After the loss of a spouse,you are thrust into an alternate dimension, full of shock and awe. One cannot see a future as he or she becomes fixed in a moment that is overshadowed by the past, recent and long gone.
You will begin to relive the recent events as snapshots of your loved ones in your mind. Often these thoughts run like a video and are tinged with sorrow, melancholy and regret. We long to see the person again, just briefly, as if seeing them once more will bring us relief,as we say the things left unsaid.
Immediately after my husband died, I became almost catatonic,not able to hear or feel my breath, as the shock of the loss permeated my very being.I could only relive the recent past and in my infrequent dreams early on, my husband came to me in his ill state, always bearing silent messages.When I would awaken to a new day,the vicious cycle would begin again, as I relived the past, yearning for one more touch, gaze or scent.
It would be awhile before I would be able to begin to adjust my thoughts, let go of the past and begin to “just be” in the present. Thinking about the past helped to keep me close to my husband, which is what everyone does as they search for answers in the thin, thin air. Although it took me a few years to be fully in the present, eventually I would reach a place where I was no longer chained to my past. It did take a while to get there, but I did.
Now, seven years since my husband passed away, as I begin a new year, I have finally put the past behind as I open my heart to life’s possibilities in the present. I’ve decided to remove pictures that remind me of past times, no more smelling of my husband’s clothes to take in his sweet scent, no more dreams of him as he has wisely disappeared from the videos in my sleepy nocturnal mind. I have decided to live in the now, in the moment.This took a conscious effort and has become a daily practice as I step into my new life bravely.
Most people remain stuck in the past, remembering the special moments with a loved one, not wanting to step away for fear of losing them “again”.When some time has passed, we must consider the here and now, because it is all we have as the past becomes a fading memory.We keep the past alive by our persistent thoughts and actions,but as time moves on,we must give up the mistaken notion that by clinging onto bygone memories we are honoring their memory.Much to the contrary,we are in fact hindering our psychological growth and development as well as our ability to begin anew.
Our lost loved ones are never lost. They are no longer here with us on this earthly plane, but their spirit and their legacy will remain with us for the rest of our days.And during the living of those days we must always remember that life is for the living, but we cannot truly live if we are stuck in the past. We do not know what the future holds,but we have control of the present. In order to change the life we have we must step into the present, and make peace with our losses, our past, our regrets, as we move into our future.
What’s done is done and we cannot move forward if we do not take steps to move ourselves forward.Only we have control of our our own destiny,and in order to fulfill it,we must remember that all the events in our lives, the births,the deaths, the disappointments, the triumphs, the joys, all of this becomes a part of the fabric of each individual’s experience here on earth. How we decide to internalize and use those experiences is very much attached to making peace with our pasts and living in the present.
As for me I have talked the talk and now am walking the walk.My life with my husband is now a sweet memory wrapped in gauze, no longer the constant video playing in my mind’s eye.
Brave in a New World: A Guide to Grieving the Loss of a Spouse available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all other e-booksellers.Also available in New York’s Riverside Church’s gift shop.Go to http://www.braveinanewworld.com,click on the tab and order your copy today.