It appears as if a lot of widows and widowers are struggling a bit differently than usual as they move into the year 2020.
A variety of heartrending emotions were shared in the posts and comments I read from the several different widowed groups that I belong to. I’ll admit, I had my share of emotions too.
Newly widowed people were facing their first turn of the calendar year, ending their first holiday season without their spouse. Still, in the early and often dark days of grief and loss, many of their comments and posts centered around deep sorrow, anxiety, isolation, unrelenting yearnings, and much more.
Seasoned widows and widowers, some as far as 10-plus years out from the loss of their life partners, wrote about experiencing unexpected triggers of grief; difficulties with extended family, in-laws, or friends; fond memories; or their plans for New Year’s Eve. Support, virtual hugs, suggestions for handling the days leading up to and including the actual New Year holiday, as well as their continued experiences with loss and yearnings were also posted.
Striking me were the subtle differences in the posts and comments from this year compared to previous years. One seasoned widow put it this way: “While I’m excited about a new year and a new decade, a part of me feels like I’m leaving my late husband behind.”
Her comment hit my heart hard. I’d never thought about moving into the new year, and, more specifically, the new decade, in that way before. I began to question myself, “Am I leaving my late husband behind as I move forward?” After sitting with her comment for a while, I answered my question with a resounding no. I’m not leaving my late husband behind.
Moving forward is exactly what I need to do, and it’s exactly what my late husband would want me to do—without a doubt. He didn’t live long enough to make it to this decade. His earthly time stopped forever in the year 2016. In one manner of thought, my late husband will remain permanently in the last decade. However, he moves with me, always in my heart, and through the love we shared.
The truth is, moving forward is downright hard sometimes. Yet, I’m grateful it’s not easy. The struggles I face somedays, or with some events that have me yearning for my late husband, often remind me of how deeply I was loved. Knowing the depth of our shared love is a source of comfort for me.
In my heart-of-hearts, I believe love never dies. I’m secure in the knowledge that moving forward is exactly what will allow me to live the life I was meant to live.
“To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.” ~ J.K. Rowling
I treasure Dumbledore’s words to Harry Potter about the death of his mother, from J.K. Rowling’s book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. When I’m feeling scared or thinking “this is just too hard,” I remember how deeply I loved my late husband and how deeply he loved me. I do feel a sense of protection as well as a sense of security from this knowledge.
Now, in these early days of 2020, I’m taking the time to honor myself, my courage, my strength, and my abilities to make hard decisions, as well as the positive changes I’ve made for my life. It’s not easy, and sometimes, I question how well I’m doing on this journey of widowhood.
As I seize this new year and the new decade, I choose to keep moving forward. I will always carry some protection with me because I was loved, deeply. I am worthy of love, and I can give love too. My heart knows this. Embracing this knowledge gives me the hope and the will to keep moving forward with my life and with my new way of thinking.
I may live without another life partner, or I may find someone to share my life with. I don’t know what my future holds. I do know what it means to be deeply loved, and that alone makes my life special.
Here’s to the sense of protection created by love, the newness of each day, each year, each decade, and to new ways of thinking.
Happy New Year.
Let hope and love light your way.