You are living without the person you can’t possibly have lost.
The loneliness can’t be captured in any word, phrase or song. It’s palpable, breathtaking and seemingly void of all reality. It’s cold, cruel and takes your heart to a level of pain you didn’t even realize existed before death laid its cold hand on your barely beating heart.
There is no way to explain the pain of loss without living the nightmare.
I remember when he first died and I felt like I couldn’t breathe if I didn’t have a chance to talk with him. He was my best friend and for fifteen years my other half. Without warning, he was gone, and I was left to discover life on my own. Suddenly, I was forced to create a new reality without notice or consent.
I never cared much about Valentine’s Day when he was alive. For me, it felt like an artificial day, made up to convince us we should value what we have. I appreciated him, and I never needed an extra reason to say “I love you,” we just fit from the start. After his death, I figured Valentine’s Day would not hit me hard since we’d never made a big deal of it…I was wrong. Like so many other days after the loss, I felt like I had been swept away in a Tsunami wave that took me out to sea with no hope of ever making it back to shore. Love was everywhere I looked, and the glaring reality was that while our love was forever, he was no longer here to return my feelings. Love was on display, and the man I loved was dead.
Till death do us part is an illusion. A misguided and simplistic perception written by those who’ve never loved beyond the grave. Death does not end a love, it merely takes a life and leaves the living forever changed and shifted beyond ideologist cultural expectations.
So on this Valentine’s Day, let me validate your pain, your heartache, and your loneliness. Let me remind you that you will never get over this reality and you should give up the concept of moving on. You can’t move on from something that shaped who you are, gave you beautiful memories and changed your path. The person you lost helped you write pages in your novel of life and those pages should be forever honored and appreciated. I don’t ask you to move on or to forget, but what I will ask you to do is to go forward. There is a significant difference between two simple words. When you move forward, you make the conscious choice to live this life after loss. You decide that you still matter and that you are still here for a reason, you find the strength to take small steps in a positive direction. Every widowed person hates to hear that they’d want us to be happy, but as a seven-year survivor of loss who has the perspective of time and space, I can assure you that they would want nothing less than our happiness. Think of how much you love your partner, your children, your friends and your family and then ask yourself what you’d want for them should you leave them prematurely? With your unwavering love, you’d want their novel to continue with new pages, chapters, and exciting stories. You’d want them to smile, to laugh and to love…again.
I won’t tell you that today will be easy and I won’t diminish your pain. It’s unacceptable, and it’s unfair. It is, however, your reality and you are forced to live without that person you never thought you could live without.
Take the day and honor what was but be open to what is. Take the day and love yourself, your ability to survive and your thoughts for the future. Yes, those dreams have shifted from what you wanted, and that alternative path is full of big waves and unchartered waters. The waves make you stronger than you ever knew possible, and the distance from shore has changed your view of the world. From the new vantage point, you see the value of each day.
You see the glimmer in the ocean waters.
You see the beauty of the fish below your feet.
The grandiose shoreline, and stunning sunset.
It’s all changed.
You are all changed.
You can’t go back and be what you were, and in many ways, you wouldn’t want to. That doesn’t change your pain today or any day, but it does make you one of the few gifted people walking this earth who enlightens those who haven’t lost and remind them why this day matters.
Love matters, even after a loss.
Love never ends, even after death closes the door.
Love them today by remembering to live.
That’s their Valentines Day gift to you and your forever gift to them.
You are still here for a reason.
Let their love inspire that part of your soul as you move forward.
This article originally housed on the Huffington Post. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/living-without-those-you-cant-live-without_us_58a23d33e4b0cd37efcfec42
Michelle’s new book, Healthy Healing: A Guide to Working Out Grief Using the Power of Exercise and Endorphins is available now wherever books and e-books are sold. Learn more at Bhttp://www.healthyhealingbook.com.