In a mere 3 months I will have wrapped up my third year of Widowhood, heading onward to my fourth year. Time keeps moving forward, even when you sometimes don't want it to. It's hard to grasp that I've lived so long...without him.
The other day I had a thought, a realization if you may. It was this: Joel and Sarah's dreams/plans for our life are gone, it's now time to figure out Sarah's dreams/plans.
Sounds simple, right? Something I should've already grasped? Not so much. In the back of my mind I've certainly always known this fact. Our plans died when he did.
I've thought it before. I've said it before.
But I realized I had never entertained second part of the thought yet. The part where I start to think of my future, just for me. To plan again, dream again.
Truthfully, the realization broke my heart a little. A piece of me will always mourn the fact that we didn't get to accomplish "our" plans. And even though I will do my best to keep on accomplishing the things we spoke of, it's not the same without him here. That will always make me sad.
Still, why in the midst of my sadness was I feeling...hopeful?
I continued to chew on this realization, let it roll around in my head trying to understand why such a simple thought was nagging at me; then it came.
I'm hopeful because along with the first part of the realization-came the second.
That's the part where I realized I needed to start thinking about some of Sarah's dreams/plans. Why is that significant? It's significant because it shows growth and tremendous healing.
For so long in this journey of Widowhood I was at a standstill. Trying to stay busy, going through the motions. Simply trying to heal my heart, nothing more or less. For the last three years I couldn't even dare to dream. I didn't have the capacity.
I remember telling a girlfriend one day "I am mildly curious about what my future holds for me."
When I made that statement I thought it was such a victory. "Woo hoo, I somewhat care! Not a ton but somewhat!"
I look back on that statement, which I meant wholeheartedly, with such sadness. The truth is, I didn't care very much at all.
About myself. About my dreams. About my future. Because it would be without him, so it didn't matter.
Which brings me to the now and the utter delight that almost to the four year mark, my heart is opening to the point where it wants to dream again. It wants to plan. It's ready to let go of the pain of losing what was and embrace the possibility of what could be.
I'm learning you never move on but you can move forward, even if I do so with a limp because half of me is gone.
Of course that doesn't mean that life is easy now. It's not. It doesn't mean that life is perfect. It's not that either. The loss of my husband left a hole. It will always be there. No matter what. Even as the sting subsides the pain remains.
Even still, my heart is starting to connect with what my mind has always known. "Sarah, you can't live this way forever. YOU are still living. Your life can always seek to honor his, but you still have to live yours. And it's ok to live it well. It's ok."
One thing I know more than anything? That thought makes him proud. So very proud.
I don't know what all of this means for my future, I'm just in the beginning stages of figuring it all out. It might take me awhile to develop my dreams, to feel myself out and be open to the adventures that are ahead. It may be years in the making and that's ok.
What's most important is the awakening has begun. The remaking has begun.
***The third anniversary of my husband's death is July 23rd. Each year this community of readers comes together for a day to honor his life by Choosing Joy. I will be releasing a blog soon with more details. To get a glimpse of the Choose Joy project click HERE.