I have been told "you do not learn to love, you either love or you don't".
At least for a widow/widower.
When the love of your heart & life has been stripped out of your arms, your world is shaken to the core.
You question everything from that moment forward.
Your worth. Your value.
You even question your shortcomings, faults and failures.
So many "should have's", "could have's", "wanted to's".
Second guessing literally everything - to the point of madness at times.
There is a rebuilding from the brokenness, from the ashes.
So, yes, there is a learning to love again.
It takes time.
No one can tell you how long it takes.
No one can say what you should, or should not, be or do or go or say.
Even in learning to love your children & grandchildren again.
Where before death you loved them as part of 2.
Now after death, you love them for both - for your own heart, and for the one who died.
You realize something - those children & grandchildren do not deserve to be loved LESS, just because of the loss.
In order to love them for both - YES, there is a learning of HOW-TO.
You learn to love your friends, as one.
For me, that has been a challenge, and it continues.
Rick & I had our "own friends", yes. But not as many as we had "our friends".
Now that I am not an "our" - well, it certainly changes the dynamics.
I am trying to understand that my contact, my presence, is a vivid reminder of his absence.
Therefore, being around me, even just texting or talking, has become uncomfortable.
Whether it is the absence of my husband, or the presence of my grief - perhaps it is a combination of both. Either way, there is a deeper alone-ness than just being without Rick.
I am learning, sadly, that more often than I care to admit, it is better to just love someone from afar.
I tell myself that people are like the ebbs and flows of the tide - some people come, some people go ...
and some just take the trash out to sea.
You even learn how to love your family.
You wouldn't think this would be so hard.
Yet, it is.
When you became an "our", or a "we", your attention became divided.
Even if you stayed in contact with your family & friends, it was a divided contact.
Now? You aren't the same person as you were before you became a "we".
Yet, no longer are you a "we".
The death of your spouse and life partner changes everything.
Every single thing.
I no longer eat the same way.
I certainly do not watch TV the same way.
Oh how I miss the morning after a show conversations over coffee!
My finances have changed, drastically.
I do not even breathe the same as I used to, not sure if I was breathing for the two of us then - - or now.
My body has gone thru changes these months since he died. I just thought going thru menopause was rough!
Hobbies & interests? Where do I even begin to describe the changes there?
Virtually non-existent for months ... just now finding my way thru the fog and looking for something to occupy my hands, my time, my mind.
My sense of security is gone. No longer do I know without question that someone has my back - - and my heart.
The realization of being alone hits hard, time after time.
As I lay down at night ... and as I rise up in the mornings.
This has given me a, shall we say "unique", sense of humor.
I wonder if I am even still a woman at times.
Then when the woman in me began to wake up, thoughts & desires finding their way thru the darkness of grief - I wish she had just stayed asleep, quiet, and left me the Hell alone.
This is a life that I never asked for ... I don't want it either.
I was a good wife - a damn good wife.
For 35 years.
I don't do this hard, gut wrenching, life changing widow walk very well ... at all.
So, YES - we LEARN to love, to laugh & to live again.
It doesn't come easy.