moving forward

navigating through the life that was and moving into the life that is

By my side

on October 3, 2013

I love Glen.

I’m in love with Glen.

I’m still so ridiculously in love with Glen. I’m just as much in love with him as I was the day we were married. Perhaps more.

I’m in love with Glen -> that statement is what I have been struggling with as I have considered “moving on” in my romantic life.  The term “moving on” is truly one of the most hurtful phrases that is used with widowed people.  “Shouldn’t you be moving on?” “I’m glad to see you are moving on.” “It’s been almost _ years. I really think you should move on.” Those are not statements that you get to say to a widow. EVER. Those are things you might say to someone whose spouse left them or after a bitter divorce or a bad breakup. Perhaps. When the love of your life dies unexpectedly, in the midst of daily life, you never move on.  My love for Glen runs so deep and so wide.  I will never be able to escape it and I am finally ready to quit trying. So today, I surrender to it. I surrender to the reality that I will never be out of love with him. I am going to have great days and then I am going to have days where the absence of his love takes my breath away. This realization is a fork in the road where I have a choice. After not having a choice on many of the events in my life recently, choices are a big deal to me.

I can choose to never let anyone love me again. Choose to never let anyone in and believe that my baggage is way more than anyone would want. I mean seriously, a widow through a tragic car accident, a severe traumatic brain injury, two kids, unable to work or hold a fulltime job, and the list goes on. I have so many versions of that list in my head. I have tortured myself into believing many versions of that list. I could choose that option

-or-

I can believe that Glen knows I will forever love him and that falling in love again is something that he wants for my life. I have always known he would want me to fall in love again but as I have said before, knowing and doing are two completely different avenues.

My falling in love and subsequent being in love is more difficult than I ever imagined.  Difficult because I am not the only one that still loves Glen. Friends and family saw how truly happy he made me.  They want him back too, they want that back.  At long last, the one truth I have come to terms with now is that no one I date will be Glen. Seems fairly obvious but seriously, I cannot date Glen and I may not date someone like Glen.  People saw how happy that he made me and so naturally that is who they want me to be with again.  At the risk of being obvious again, I will not be dating Glen. The time that Glen and I met was so perfect and meant to be. Our first marriages occurred in the same weekend of the same year and were over before we had a chance to believe in marriage.  We had both been injured.  Love had backfired on both of us. Our trust was broken. In each other, we found the assuredness and love that neither of us had experienced before.  Our love was so very pure and it was no wonder that our lives intertwined so beautifully, so easily.

Now? Now I am different. Now I have seen what love and marriage can look like and my expectations are kind of high.  Just sayin. I know that it is so difficult for people to see how I am different. But it’s true. I am not the same me.  How could I be? I am me. Right now. In this moment. Isn’t that really what we all are anyway? A summation of every experience and every day and minute of our life up until that very moment? What happens next is up to us. Then we become the person we are at that very moment. You are not a result of everything that has happened to you – that is passive.  You are a result of what you have done with all of the things that have happened to you – that is living.  How you react, is up to you. How you react is who you are.

Therefore, today I am choosing to love again.  I am choosing to believe in love. The man who will let me fall in love with him will be a man who understands loss, understands suffering, understands my ups and downs, understands that I am still in love with another man, and loves me all the same.  A man who knows that I may not always be able to give him all that he deserves because having a brain injury is exhausting and all-consuming at times.  I work at it, though, and my brain will continue to heal and the most important thing is that he will know that I will always try to give him all that he deserves. Always.

 


6 responses to “By my side

  1. buffaloheather73 says:

    I love reading your thoughts and healing process Sandra. Of course HATING that you have tto go through it – but you need to know ~ you are being used by God through all this….a true inspiration and proof that with God ~ all things are possible!! You are such a STRONG woman…you are always leaving me speechless in your strength and ability to press on and move forward…..I love you girl and am your Biggest Fan!! GO Sandra GO…spread them wings…

  2. Paul says:

    Sandra,

    Please don’t go with not letting someone in. I recently ended a relationship with a widow. Don’t put a limit on God. For me this was by far the best relationship that I ever had. I have been twice divorced. The very raw love and pure love we shared was incredible. It has almost been a month sense I have seen my ex girlfriend. She decided that she needed to go the road alone. She asked me to give my love to someone else. This is the most painful break up I have ever had. I feel lost and sick to my stomach. At some deep level inside me I got it. I got that she would always love another. I was ok with that, I didn’t want her to stop or move on from that. I loved hearing stories about her late husband. The smile that shone on her face from the memories she shared made me happy. She will probably never know, how truly happy she made me. I don’t know why she felt I deserved something else. It was like no other relationship but it still came with the usual issues. Maybe I was to idealistic, I was very hesitant to start this relationship, but fell in love with her just over conversation and sharing. That is what I miss the most the sharing and talking and what hurts the most now is the unbearable silence. So if you get the chance grab a hold of it, and when the doubts creep in. If there are questions, give that new relationship the chance. Talk to them about it, if they really care they will be willing do anything to make it work. I know I would have had I been given the chance. Maybe me sharing this will help me on my road to healing. But I know I will forever be changed for having loved a widow. Facing my fear about dating a widow is the best thing I ever did….

    • Sandra says:

      Paul, thank you so much for sharing. I can say that dating after becoming a widow is so difficult and uncharted. I have said many of those same things about not understanding why someone would want to be with me and telling them to just go find someone else. I’m not sure how long in her journey she is but I know that there have been many different phases in my journey and I just recently went through the “I need to do this alone stage”. I’m sorry you are hurting. I can tell that you care for her very deeply. Give her the space she is requesting but stay in the loop if possible. She is probably as heart broken as you are and when she figures it all out and moves to the next stage, will want you near. If she doesn’t that I am glad that you can see the positives in everything you experienced with her. Thank you 🙂

  3. Stephanie says:

    I came across your blog today via the Huffington Post and found myself reading it all when I should have been working. I am speechless at so many things- the horrible, traumatic and tragic things you have been through- I really can’t even fathom the depth of pain in losing a spouse, your own recovery process while being a mom to two young kids (who are also probably grieving) but what really struck me most was your optimism and strength. You have been through SO SO much, what most of us can’t even begin to understand, yet you are so optimistic and try so hard to be happy. It is really remarkable. I am not very religious but seeing your unshakeable faith in God and how much your faith has helped your healing process make me want to revisit my own tepid relationship to God. I really hadn’t planned on leaving a comment but I just wanted you to know that I (a total stranger) was really touched but what a remarkable person you are. And you and Glen made a really beautiful couple. I am so sorry for your loss.

    • Sandra says:

      Stephanie, thank you so much for leaving a comment. Writing and putting it out there into the world often feels fruitless and scary. The writing is cathartic for me but I never know if another person will see it. Then you remind me that the exact people who are meant to see it will see it. Thank you for your sweet compliments and kind wishes.

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