3 years past "the day". 3 years of marking a day that will never leave my heart or my mind. 3 years of grief, recovery, and redemption. 3 years since I last saw Isaac's face on earth.
Now that I've become a runner, I think that I have the perfect analogy for these years. For me, these 3 years since Isaac died have been like the first 3 miles in a long run. They're the toughest miles to get through, but once you get through them - you know you can keep going.
Like that first mile, the first year after Isaac died was a test of my own strength. I started out much like I start out a new run - with a strange sort of energy. In the first few months after Isaac died, there were constant check ins by friends, texts, messages, cards, gifts, etc. Like the first half mile of a run, I felt mildly "prepared" for the first few months after Isaac died. It wasn't until about 6 months after that it really all hit me. And that's how it is with a run. About 1/2 mile into it, it's as if my legs realize what is happening and start to object. This happened in my mind. 6 months in, though I knew I was strong enough to keep going, I also fought with just not wanting to.
Year 2 was tough. Year 2 is the year of "so this is my life now". And mile 2 is the mile of "ok I guess we really ARE running today". I spend most of mile 2 in a run talking myself into just putting one foot in front of the other. That's how year 2 went - just keep going. Keep stepping.
The third year is like that 3rd mile. Somewhere along the way between the time when RunKeeper announces "Distance: 2.00 miles" and "Distance: 3.00 miles", my legs get into a rhythm. Somewhere in there I find my cadence and I realize that not only "can" I keep running, but I actually WANT to keep running.
That's what year 3 was like. I feel like I really, truly turned the corner of grief. Of course there are still days when I cry or I miss him. There hasn't been a day that I haven't thought of him. But now, at the start of year 4, I know I can keep going. I know Isaac would be proud of how strong I've become, both physically and mentally. I know I can keep running.