by Rob Weaver
As I have reflected on my experience of loosing my wife, I have found an important principle that I have applied in my life that has made all the difference between surviving and living after the loss of my wife. I believe this principle is applicable to all who have lost their spouse.
First a cliff-notes summary of my loss:
My wife, Jan, and I were married 15 years. She passed away from complications of childbirth of our fourth child on December 22, 2014 – two days after the birth of our daughter, Claire, and ironically Jan’s AND Claire’s birthday. My children are ages 13, 11, 7, and 8 months.
I felt cheated and abandoned. I felt like a part of me died with Jan and I was left to figure things out.Like many others, directly after her death, I felt cheated and abandoned. I felt like a part of me died with Jan and I was left to figure things out. There were lots of well-wishers but nobody understood unless they had experienced loss firsthand and I knew no one who, at my age (37), had experienced this. I was introduced to an online widow/widower group and found I wasn’t crazy and that others had experienced this hell… and lived to tell the tale.
I found the grieving process to be difficult. In my profession, I have to work in front of lots of managers and executives. This requires me to be put together, but to heal I had to let my guard down. I struggled with this and finally took off my game-face and fell into pieces. I struggled to put it back on daily and repeated this process of removing it at night and replacing it for work. As I allowed myself to grieve, I noticed that healing was happening – but slowly.
I read on my online group page that many people struggle with grief for years… even decades. I thought to myself,
“I want to heal. I want to get through this.” I questioned myself,
“If the roles were reversed and I was the one who died, what would I want for Jan?”
The answer was simply, I would want to see her smile again. I would want her to be happy. I would want her to live again and do something positive with her life. So I thought,
“What is preventing that now?”
Then it hit me….
I have not felt like I had permission to move on because it would be disrespectful to my spouse. In a way, not moving on was a way to freeze time and keep her closer. So I made the most difficult decision I have ever made in my life. Ever.
I decided to live.
I decided to give myself permission to move forward.
For me, Jan was like an advanced class in college. I just didn’t realize all I had learned from our relationship until after she was gone. I began to realize how much I still have to learn and to do. This life is short, and as much as I wished for death at my darkest hour, I realized my time is not yet. God would have taken me if that was the case. So I asked,
“What does God want me to do?”
To live. That was my answer.
Once I made the decision to live lots of changes for the good started to occur. Life is still tough, but I know I have an opportunity to improve myself so when I see Jan again I will be better than I was the last time we embraced.
How do I go on?
By choosing to live everyday and by choosing to focus on the opportunities for growth I can make.
Since I have a moment to share and you all are reading this, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who shares in this group. The support I get from reading posts and the comments have been transformative. Love heals. I appreciate the love you all give so willingly and I pray you all will be blessed for it. I hope you all can have healing too.