The saying, “Mind over matter” is common, and in some ways probably over-used. You hear it in business, especially in sales, almost too much. You hear it from personal trainers at they gym when you’re just starting to work out and set your weight loss goals. You hear it whenever there’s something tough to face or get through. It really is an often used phrase. But I’ve found in this journey of widowhood, it’s especially apropos.
The first year after a major loss is mostly about just getting through, sometimes breath by breath. The second year can be just as difficult, as it becomes a realization that time is moving on and he hasn’t been there for any of it for more than a year. It’s the year that it all becomes permanent. He’s not coming back. The third year seems to be the year where you’re faced with choosing your mindset. Will you stay “stuck” or will you choose to move on?
Choosing to keep going and maybe even to make some lifestyle changes does not mean forgetting your loved one. I have no doubt that my husband would be proud of me for the changes I’ve made in the last year. I’m different in so many ways, post-loss. And yet, in many ways, I find myself returning to parts of myself that got lost in the mix through the years. Suddenly, I’m back in education. I’m back to the music I played thirty years ago that made me ever start playing in the first place. I’m discovering parts of myself that I thought were lost. That’s not to say I lost myself in my marriage, in fact, that’s a part of myself I miss, too. The part that belongs to someone.
I’ve also discovered new parts of myself. I’ve found my voice. I’m no longer afraid to say what I think, to go into new situations, or even to introduce myself to someone I’d like to know. From the beginning of this journey, I’ve heard his voice in my head saying, “Man up!” (Yeah, I know….. but hey, he’s a guy.) I know I’m discovering sides of myself that he always knew were there and encouraged in me. Because of this, sometimes I feel even closer to him, knowing that I’m becoming what he already knew I could be. Most of all, I know I’m able to make these changes thanks to what he gave me and what he taught me.
Does this mean that the rough days are over? Not at all. But it does mean that every day I decide how I’m going to face the day. Sometimes I still choose to let myself have a “wallow in it day”, but most of the time, I choose to have a day where maybe I can make a difference for someone else; a day where I can find the good and try to have an attitude of gratitude. Every morning, when I say my prayers, I pray that my words, thoughts, and deeds be for good. It really is a choice each day. Your mindset is important.