In one week I’m getting remarried. I’ve written quite a bit about this adventure of trusting again and daring to date again after loss. I’ve also heard the words, “Now you won’t be a widow anymore!” Uh…nope! Once a widow, always a widow. But here’s the thing: there can be life after widowhood. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your late spouse, or that the love shared in that relationship wasn’t “enough”. It doesn’t have to mean anything at all. For me, it means that I can take the love we shared, the person I became because of our love, the lessons learned, and love again.
Loss leaves you with a choice: what to do with the time you have left. What attitude will you have? What will be your perspective on life and death? For me, I decided early on to have an attitude of gratitude. As I mentioned early on, a friend of mine, who had also been widowed at a young age, gave me a journal during that first month. The journal had a spot for writing the good things that happened that day. Writing in that journal daily put me in the practice of looking for the blessings in each day. That practice lasted long after the journal was filled and packed away. An attitude of gratitude helped me to change the way I look at things. It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity of each day, or the trials that can come along, but it’s also easy to find the good when we look for it.
If you write down those blessings and take time to look back through them sometimes, it’s easy to see how things have worked out. For me, I prefer to see it as the hand of God in my life. Looking back, it’s easy to see the lessons learned, the fears overcome, the support provided at much needed times, and most importantly, how this whole experience has formed me into the person I am now.
It’s easy to slug through each day, just trying to survive. Writing things down and looking back at them provides us the gift of hindsight and the ability to see what we’ve not only survived but how what we needed was provided for us, maybe not exactly when we thought we needed it, or how we wanted it, but provided all the same.
He and I were talking last night about details of the nuptial Mass, and it was then that the ugly grief monster reared it’s head in an unexpected way. I’ll be speaking words I never thought I’d say again, hearing prayers I never thought I’d hear again, and exchanging rings again. Do I feel guilty? No. I just feel sad that forever with my late husband ended way too soon, and pray that this forever lasts decades longer, which is a gamble at our current ages.
Next Friday will be bittersweet. We’ve traveled a long, winding road full of obstacles to get here. Our families and dear friends will be present for the happy occasion, and I’m sure, somewhere, he’ll be smiling down on us and giving his blessing, too.