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Widowed Village connects peers with each other for friendship and sharing. The moderators, administrators, and others involved in running this site are not professionals.

Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.

We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

Early on, when loss shattered the life I had so painstakingly created and loved,  I couldn't see how anything or any place whatsoever could feel correct or right again,  let alone actually good and content again. Early on the grief was so all encompassing, I was surprised that anything continued on at all, even bodily needs. I remember having to pee so badly a week or so after John died and thinking to myself, “how is the still going on? I haven't eaten. I haven't slept. I haven't drank anything.” And yet, even so the body continues, the soul continues, everything continues. Everything around me continued even when I thought, in the grips of that early grief, that deep, horrible sorrow that everything should stop, it didn’t stop. 

In many ways externally and for many, many months internally I did stop, but not completely. I now understand that even in the grips of devastation there was always a sliver of my soul that was incrementally inching it’s way towards light and joy.That even though I didn’t want it too, instinctually my highest self knew that joy and light, and the seeking and finding of it was imperative to healing. It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t without great guilt.  I remember the guilt I felt the first time I laughed out loud at a joke, the guilt I felt when I genuinely smiled from a good story I had read, the guilt that I felt the first time I realized I had so enjoyed the company of my  bookclub girlfriends that I hadn’t been consumed with the thoughts of going home to an empty house. Guilt is one of those passengers that hitched a ride when grief entered and the finding of joy after John’s death certainly has brought with it a great deal of guilt. 

Of the many joys I’ve had since tiptoeing my way toward the edges of the light again the one that has brought me the most contentment and love and the most kindness and understanding is Mark. I remember distinctly how giddy I was the first time he held my hand and how guilty. I remember clearly how incredulous I was when some time after we started dating he actually asked me to marry him, me-wounded, battered ship against the dock me, he wanted me. I remember too knowing that if I was to be his, I would no longer be John’s and the guilt that brought. I would no longer be John’s wife, I would now always be John’s widow-which was probably true even before Mark asked to marry me but the concreteness of it was startling to me even years out from John’s death. I think its one of those things you don’t approach or think about until it’s in front of you. But with determination and help from my therapist and Mark I was able to come to peace with that reality and became excited to bind my heart to Mark’s legally and spiritually. 

This last November I remember with great gentleness how Mark and I said our vows to each other, how deeply we meant them, how much love filled that day of a few family members, our closet friends-who are really family at this point in our lives- and our children. And I remember the pang of guilt too, that I could be this joyous, that I could feel this much love and happiness. I felt guilt and awe that I could love again, without reservation but instead with an open heart.

Of course being married again brings with it another set of challenges to what I am told by my grief therapist is a long (insert years here-sigh) and complicated grieving process. It brings with it happy disbelief but also the harsh judgments of outsiders who believe I hadn’t grieved hard or long enough to have such joy yet. It brings judgement  that perhaps I didn’t love John as fiercely as I have always professed I did. It brings judgments that perhaps I am unworthy of another’s love in the way each human seeks in our lives because I had it once and should content with that. It brings guilt that the joy of marriage, could again be a daily feast that I get to sit at the table for. But having lost a beloved I know that I will feast on this joy and be grateful for every morsel of it I’m allowed to have. That is a direct lesson of having such loss, you don’t take what is given for granted- not for one moment, not even the hard moments, for even those are gifts and are part of the feast.

I never thought I would find joy again. I never thought I would find light again. I certainly never thought I would find love again. But the soul and the spirit, in the deepest of our bones is always inching towards the edges of joy and light. After the initial impact, the spirit eases away from the eye of the tornado, slowly, ever so very slowly that even we the griever may not notice it’s movement, it is inching its way back to dancing on the edges of joy, back to the edges of life where the soul can catch glimpse of the sun and can begin to gently sway to the rhythm of the dance of returning. 

I know that this is still a hard path to be on, I know there are days when it will be a challenge to face the guilt and the judgements but I also know to take great care to savor and pay attention when I find those respites of peace along the way; and when grief hits hard or difficulties throw themselves upon my feast table to keep my eye turned internally for the movement of the soul dancing to the edges of where the light is and for me, with deep gratitude, where Mark is now too.

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Comment by flannery on January 26, 2015 at 7:40am

Thank you Norman, you are so correct.

Comment by flannery on January 26, 2015 at 7:39am

Laurajay I cannot begin to tell you what your words of kindness and support mean to me. To have "permission" shouldn't be important to us and yet, it is. To hear someone who really knows what this is like to say that my beloved John approves, eased my heart. I know that there is still grief to travel, still work to do, this is a loss that is carried not fixed, but to be able to find understanding among my friends and peers here is invaluable. Much love to you-Flan

Comment by BESTBUDS1 [Norman} on January 25, 2015 at 5:55am

Such a  beautiful story, thanks for sharing, for in the Light there is Peace, and Joy and most of all Love that carries us through.. Best wishes to you and Mark as your new life begins together...

Comment by laurajay on January 24, 2015 at 1:42pm

dear sweet friend.  I did not know you had remarried.  I wish for you to find a new mansion in your soul where you and Mark can dwell for as long a time as you are given.  John so approves.  This man who loved you so well when he was on earth...loves you no less now that he is gone.  Oh, such bliss be yours as the universe can provide.  You are young my friend and have every reason in this world to go forward and to share the love you still have in your heart with another man.  John does not spy or look disapprovingly  at your decision!  He walks at your side in hopes that you will find lasting happiness.  He dwells in a realm where there is only joy and goodness and he wants you to have the very same thing here on earth. I am so very happy for you.  I had the good fortune of 44 yrs with my husband  and my soul though sad and lonely  has bountiful memory to draw on---more than most are blessed with. God is making a way for me to treasure my family, my grand children, my interests,  etc in a way that will work for me.  I believe that even if it takes a long time.   But you- you can shed the grief, hold the joy, and move in a new direction.  I celebrate your future and all that will become yours.  Much love  for your well written post.  How  blessed we are that you share your story here with us. It is beautiful and  and filled with God's grace.  Thank You.   lj

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