I heard myself telling people at the wake and funeral how lucky I felt. Yes, lucky. Robert and I had some wonderful years together for which I was grateful. Despite his alcoholism and other marital struggles, I felt fortunate that love had found me.
Many of Robert’s students told me how he talked about our life together in the classroom. “He was always telling stories about you, his dad and your mother,” said one of the university students with a smile. Communicated in their facial expressions – grief-creased brows of smooth young skin – was Robert’s love for me. How could I not feel lucky? Who wouldn’t savor the validation of love?
I’m hard-wired to see silver-linings and was able to put the past in perspective. Not all of us can do that, or do it after a death.
Some widows may find themselves dwelling on the hurt and pain of their marriage, robbing themselves of the good memories. We make choices even in the thoughts we ponder. Is your brain on angry widow autopilot, defaulting to unresolved issues, resentments, fights? Make a conscious effort and choose to see the good. If I never met Robert I might not be a widow today; but, had we never met, I wouldn’t have had all those great experiences and a relationship full of laughter and love. Perfect? Nah. Problems? Arguments? Ugliness? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Yes.
March is a good time to revisit new year’s resolutions. Lose weight. Get organized. Save money. While others are cutting calories and clipping coupons, some widows have the all-important year-round task of resolving to remember the good. As you adjust to your new life, be determined to appreciate the past. You don’t have to go ostrich. No need for denial. But make room for the good. Remember you’ve been loved and adored – you’re one of the lucky ones.