During a recent conversation with a widowed friend, I reflected on some of the unexpected roles we may inherit upon becoming widowers. One of which I hold especially dear is being the curator of my wife Robyn’s and my love.
Often, we are accused of deifying our loved ones after their death. In many cases, the most important aspect of looking back on any meaningful relationship is the propensity to assess what was important about that relationship. I refer to it on realizing how foolish it was to major in so many minors. In most relationships, we far too frequently vent our frustrations about our relationship to others. As I think back, most of it was not even worth being bothered by, let alone sharing with others.
The strange thing that I have realized about Robyn’s death is that, in many ways, I feel closer to her now than when she was alive. I am incredibly determined to live in the same quality or style we built during marriage. Doing so is critical to being the curator of our love.
Being the curator of our love for our departed loved one; we can share with others who our spouse and partner indeed were in our lives. It gives us the opportunity for others to access what made our love a truly special one. Most of the time, when we think of the word curator, it reminds us of a museum or a place where you can go to view artifacts and the contributions of others.
While my wife Robyn could be a handful at times, she always remained my handful. I am sure at times I was not a great prize to be married to, but I thank god she never decided to return me! So, I happily serve in the role of curator. As individuals and many times as couples, we fiercely guard our privacy. While I agree that our lives do not need to be a completely open book, I wish I had publicly bragged about my wife more often. Within our marriage, I was very protective of Robyn. I did not like it when people or circumstances made her unhappy. Her happiness was always important to me.
One of the most comforting aspects of taking on the role of a curator is that it allows me to hold onto the bonds of our love for each other. I have found that holding on to regrets and giving credence to the less-than-favorable opinions of others has no place in healing a grieving heart.
My late father shared with me his view that no one truly knows what goes on between a man and a woman but that man and that woman. While he shared that pearl of wisdom with me at the time, the true gravity of that statement did not resonate with me. However, now, it has sustained me through many a tough moment.
So, are you a curator? Is it a role you have taken on and didn’t even know it? I genuinely enjoy being the curator of my memory of my wife. This role does allow room for love in the future if you find it. In many ways, it creates a greater capacity to love and for love when and if you receive it again.
As always, I look forward to your responses and opinions. I do not take the opportunity to share my words with you for granted, and I thank you for taking the time to read these words. Until next time.
Terrell Whitener is an author, motivational speaker, and coach. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Terrell is the author of The First 365, Learning to Live After Loss. His most recent book, “From the Heart to the Heart,” will be available soon.
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