With the death of a loved one, particularly the one with whom you had imagined spending the rest of your life, it is easy to fall into the trap of seeing that the story has come to a close, the book has ended.
For many of those widowed, the feeling of loss becomes overwhelming. The death not only takes away their life partner, and the daily support and love they gave, but everything that they had imagined for the future, the plans, the goals, the expectations of what will be, they have also been lost. For those people who, up until that point, spent their lives working for, and saving for, a special future the impact of having that future taken away seems particularly cruel and unfair.
It is difficult to realise that the passing of a loved one is not the end of the book of your life, but the end of a chapter. There will, of course, be a pause, a space, a change of pace and direction. Those precious times that came before are part of your story, such an important part. They won’t be forgotten. The events from those early chapters will have defined you, and who you have become. The memories will always be there but the future now has to be rewritten.
If you have children you will realise that they still have a future, even on the passing of a parent. You would not want them to give up at a young age when there is so much life to live ahead. You will need to demonstrate that the future is bright, full of hope, and optimism. It might seem selfish but remembering that, whatever age you are, there is always a future for you too. It won’t be the future you had imagined, nothing like you had planned, but you must be ready to accept this. Being trapped in a state of endless regret and looking back, longing for what was once will stop you from looking forwards and starting the journey of forging and discovering a new future.
Moving from a time where you may have made sacrifices for the sake of your spouse, or loved one, to one where you can be rather more selfish is a tricky adjustment. One of the hardest things is worrying about what other people will think about you when you do this. Remember that moving forwards in your own life, whether that be with things, places, hobbies, or new love does not mean that the past was unimportant, that you don’t care, that you have forgotten.
Remember the past, but live for the future.