It’s been twelve years since the loss of my husband, Darren. And I can remember every detail of that day as if it were yesterday. I remember the feeling of my heart being torn out of my chest as I received the news that he was dead. I remember feeling like the power supply to my life was ripped out of the wall and I was left in complete darkness. I remember the fear of the unknown future that I now did not want if I could not have Darren walking with me at my side. And I remember the absolute sinking pit in my stomach as I realized it was not just my world that was crumbling, as I now had to tell my children and my mother-in-law that their dad/son was gone.
The next several months, and to be honest years for me, was about re-finding my identity. Who am I? Who am I as a widow, and no longer a wife? Who am I as a single mom? What am I suppose to do now in this life? Can I do it alone? Can I love myself as much as Darren loved me?
As I struggled trying to find the answers to these questions, I came across a quote by Joseph Campbell that was a pivotal point in my healing journey. It said, “You have to be willing to let go of the life you have planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you”. Well that was a wake up call for me. Because I didn’t want to let go of all my hopes, dreams, aspirations that I had planned and was suppose to do with Darren. But with time, I realized if I was going to move forward, I needed to open up space for something new to move in. That took time and a shift in perspective and a lot of self-compassion and vulnerability to do the work that I needed to do to move onward.
Some say time heals all wounds. I’m not sure I buy that. What I do believe is that with time those wounds are less raw. The emotions that are still there are not so prominently on the surface, but held in a special place in my heart that is only for Darren. Also, with time and immense compassion for myself, I worked through and released the emotions of fear, anger, and loneliness that caused me to feel powerless, abandoned, and unworthy. My wound no longer holds these emotions. There is only room for the emotions of love, sadness, and gratitude.
I still have my moments (and I always will) where I shed tears for the loss of my husband and my children’s dad. Some of these tears are of sadness and some of gratitude and joy for the precious moments he gave me. But these tears no longer take me to my knees leaving me in a puddle on the floor. With time, I have learned to move forward with my wound, not forgetting about it and leaving it behind. His memory will never be forgotten, it will be cherished. My wound is part of who I am, however, it does not define who I am.
I can now see beauty in the life that was waiting for me. The life that I created out of my struggles and my pain. I know who I am. I am a compassionate, strong, independent, capable, creative visionary who loves helping other’s find their own strength and joy in life. I am a loving and courageous mom. And I can whole heartedly say “I love me!”
When I see a spider web, I see a metaphor to my life. In one perspective, it symbolizes being trapped, stuck and struggling in life. When I look at it in the other perspective, I see beauty in the creation and design of it. How do you see the web of life? Do you feel stuck, trapped, and life is a struggle? Or do you see the beauty in the creation and design of it?
If you are grieving from a loss, I can help you move forward so you can have the memories and honoring without the crippling pain. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.