I really don’t know if I would even want to, I wouldn’t have wanted any of this to happen any differently…but if I had to.
If I had to tell my newly-widowed self one thing, one thing that might help turn a healing corner faster. Or, help alleviate one less headache…
I would gently say, with zero expectations…
As much as you want it to be, and as vulnerable and open as your heart will be to love and be loved again, your first love and relationship after loss is not going to be… pick-up-where-you-left-off-easy-breezy-lemon-squeezy.
Your new relationship will not feel, or mirror, anything that you had.
Realize, you will never feel or know what you felt and knew, again. The unique love you were receiving stopped as abruptly as they stopped breathing. They did not pass the baton to anyone else on how to love you as you have known it.
You will hurt your new love, and keep hurting yourself, the more you try to control and hold onto feeling what you had with a person that is now gone. Holding onto expectations will only feed the demise of a good relationship.
The sooner I allow my heart to accept that I will experience something entirely new and different and it not be wrong, the better my life after loss and new relationship, can be.
Just because the new relationship is different doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
Just because the new relationship is unlike what I have known doesn’t mean it doesn’t also belong to me.
Just because something is entirely foreign to my heart space, doesn’t mean I’m not capable of accepting it.
You will miss what is now gone but remain open and willing to the possibilities of the love that is happening now. This could have only come into your life because of who you have become, not just because you were widowed. You weren’t brought to this life to struggle or lose love. You were brought to this life to be love, acquire more of it, give it, and have abundant love in your life in all ways despite any losses.
Loving someone new as a widow is challenging. Loving someone after any loss of love is challenging. The challenge presents itself as the new relationship blossoms. It requires vulnerability. It requires digging, revealing, and mistakes. And saying things you think will help heal the grief. Also giving massive grace when boundaries need to be drawn.
You do know this new person is not your deceased person. You know this. That part is never confusing. You see them in their unique light and honor them in that and love them for it. You’re not even wanting your new love to be anyone else but themselves.
It’s the part of you that misses your deceased person, it’s that missing them that keeps your heart potential harnessed. Its that part that keeps you from being completely wide open to this new relationship. Give it all up, let go, and love this person whole as they are showing up now. For you, with you, during this time of your life after loss.
Their existence in your life won’t ever be the cure. Feeling them next to you will never be the antidote for your missing. Don’t place that pressure on them or you.
But what you can control is…you can hold the space for gratitude.
When the missing feelings rise up in your throat, let them. Don’t hold it back and don’t feel ashamed. You get to miss your person and miss your life before they died, and the love you shared. But release it. Accept the missing will hurt and fall out of your eyes. Empty out and then fill up, on gratitude for the life you get to look around and be witness to and participate in. If it wasn’t for a devastating loss, you wouldn’t have gained…all this.
You will be sitting bravely in two places, honoring the part of you that misses and the part of you that has courageously shown up and opened up to loving someone new.
It is tough for both brave hearts. But it is worth it.
What I have found is…you aren’t entitled to the same love, that was then, but you are worthy of a different…BIGGER, BETTER, STRONGER, BRAVER…one. Because of what you have been through.
You don’t deserve a penny less. Because you’re capable of it and no less worthy of it, too.
The way you see life and love is dramatically different. You’ve traded in your old glasses and hindsight and foresight now is a crisp 20/20.
If you are brave enough to know you are capable of giving and receiving it… the biggest love you could ever know will come for you and land in your life. Don’t miss it because you’re holding onto expectations.