Learning to fiercely love ourselves might be the greatest and most important love affair of our lives.
(Go on, read that again. Take a moment. Let it sink in.)
Yep. As widowed people, it is up to us to master love in a new way. We have lost the physical touch, and the voice of our beloved; but we still have the blueprints of their love imprinted on our skin and in our Souls. We know how to give and receive love because of them. So, now we must craft a way to love on ourselves when our lovers are no longer here to do this for themselves.
Losing Mike made me reevaluate everything. E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Every last thing in my life has been questioned and observed under a new lense. And, this scrupulous examination of Self has included love. Specifically, my ability to give and receive love.
After a lot of reflection, I finally understood and realized that I was left to minister myself the love Mike can no longer physically and emotionally provide to me. When you are widowed, you are invited into a new relationship with yourself. You are given the opportunity to build a deep, loving relationship with yourself. This relationship is built on a foundation of unconditional love for yourself. And, arguably, this relationship with Self may be the most important relationship of your life.
I have found that with practice, I am becoming more proficient at self love and self care.
I have become my own friend. My own champion. My own companion. I am a lover of myself.
And, this is a beautiful way to honor my dead lover.
I originally wrote this nine months ago to the day. It had been four years exactly since I stood at the cemetery and watched them lower Mike’s casket into the earth. I died in that moment. Mike was buried, and I was buried alive. It is poetic that today, four years later, I am writing to you about what I have learned about love since that terrible day Mike was returned to the Earth. Being Mike’s widow has been the hardest experience of my life, but I do believe I am finally finding my way back to life. Because of Mike and the affinity for love he birthed in me, I am steadily working on becoming the Love of my Life. Mike would like this. In fact, he’d love that I am loving myself in the very way he loved me: wholly, madly and completely.
When Mike died, I experienced a massive identity crisis. My world was shattered. And, for a long, long time, I lost myself in the wreckage. Mike’s sudden death sent me into a tailspin. I was utterly disorientated. I had to reteach myself things like: eating, breathing and sleeping. Then, once I reestablish these rudimentary skills, I was left with the much harder task of learning who I was without him.
Grief is both a tedious and labor intensive process. It takes as long as it takes; and thankfully grief evolves. Four years later, I am no longer the bewildered woman who stood over the grave of the man she loves. Today, I can confidently tell you that I have successfully clawed my way out from under the sadness that buried me alive for years.
It took time and a lot of hard work to create a new identity for myself, but I’ve done it. Once I figured out who I was, I was then able to enter into a rich and beautiful relationship with my new self. I have arrived to a good place. A place where I am enough. I have become enough – on my own. Wow. I have never written that. And, more importantly I have never felt this… until now. And, it is everything.
Without knowing and loving Mike I would never have been able to master this type of profound, all encompassing Self love. He taught me everything I need to know about love. Because of Mike, I can be the Love of my Life. And, this is really almost as lovely as him loving me. I feel it. In fact, I am crying typing this blog because something almost holy is happening here as my fingers are stroking the keys of my laptop. For me, the message in this blog feels profound.
It is not lost one me, that to be loved this fiercely is a gift that many human beings will never know. I can not believe how lucky I am. (Mike, thank you again and again….)
As I sign off, let me be proof that when you can love yourself wholly, madly, fiercely, you will be all the love you need. Loving yourself is a very liberating act; and, I have a hunch that once you truly love yourself new doors burst wide open. My prediction is that fierce self love is the beginning of everything I ever imagined in this alternate after life…
Nine months after I originally wrote this I can tell you that Self Love is absolutely the entry point to all that you need in your life. After years and years of sadness, I have begun to earnestly love myself unconditionally (the way Mike used to do) and my entire life has changed for the better. Once I began to think that I was enough – I was. It really was that simple.
When you are enough for yourself you are more than enough for another human being too. My life is unrecognizable from the life I had when he was alive, but this is finally “okay”. I am living the life I have and no longer continually longing for the life I do not have. I finally can accept that the life I thought I would be living is over.
Somehow, after years of reflection and hard work, I am happy again. Mike would be glad, and most importantly so am I.
Live forward. Love on.