Grow, Process and Grieve

I’ve been widowed for over 30 years.

What shocked me was how ignorant the older generations were toward me. As a young adult, I assumed that those considerably older than me had the experience and maturity to handle life’s difficult situations. I quickly learned this was not the case at all. Losing my soul mate in my early twenties, I understood that those my age had no point of reference and couldn’t relate to me.

The platitudes they would spew were nauseating.

Everything happens for a reason.

She’s in a better place.

She would not want to see you sad.

God will never give you more than you can handle.

Life is for the living.

God needed another angel.

These are the words I’d hear repeatedly. This superficial reaction of those around me eventually forced me to keep most of my thoughts and feelings inside.

From here, many years of anger and rage manifested. I kept my story and my pain buried deep inside. A barrier was built to shield me from any useless drivel.

As the years turned to decades, new hardships and misfortunes emerged. From a career and financial standpoint, I went from riches to rags and was a middle-aged man hitting absolute rock bottom. But perspective told me that I was nowhere near rock bottom. Rock bottom was when Dana died, and if I could live through the loss of Dana, I could live through anything else that life threw my way.

From here, I quietly began telling my story to people that were vulnerable enough to share their heartbreaking stories of loss with me. The hardened exterior I had worked to build up was now beginning to soften. My newfound vulnerability allowed for healing to start, which I never expected to achieve, especially so far into my grief journey.

I learned that it’s never too late to start allowing your story to be heard. I encourage you to let the walls down gradually and allow your story to inspire and help others. Once I gave myself the grace for that, I moved to a place of peace I could never have imagined.

The book I spent the past five years working on was recently published. It is a testament to the journey that ensued after my loss. It has been anything but a straight ascent to peace. Instead, it has been a road of highs and lows, with subsequent life-changing events testing my perseverance in ways I never thought possible. At the end of each chapter, I share the lessons I have learned and the action items that can be practically used within your life.

Being a widow is a life sentence. But it’s a life sentence that we can eventually begin to learn to live with. Emotional recovery begins once we give ourselves the space and the grace to not put restrictions or timelines in allowing ourselves to continually grow, process, and grieve.


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