Life after a Death. I reflect on that sentence, searching for words to describe what I, as a widow, have felt these last five years.
The word “mirror” comes up for me. My partner was my mirror, reflecting back to me who I was, as a human being. When I lost that mirror, I had to navigate that reflection on my own. My partner’s symbiotic understanding of how I felt was no longer present. In the future, would another person be in the equation, learning to know me as my beloved did? Someone who would hold up that mirror with deep love?
When we lose our partner or spouse, we go through inexplicable grief. We lose our footing, realizing two legs on the chair are now missing. This, followed by imbalance, reflection, discovery, and then…more disparity.
A New Being Comes from Loss
This teetering between sorrow and loss of footing is intermixed with joy, tears, loneliness, want, and independence. It is so important that we feel all of these emotions as we heal. For we are mending and transforming our broken chair into a two-legged ladder. Learning and navigating this….this….new “being”. This journey of finding one’s own voice—again.
During this time of self-discovery, I had a lesson question: “Who am I?”
Do I like who I am seeing? Do I feel complete? Am I lost? Do I love—me?
These were all questions I had to ask myself through many quiet and tearful moments, while turning page after page of books on grief and growth. And this learning had to be concentrated—especially while navigating the solitary confinements during the Great Pause of 2020-2021.
Pain in the Digging
There were many periods of time where I really had to dig — and I mean dig deep—into the caverns of loneliness and starless soul caves! To identify who I was—and how I got there.
The final chapter of my lesson was: “How can I put my true feelings into words that another will understand, and do so without compromising my own truths?”
Here is where I landed.
We rediscover who we are after we lose our beloved. We know that we indeed are not the same person we were at the altar of commitment. Life experiences have changed us. Inclusive of this very particular time in history, we are changing exponentially.
We are learning, and I speak from both a feminine and a masculine perspective, that how we saw ourselves 20, 40, even 60 years ago, has shifted.
Self-Discovery Can be the Result
We are truly at this place of self-discovery. We are learning not only as a grieving spouse. Not only as a single human being. But as an interconnected element of this great Universe. We are learning to listen more deeply to our heart. To stand more grounded in our being.
This is where we all are standing. We are all grieving, while looking in the mirror.
Will we say yes to love, speaking with our own self-discovered vocabulary, Giving us strength to find a new balance and meaning?
Will I love again?
Yes, and I already am—
I am loving me first!
Then, and only then, will I be able to truly love another.
This. Is the mirror.
Michelle Kaisersatt is author of Dear One: A Message of Love, about Grief, Loss, and the Art of Healing
Owner of Soul Work, LLC
Read about Nature-Based Grief Healing for Teens.