Sometimes within the life of a widow/widower you become your own worst enemy. You might think this sounds a bit dramatic but I am beginning to think it is true.
You look at your life and the love you shared with your significant other and a range of thoughts that are not healthy flood the mind and try to take over.
“I could never love or be loved again.”
“I am broken from this event, who would want this in their life!”
“I have suddenly gone crazy - emotionally unstable in all ways, best to just avoid people.”
Of course, when seeing these statements on the page in black and white, it’s clear that they are not the result of rational thinking. Especially, if remembering the ultimate truth that we are loved greatly by God who loves even the messy, sad, and complicated parts of our lives. Yet, when missing our loved one and trying to navigate new spaces, events and relationships, the emotional apple-cart can get disrupted something fierce (so easily I might say!) and it’s kind of annoying really.
Some thoughts could be chalked up to insecurity, sure. But I feel like it is something different - something more along the lines of fear. If I choose to “put myself out there” and possibly like or dare I say love someone other than my late spouse, will I be able to? And if I do go “all in” will something also happen to that person. Will they suddenly realize that I am really crazy and just leave? And I'll be alone again . . .
The “what if” statements for me solidify the concept that this emotional reaction is rooted in fear. I have heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate but rather fear. This really seems to make sense in the context of trying to grieve on as a widow.
Let me share a bit more personally . . .
About three months ago, I began dating someone amazing - and each passing week it’s gotten more serious - turning into a real relationship. This relationship, of course, looks very different and has its own layers of story to navigate. It’s been absolutely wonderful getting to know someone and have adventures alongside them. I've found that even with a bit of a hole in my heart, I still want to embrace the relationship more often than not.
Still, there is a part of me that keeps trying to retreat to a place of illogical fear. The place where I pull out the example statements from above. And I find myself in a spot where I wonder if I can actually share my life and heart again. Surely so, right? Why then do I keep circling the emotional drain? Because grief is complicated. Love, trust and relationships (new and old) are complicated.
Looking back at my own writings, my desire to share life and love again because I have experienced it so beautifully has not changed. Yet when push comes to shove, I honestly am still afraid of my ability to do this.
This leaves me with a lingering question, how does one power through irrational thoughts based in fear and instead return to a reality built on hope, trust and love?
My first thought, “I don’t know.”
The second, God’s love and grace.
Here are a few points I am trying to focus on for my own heart health. I hope they also are an encouragement to fellow widowers (or even those grieving broken relationships)
Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.