When my partner in life died, the world as I knew it died. I was all alone. Heart broken. Devastated. And knew I would be that way for the foreseeable future. After a year or so, others encouraged me to date. But the thought of dating waa almost sickening. I couldn’t imagine anyone else holding me. Kissing me. Loving me. When my late husband died, I swore I would NEVER date. Never fall in love again. And certainly never marry. Well, guess what? Much to my surprise, I ended up doing all three.
When Jared, my late husband, died I vowed to mourn him for two years. Why two years? I have no idea. But that was my plan. With four months left before year three, I realized I truly wanted to live. Not just survive. But live. I realized I would always grieve Jared’s death. Always miss him. Always wish he was here. But I could no longer live for him. I had to start living for me. Find my passion. Create my own legacy instead of focusing only on his. I decided year three would be the year of me.
Yet, I still could not imagine someone new in my life. I envisioned a life with my son. My friends. My family. But never did I think there would be a new man in my life. I didn’t need that. I didn’t want that. I wanted to be my own person. Live my own life. Do things my way.
And then in year three everything changed.
I met a man sitting in a lounge on a cruise ship. And suddenly all those negative thoughts about dating vanished. I understood how my widowed friends could talk about dating and finding new love. I could envision another man in my life. For the first time since Jared died, the thought of someone new did not make me feel sick.
I realized that my grief had changed over three years. In the beginning, the grief was all consuming. Overpowering. So much so that some days I could barely function. But in time, my grief had become a part of me. It wasn’t easier, I just had the tools to handle it better. Most days were good days. I laughed again. Was happy again. Looked forward to my future. But the dull ache of loss, never completely went away. And never will.
But that doesn’t mean my life can’t be good again. I will always love Jared. Always. But that doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t have room to love another. Opening myself to new love with Jon took courage, strength, and a lot of faith. And Jared would be so proud that I kept my promise to live and love.
Five years ago I could never have imagined my life the way it is now. Would never have believed that the grief would become manageable. That I would smile at the memories instead of cry. That I would be living, enjoying life. Or that I would love another man. One that makes me feel safe. Loved. Desired. One who is my calm in the storm.
Grief changes over time. Or at least mine did. And for that I’m grateful. I can’t imagine living through those dark, lonely days for the rest of my life. And I learned never say never. Anything is possible. Even love after loss. And there can be a happily even after. ❤️