Unbelievable as it seems, it has been four years since my husband passed away. Every year, from January 26th until February 19th, I go into a Bermuda triangle of memories and emotions – his birthday, the day of his death and our anniversary fall on these dates. You would think grief would have loosened its hold on me, but these meaningful days still haunt me.
I loved my husband for 44 years (notwithstanding all the ups and downs of most marriages). Today, I am blessed to be in a committed and loving relationship with a wonderful man who has graced my life in many unexpected ways. We understand that we each bring our own life history into the mix, which enriches the bond between us..
Mature relationships are so different from the ones we had when we were young and always looking forward. In addition, I have the perspective of time and the experience of loss, which has taught me to be grateful for what is here right now in the present moment.
And this brings me to the angst that is the Yin and Yang of love that stirs within my heart.
I have been worried that the love I hold for my husband would somehow be lessened or lost because of my newfound love. I wondered if I could love two men, quite differently, in a balanced and peaceful way alongside each other?
“Yin and yang are two sides of dualism. It is the tail and the head of a coin. The tail is yin, and then the head is yang. They exist alongside one another. The head cannot exist without the tail, and the tail cannot exist without the head. The earth we live on is yin, and the sun that brings us warmth is yang. Sadness is yin, while joyfulness is yang.” (Tao-In-You.com)
At lunch the other day, I shared with a friend, who was widowed after 60+ years of marriage, that I was struggling with the yin and yange of love in my heart. She looked at me and said, “Don’t you have room in your heart to love all of your children?” That simple question was an “Aha Moment!” for me.
I immediately flashed back to a memory of being pregnant with my second son and wondering how in the world I could possibly love another child as much as my first. As soon as he was born, the love for my “second child” enveloped me; the question of how much capacity I had to love became a moot point.
My heart has room for many loves – my husband, my new mate, family, friends, and pets. It is a big place with infinite capacity.
In the past, when one of our pets died and we got a new cat or dog, not a replacement, but another pet to love ~ I didn’t worry about room in my heart. I didn’t worry about losing the memories of that beloved pet. I am not likening the death of my husband to a pet, but the point here is that I am more than capable of holding countless “loves” in my heart.
I consider myself very lucky and am grateful to have found a loving man who honors my past, as I do his. In our sixties, we know that our individual journeys, before we met, prepared us to find the love we have for each other today. We have blended our lives and are building our own history ~ each and every treasured day that we spend together. I am not being disloyal to my deceased husband; I am honoring the love we had by being open to life’s possibilities.
Today was a watershed moment for me. The questioning within me has been answered and my heart is open and at ease.
As Rumi said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” … I whole “heartedly” agree!
Laurel D. Rund ~ January 2013Tags: getting to the other side of grief, healing, Moving forward, narrative by Laurel D. Rund, new relationship after the loss of a spouse, spousal loss
Thanks for sharing your story! Often people who have lost spouses, regardless of how long they were together, fail or at least fear moving on. They close themselves off to life and other loves and just attempt to maintain the status quo. Although I have not been there myself, thank goodness, I can imagine the pain and suffering that must follow losing your spouse. Just the thought of finding and allowing another person into you heart is almost impossible and is the most scary thing possible at that point in your life. It seems disloyal to your deceased spouse, like you would be telling them you did not love them or that you do not love them anymore. In reality, you can love multiple people in your life, just like your example of loving all of your children the same amount. Allowing yourself to love another person after your spouse dies does not mean you are being disloyal or love him/her any less, just that the new person in your life is loved a different way and just as much.