Should I love again? The question that haunts so many widows and widowers. This edition of the Proper Perspective Pursuit is deeply personal. I will take a risk and be vulnerable, exposing my heart. I don't seek understanding on behalf of myself or others who once were married and now they are not. You can't possibly understand. However, I will let you behind the curtain and bare my soul in this. What I express about myself, can't be applied to every person out there who has been left to walk through life alone after death took their spouse. With that said, I do believe that many of the feelings and emotions I have wrestled with are felt by others as well. So here is my heart and soul.
After Lorie went to Heaven, I began reading books about grief and the process of grieving. One thing that was interesting was that every book had at least a chapter that dealt with the subject at hand - remaining alone, or loving again. The books were sometimes authored by widows themselves. Other books were written from the world of psychology. While others still, were written from a spiritual perspective.
For many, the idea of being alone the rest of their lives is overwhelming, while at the same time, they can't imagine themselves with anyone but their former spouse. Both of these extremes exist in the same space - the heart of a widower. Outside of reading books on the subject, there has been no shortage of personal "advice" from people on a personal level. Some have suggested that you get one chance at love and that is it, others have been widowed and happily remarried. Everyone seems to know what to do, except you.
I'd like to share with you a few things that I've struggled with when I think about this subject. I do so honestly and openly, wanting only to present the inward struggle between the past and the present in my heart, and perhaps the heart of others in similar circumstances.
The first feeling and emotion when this subject came up for me was that of betrayal.
When I thought about the very idea of considering a relationship with another person, I felt as though I were betraying Lorie. My marriage to Lorie was truly storybook and fairytale like. It was everything a marriage is suppose to be. She loved me completely and I loved her with everything in me. We had a wonderful life together. I could write about it forever really and not scratch the surface. There was romance (I'm a hopeless romantic), there were dreams, there were babies, laughter, and adventure. There was so much more. As a husband, I can truly say that I really had it all. Lorie was way out of my league - she was beautiful, inside and out. I didn't deserve her. She was a gift. Thinking about the possibility of having a relationship with someone else slammed me with feelings of betrayal. I'd bet that others struggle with this as well.
The second thing I had to deal with when it comes to be open to new love is not making someone new feel like they are second place. I would never want to do that to anyone. I think it is another tool of the enemy to freeze us and keep us from moving forward. Remember that phrase "moving forward", I will talk about it later. You see, people like me will have thoughts like, there is no way you can love another, you will always compare them to your wife or husband. You will measure them in your mind against what you had. This kind of feeling can freeze you, because that's not something you want to do. You have to come to the conclusion that you loved your spouse for who they were, and if you can do that, you can love someone else for who they are.
The third thing a widow or widower may think about concerning a new relationship is the idea of being "ready". In fact, someone told me today, when you're ready for a new relationship you will know. Here's the facts concerning the matter, there is no such thing as being ready. It just comes down to making a decision. You just have to choose to try. I mean think about it, were you ready to have kids? Uhhhhh, no! You don't know how to do that and can't possibly be ready for it. But when the baby comes - you learn as you go. The idea of being ready for a new relationship usually revolves around time. Has it been enough time? But I think this is the wrong question. The better question may be, is it the right time? Remember when I mentioned moving forward? Let's talk about it. There is a real distinct difference in "moving on", and moving forward. I have to admit that if someone were to tell me I needed to move on, I would have to strongly resist the urge to do great bodily harm to that individual. Just being honest. Moving on implies leaving behind what you had, the person you loved and still love. It implies you get over it. It says you just put it in the past. However, moving forward is totally different. Moving forward doesn't require forgetting the past to find love in the present. Moving forward says, I will never stop loving Lorie, but I can love someone new. Moving forward embraces the past and has expectations for the present. For example, the pictures of Lorie will never be removed from hanging on my walls, but there is room for more pictures on my walls. It's the same with my heart. There is room for more. That's the thing I've learned about love, there is always more. It never runs out. It comes from a well that can never run dry. Why? Because God is love. He is infinite, therefore love just keeps going. For a long time I thought it just stopped, but I was wrong. Love may be put on hold for us, but it will never hold out on us.
So, I'm not ready. But I have made a decision to try. I simply choose to love. Love has to be given away. I have so much more to give. During this time without Lorie, it's as if love has continued to build up inside my heart causing it to grow bigger and bigger, swelling up until my heart has even more love to give. I've come to the understanding that it is not betraying Lorie to love again. And I will care for someone new for who they are and not for who Lorie was. Why am I sharing something so deeply personal? I would rather you hear this from me rather than from the rumor mill. Secondly, I sincerely ask for your prayers in this. If you are my friend, you will fervently pray for me and my children. I want to love and be loved. I want my children to know more of the grace of a woman's influence. Yes, pray for me in this. I can't know what tomorrow holds and ultimately it is not up to me. My life is in God's hands. I don't know if I will ever have the opportunity to meet, get to know, and fall in love with someone again. I do know that I can't rebuild my old life, but I truly believe I can build a new one.
Live Your Legacy!