I have been listening to this song a lot lately.

It was playing at the restaurant where we had brunch on the first Mother’s Day after Anja died. My friends Andrea and Pete played it at their son Toren’s memorial. Sometime just before Christmas, I started listening to it over and over, singing it to M. Singing it to Anja.

I am finding the third year of this grief to be hard in a new way. I am no longer in the acute, paralyzing stage of grief that characterized the first several months. And I am no longer in the stage of suspension, of unbearable waiting and worrying, that I was in while I was pregnant with M. And I am no longer in the stage of euphoric relief and wonder that I was in after he was born. Life is returning to ‘normal.’ To so many people with whom I regularly interact – and maybe to all of them? – I seem to be just fine. My friends and family have stopped asking me how I am in that particular way. I have new friends who never saw me as I was two years ago, who cannot grasp the impact Anja had on our lives. I find it hard to speak my pain, to share how I really feel. I don’t know how to crack myself open in front of people anymore because they no longer expect it from me.

The third year seems to be about getting used to the reality of life without her. And to doing so mostly alone. The third year feels lonely, so far. The third year feels sad in a whole new way: resigned, solitary, wistful. Still bewildered, though; always that.