same strategy to deal with this life crisis last year until now I look back.

Life After Loss || Making Through The First Year

January 28 last year was Chinese New Year. We always celebrate it on the eve with family feast. That was one of my man’s favorite holidays. Two nights after he was gone. My goal was just making sure we still have this dinner and I would not cry in front of kids. If I did, I know this family dinner will turn into a funeral. That was not what he wanted.

March 11, my birthday. My man proposed on my birthday many years ago and he also gave me a very big 40 years old surprise birthday party. I couldn’t imagine how I could spend my birthday without him. But I had a very nice birthday because my step-daughter and her fiancé gave me a very nice surprise day with several fun activities. You can read Life After Loss – The First Birthday Without My Husband to see what we did.

Life After Loss || Marking Through The First Year

April 19, 10 years ago I came to America to marry him. We always go to a Mexican restaurant to celebrate. Now without him that day just didn’t feel right. I was crying that morning but it turned out to be an amazing day. Because I went to work with Stacy London who was used to be the co-host from What Not to Wear show. After that, I had a nice dinner with my new blogger friend at our go to Mexican restaurant. You can read my roller coaster day Life After Loss – Ten Years in America.

May 28, my man’s birthday. I was planning to give him a big surprise party too but I didn’t get the chance. Somehow that day was more difficult than my own birthday. Our whole family went to a camping trip to honer him and we conquered another difficult day together. You can read Life After Loss – My Husband’s First Birthday After He Passed Away to see what have helped me to turn the sadness to happiness.

Life After Loss || Marking Through The First Year

June 18, we met many years ago on that day in Shanghai and we also chose the same day to get married 10 years ago. This was probably the most difficult day of last year. You can read Life After Loss 10 Year Wedding Anniversary Without Him to see. But the first wedding anniversary without him, actually became a very meaningful and fulfilling day. We hosted his life party a day after via his request. He didn’t want a funeral, he wanted a party. I had to say, it was a great party with almost 100 guests who shared the great memories about my man. You can read Life After Loss My Speech for my Husband’s Memorial Party and Life After Loss Surviving the First Wedding Anniversary for more details.

Then July 25 and August 25, I was struggling with the 25th of each month. When it hit September 25, which was 8 months after my man had passed away. I finally decided to take off my rings. You can read Life After Loss Hiding Behind the Rings No More for more details. By the way, I am turning all our rings to a special piece for me. You have to come back to check it out next month.

Life After Loss || Marking Through The First Year

November 23, first Thanksgiving without my man. I was very struggled with those big family holidays. Normally we always go to my brother-in-laws house. But now just by myself, somehow it was just too hard to not cry or not being sad there. About a week before Thanksgiving, I was sent to LA to shoot a campaign for Charming Charlies. You can read #Charmbassador—The Face of Charming Charlie’s Winter Campaign for more details. Anyway, I spent the holiday with my two sister-in-laws who also live in LA to create some new memories. You can read Life After Loss The first Thanksgiving Without My Late Husband .

December 20th, It was officially my last day of being a teacher. I quit my teaching job and started to full time blogging. You can read LIFE AFTER LOSS—FULL TIME BLOGGING for more details. It was quite scary and very emotional to finally decide to pull the plug. 24th, we had our regular Christmas Eve family dinner. I was totally fine. But after kids left on Christmas Day, I was a hot mess. Yes, 25th of the month again! I cried for hours. This time, there were nothing happened to distract me and I tasted the real depression.

Life After Loss || Marking Through The First Year

January 7, we started to go through my husband’s clothes and all his stuff. It was super difficult a few weeks for everybody. But I am very glad that I pushed through again. I finally decided to remove all his physical reminders to my heart and fully live my life in this new year. Then 25th was approaching. I also set my goal to revisit the memories of the last few days of his life. It was not pretty. You can read the letter I wrote to him LIFE AFTER LOSS || A LETTER TO MY LATE HUSBAND ON THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY. This post took me quite a long time to finish because it was very painful to open the doors of those memories. After many times crying, I finally finished it. Then it was 25th, this time it was the real one, the milestone one. I knew I would need some help and company on that day. I was very lucky to be accompanied by a very dear friend. That day I just wanted to take easy and be as normal as I can. So she took me to get some new makeups and we had very yummy Chinese food for dinner.

Now it has been more than a year and I am more experienced about how to prepare myself through those difficult dates. I have been very lucky to have so many amazing family and friends who supported me along this journey. I couldn’t be here today if without all the help.

Life After Loss || Marking Through The First Year

2018, I am full speed moving forward to chase my dream and live my life as I mean it!

Life After Loss || Marking Through The First Year

You can read all the Life After Loss series here and Living with Cancer series here.

Photo credit: Grace Liang

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  1. Oh Grace, another heartfelt moving post! Those anniversary dates are always so hard. January 22 is the day my father passed away…23 years ago. There were many years when this date really hit me hard and then other years it came and went without my barely noticing it. When my husband and I decided to get married, I chose January 23 as our wedding date so that I could start feeling joy instead of grief in January. And it really has helped me! Except this year, on January 22, it hit me really hard again that I have not have had my father in my life for 23 years. As always, my thoughts are with you, my friend.


  2. Maureen

    I am so sorry for your loss.
    So young for you to be going through.
    But it is hard at any age.
    I recently lost my father (Oct 2017). So each event without him is a date to remember.
    Your husband left you with a great treasure of memories.

  3. What a tough year it’s been for you. Your strength has encouraged me to be brave in my own life and struggles, although it by no means compares to the loss you’ve suffered. I hope 2018 is amazing for you. I know he wanted that for you!

  4. Jay

    I really think it is time to move on……at this point your grief and loss should be personal and not shared. Many of us have and still are involved with personal loss, but life goes on, and we have to move on……we can’t change what has happened, no matter how we want to……..this is where our faith helps a lot, as does being involved in giving back, and volunteering. Take the opportunity……it will help, and you’ll enjoy it.

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