Lessons From 9 Years LaterOct 22, 2021
I recently marked 9 years since my husband’s passing, and then 2 days later, our 20th wedding anniversary. I almost wrote “what would have been our 20th wedding anniversary,” but it still marks 20 years since we said our vows. It will always be our day. The day that two became one. It’s still our day and always will be.
We said, “’til death do us part,” and, like my husband, I meant my own death. We said we’d be married for life, but what we really meant was forever and after.
And in many ways, that’s exactly what we are doing: forever and after. Although only one of us happens to be on this side of eternity at the moment, we’re still us. We’re forever connected. My husband still has 100% of my heart that was always his.
And yet, there is more.
What nine years of life after loss has taught me boils down to the word “and.”
Now my brain naturally prefers the word “or.” Human brains are designed to quickly categorize things into two categories: right or wrong, safety or danger, black or white.
But what the past nine years have taught me is that almost nothing falls into just two categories. There are almost always many shades of gray in between. Life isn’t neat or categorical or even sequential.
It’s more of a blurry and sometimes surreal overlap of many shades of gray. It’s a whiplash of emotions – joy and sorrow – happening simultaneously.
It’s disorienting at times, in the most painful and beautiful ways.
While I was in the depths, I secretly wished that someone would walk into my life and save me. But what actually happened was so much better: I figured out how to save myself.
I found the strength to pick myself up every time I fell. I learned to do things myself, to trust in myself again, to make decisions and then have my own back. I learned to fight to survive and then later, I figured out how to thrive in brand new ways.
While I was busy learning how to save myself, someone did walk into my life. He became a friend who stood by my side while I learned, failed, grew, worried, and wondered if I could do it all. He knew he couldn’t “fix” me, so he patiently kept me company while I healed myself. It was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.
And long before I felt ready, my heart was undergoing an expansion, dragging me into the world of “and’s.”
My late husband has 100% of the part of my heart that is his, AND, my heart also gained capacity for love.
I love my late husband with each breath AND when my new love proposed, I said yes.
I’m not where I am today because I have found someone. I am where I am today because I saved myself, AND I also found someone.
I sometimes catch myself talking about my husband and fiancé in the same sentence, and when it is met with confused looks, I just laugh. It seems normal to me to have a husband in heaven and a fiancé on earth.
It’s a great example of my blurry, painful and beautiful life of “and’s.”
If you’re figuring out how to save yourself, honor your past and create a beautiful future, I’d love to help. I’ve created the program I needed most when I couldn’t see the light. It’s called Life Reconstructed. If you’re interesting in taking bigger strides forward and having a guide and a community of like-minded people to cheer you on, simply apply here and we’ll see if it’s a fit.
Learn more about Life Reconstructed.
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