By Terry Rempel
Is there life after death? Yes. But I’m not talking about the person that has passed away. I am a Christian and do believe in life after death for the deceased. But I want to talk about those of us left behind after the death of our spouse. For me, a huge part of me died when Lorna passed away. At least that’s the way it felt. The “us” died with her. After 40 years together, just shy of 38 years married, we definitely felt the “and the two shall become one” part of marriage. I didn’t know who I was on my own; I only knew the “us.” I only wanted to think of the “us.” After she passed, I would wait around in the house when I was going somewhere even though I was ready to go. It was like I was waiting for her to finish getting ready and say, “OK, let’s go!” But she wasn’t there, and I was waiting for nothing; it was just what I did. I felt lost to get ready to go anywhere with Lorna, and I would get in the car myself. I felt dead inside. I was existing.
Time may heal the wound, but the scar stays forever. Widowers go through the motions. I went through the motions of living. I hate saying that I “got used to it,” being alone. You learn to manage it. And, slowly, I started thinking of what I might want to do for myself. But it wasn’t only for me, because I had family that wanted me to choose to live again. This is where the life after death part begins, and it will be different for everyone. I saw a post on Facebook that said, “It’s time for the next chapter.” Shortly after that, I saw another one that said, “If you need to start a new chapter in your life, don’t wait for the page to turn itself.” OK. I get the hint.
Choosing to live again after the loss of your spouse takes time; it takes thought, it takes healing. It’s all a process. At first, you don’t want any process, but this is life. We need to choose to live not only for ourselves but for those that love us. Continuing to work, deciding to start a different line of work, moving to a new location where your late wife has never been is all part of the process—and starting to date again. Turning that page is a big one and can be very intimidating. For me, it took me a couple of weeks to finish my profile on a dating site. Even choosing to go on a site like that or choosing a site was difficult. Fortunately for me, my first contact was with a lovely woman, but it didn’t go anywhere. I hit the jackpot with the second contact. We have been together now for almost 11months. A few characteristics are similar to my late wife, love of family and relationships and love of gardening, but she is very different in many other ways. Learning to live again is hard; learning to love again is confusing. I needed to be careful that what I was feeling was for her and because of her, not because I was lonely and wanted to be with someone. That part was confusing. But I have truly fallen in love with my new love. And I can love her in the way she should be loved because of the love I still have for my late wife. That may sound confusing, but if you’ve started down that road, you will understand.
Turn the page and choose to find life after death.