Have you noticed your references – ‘before’ and ‘after’ your loved one passed away? It seems to be a natural default for the widowed, especially when the loss is fresh. We view the past through the lens of grief; our mourning reflected in our language.
Though the words didn’t change (‘before Robert died…’), eventually the phrase didn’t get caught in my throat. Acceptance set in, the terminology began sounding more organic. And I’ve been very fortunate to have adopted another reference: ‘since meeting Billy…’ The words sound so lovely, that my lips can’t help but say them with a smile.
But well ‘before Billy,’ I was able to put my past into perspective. Actually, I found myself deliberately not referencing my late husband, the barometer shifting from Robert’s death to Paula’s life.
Regardless of where the road takes you and who you meet along the way, you reach a phase that’s peaceful. Comforting. (So this is what ‘moving on’ feels like.) You don’t need to have found love after loss to get there. In fact, I suspect most of us need to start with ‘me’ before finding ourselves in another ‘we.’ Robert will always be a part of my past; but I no longer need the language of loss to define my life.