Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure…measure a year?

I’ve measured this year, my first without my mom, in so many ways.

I’ve measured it in teardrops. In my son’s lost teeth. In the roles my daughter has had in musicals that my mom will never see.

I’ve measured it in the number of times I parked somewhere, only not to be able to get out of my car. In excuses why I couldn’t do something because I was too crippled by grief. In all the empty calories in the food I ate, just trying to fill the hole.

When I look at the sum of those parts, it feels like this year was endless. It was certainly the most difficult I’ve ever experienced. It’s a club you never want to join. It becomes crystal clear that when you tell those that have lost a parent, before you have yourself,“Gosh, I can’t imagine;” you really cannot imagine.

But I’ve also measured this year in so many other unexpected ways, as well. In the number of friends who showed me such kindness, despite having to work a little harder to break down my walls. The books, blankets, pots of soup, notes. The hours spent in cozy cafes, drinking tea and talking about sadness and anything but. The tears from laughter, because sometimes in the middle of it all, you just need to be able to feel silly for a few moments. The quiet walks through the Arboretum with my husband, dad and children, watching as each season took her turn with the trees. It’s Autumn’s turn now.

Here I am, on the other side of this year. It’s been 525,600 minutes. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and come to know that I should sit in the arms of gratitude every moment I’m alive. Every moment is my teacher. I think I’ll choose to look forward now, and do what my mom would want me to do.

I’ll count the next year in love.