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Single Parenting, RHONJ Fallout & Downward Dogs: Inside Teresa Giudice's First Year Without Joe

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It’s been a tough year for Teresa Giudice and her four daughters, but she’s making it work.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star has spent nearly the last 10 months without her husband Joe since he started his 41-month prison sentence last March. The change has left Teresa to raise her girls — Gia, 15, Gabriella, 12, Milania, 11, and Audriana, 7 — as a single mom.

Teresa’s entire journey, from finishing her own 11-month prison sentence for fraud last December to adjusting to life apart from Joe, was documented on RHONJ. And in one early episode of 7, she Teresa broke down at the thought of saying goodbye to Joe again before his own prison term.

“I know Joe my whole life,” she confessed at the time. “His dad was at the hospital when I was born. We grew up together. We used to play house when we were little together. He was at my sweet 16. We were dancing at my sweet 16. In 16 years, I’ve never been away from [him]. Now I’m going to see what [he] went through — it’s going to be harder.”

She added, “I’m just going to pray and God willing everything will be all good.”

In September, Teresa told PEOPLE that, while it’s emotionally difficult to be apart from Joe, her children are managing to carry on.

“They’re doing good,” she said of her daughters. “I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but a little easier because they went through it with me so they know what to expect. But they miss him tremendously, they always say we miss dad. They miss him. You can feel his absence, our family’s definitely incomplete without him.”

RELATED VIDEO: Teresa Giudice Says Husband Joe Has Lost 35 Lbs. in Prison by Doing ‘1,000 Sit-Ups a Day’

 

The reality star also revealed that thanks to her girls, she’s able to face each and every day without as much loneliness.

“What keeps me busy is my girls. I swear, that’s what makes the days go by. If I didn’t have them, I’d probably go crazy,” she admitted. “Then I would really think about him 24/7 and it wouldn’t be easy. That’s what he said, too: ‘That’s what got me through the day was the girls. They kept me busy.’ And that’s how I am, I’m going through the motions of each day. I just can’t wait for each day to pass by for him to come home.”

One good thing that came in 2016 for Teresa was repairing her broken relationship with her brother Joe Gorga and his wife Melissa.

Famiglia @joeygorga & @melissagorga

A post shared by TERESA GIUDICE (@teresagiudice) on

The pair stopped by PEOPLE Now over the summer and dished on how they fixed their rocky relationship.

“We’d always be on different wavelengths,” Gorga said at the time about the pair’s previous ups and downs. “It takes two, and I think we were both at the same point at the same time. We both looked at each other and said, ‘That’s it.’ ”

But as one relationship was mended, another became seemingly irreparably fractured. On the season finale of RHONJ, Teresa made it clear that former best friend Jacqueline Laurita is “dead” to her.

“She’s done — she’s dead to me,” the 44-year-old told her fellow cast of ladies. “I wanted to give her the kiss of death today but I can’t even f—ing look at her. She makes me sick — she makes me want to vomit. She’s a disgrace. She’s a conniving, twisted, f—ing bitch.”

“She goes around hurting other people. It’s really sad,” Teresa went on to add. “Maybe that’s why she’s a miserable woman who doesn’t leave her house. She’s a f—ing cuckoo bird! She’s got issues.”

During the reunion special, Teresa accused Laurita of calling the government on her and Joe.

“You set me up,” she told her fellow Housewife. “In my gut it was you, or you and Caroline [Manzo]. You guys were behind everything — calling the government … you were in cahoots. You are gross, and that’s why you set me up.”

But if there’s one thing that has calmed Teresa down since Joe’s departure, it’s yoga.

The reality star is staying committed to her yoga practice which she began while serving her prison sentence, and credits the meditation exercise with helping her through challenging times.

“I love yoga,” she previously told PEOPLE. “It really changed my life. It really got me through this whole ordeal [of being in prison]. I can’t live without it now. Even if I just do a down dog for a little bit, it makes me feel good.”