I have the answer.
Yes, 100% there is!
Now I’m not talking about life after death for the person that has died, clearly, I’m talking about ‘is there life after the death of a partner?’
I am on many forums for bereavement and grief, indeed I run my own one on Facebook.
Recently, I’m not sure where the motivation came from, I thought I would write a post asking if people felt that they had grown since the death of their partner.
Here’s what I wrote:
Here’s a (possibly) controversial question, may be more relevant for us who lost partners a few years ago.
How have you GROWN since your partner died?
I know it can sound weird but I was so focused on not letting her death destroy me that I’ve used it to develop myself and grow.
I make decisions better now.
I know what I like in life now.
I’ve taken control of the house and how I want things.
I talk about death and dying lots, I used to completely avoid the subject, which isn’t healthy.
I still miss her terribly and I’m still very much in love with her (but in a different way to when she was alive), yet, at the same time I’m also extremely happy with my life as it is now!
Interested to know if you’ve manage to use this god awful experience in a positive way too?
The forum has nearly 15,000 members worldwide and I was (half) expecting some rather disparaging comments… However I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed with the 100% positive replies.
My ONLY reason for posting this here is to give you hope that there is life after the death of your partner.
There can be joy.
There can be a reason for living.
Here are just some of those comments (I have edited these comments to ensure people are unidentifiable):
Absolutely 100% I have grown! My daughter told me last week that she was SO proud of me and how much I have grown. Made my heart so happy. He made me a better person in our life and he has continued to make me a better person through his death.
He made me a better person in our life and he has continued to make me a better person through his death
I would answer yes. My relationship with my kids is a lot better. My walk with God is better. I stress less, knowing that many of the things I used to worry about are so temporary. I’ve even applied this to my new relationship… I’m a better man overall for it .. I wish I didn’t have to go through this to learn it
My husband has made me a better person and I strive to be more like he was.
I don’t over worry, over think about things I used to. And if my dishes don’t get done because I am sitting outside watching the sunset then so be it, they will get done in the morning. After my husband died, I realized life and living were way more important than dishes.
I am a lot stronger than I thought I was!
I’ve definitely grown, taking care of business that I used to leave to my husband. Making decisions for my family and about our renovation on the house. I’m certain my husband would be happy to see all that I’ve accomplished
He pretty much did everything as far as decision making. I just followed in his footsteps! Now, four years later and without a foot step to follow, I have learned to become independent. I have had to make so many important decisions on my own and with each one made I have become stronger! At first I was scared to death. I had to learn to love myself and believe in myself! He thrust me into this new me. I now am grateful for his gift
I am so much more independent than I was. I know what I want from life and from relationships. I am not scared and worried about things. I know that I can survive the worst, and everything else kinda pales in comparison.
We all survive in different ways. Personal growth is my favorite. Little did I know, even with my husband doing most of the financial and mechanical duties before, after he passed, it was all left up to me to survive. I’m doing just that now. He actually was training me without me even knowing it! I’m keeping the home front going. I have done exactly what he was doing!
I found peace and happiness within myself.
Yep. So much growth here. I did not think I could do certain things without my husband. Now I take care of the house, bills, kids and even went back to school. He was always my biggest cheerleader. He always made me feel smart and confident. I am thankful he gave me the chance to prove my strength.
Yes, I can make decisions on my own, travel alone and enjoy it. I can use a drill and change the bit on it, a lot of odds and ends like that. I am an independent woman
My greatest regret is that I wasn’t this person before. I don’t fear anything any more, as I know I can handle it. I like myself more than I ever did before. I don’t need anyone’s approval or reassurance. I’m developing my own hobbies and interests
In a weird way i think I worry less about stuff
I think I’m a little nicer and less driven
I have changed so much. I can do so much on my own. I have travelled on my own (no tour group). Have bought vehicles, sold a vehicle I have done so much and gained so much confidence in myself.
I’ve become fearless. Why not, what the hell do I have to lose?! Sold the house we built and moved across the country…alone!
Yes! I started skydiving, rock climbing, etc. I want to base jump too. All fear and adrenaline went out the window.
I have grown. I feel it
I don’t fear death now and I never take happiness for granted!
I’ve become so much more confident in all aspects of life. I had no idea I could be and do and create all things possible. His death allowed me to see so many parts of myself I ignored
Yes, this experience of a partner dying is awful.
Yes, I would never wish this on anyone.
But at the same time, there most definitely is life after death… And here’s the proof!]]>
This picture popped up on my Facebook stream today as one of those memories.
When I first saw this photo I got caught up in remembering this holiday, it was the first one away with our new car and we wanted to test it towing a caravan. We made a little trip down to East Dorset for a few days.
Then I saw the date on the photograph, 22nd of February 2013 and I realised that when I took this photograph Claire only had 6 weeks to live.
What’s weird is that I can associate so well into this photograph that I can also associate with the knowledge that I only have six weeks left with my wife. The only thing is that I didn’t know.
It brings it all back. Again!
But that’s the problem with time travel in our head, isn’t it?
We take today’s knowledge and implant it into yesterday’s experiences and end up with a weird mishmash of ‘now’ and ‘then’!
I’m not sure that’s entirely healthy.
So now I have to ask myself, what can I learn from this? If I don’t learn from this experience then I don’t continue to move forwards.
I guess the learning that can be taken is… What will be will be, what will come to pass will come to pass.
We have no control over it.
It will happen whether we welcome it, reject it, rejoice in it or fear it.
So the only option is to accept it.
That means accepting that right now everyone that is dear to me, and even myself, may only have six weeks to live.
The next question is, would I do anything different if I knew that?
This poem was recently shared with me, I simply can’t keep it to myself so have reposted it here. Permission has been obtained.
This is beautiful…
I was never given much to tears
Through most of all my younger years
Weren’t they after all a sign of weakness
An outward telling of inner meekness?
Guys were brought up to show a sterner face
To believe that weeping brought disgrace
If a tiny drop still found its way
We’d wipe it quickly, then we’d say
Something flew into my eye
Or another off the cuff white lie
Watching sad movies with my wife on TV
I’d look at her sometimes and see
Wet tears dripping down her cheek
I’d smile, but knew better than to speak
Now I watch those movies all alone
And those misty eyes are now my own
I look toward her empty chair
Catch myself and realize she’s not there
Once more I feel my eyes begin to fill
To breach the dam and then to spill
But unashamed these days, I let them flow
I can smile through them because I know
Her heart knows no sadness, just rejoicing and pain free
Leaving this world’s worries behind…and her tears here with me…
© Randy E. Richmond – Jan. 25, 2019]]>
Is it really possible to feel sad and feel happy at the same time?
When someone dies we will of course feel extremely sad at the loss as we experience the grief on a daily basis and yet, as life moves forwards and we begin to rebuild our lives then conflict can arise as we try to remember the person that has died and how we feel about them and yet feel happy about the way life is moving forwards.
Being able to hold onto the feelings of happiness about the way life is now and sadness at the death a loved one can seem rather tricky, but holding the sadness and happiness, one in each hand can really help. Recognising that both the feelings of sadness and happiness have the same higher purpose of ensuring that you feel loved can be really comforting, there actually isn’t any confusion, they are both there to do the same thing!
Feeling sad for long periods of time can really affect our mental health and mental condition and lead to depression, acknowledging that we can actually feel good at the same time, without punishing ourselves can be a rather difficult trick to learn, but one that can really help.]]>
Here’s another video to challenge you!
If we’re getting there, how will we know when we are ‘there’?
What will we see, hear and feel when we are there?
And even if you knew what you will see, hear and feel to know that you have arrived ‘there’… There will be more shit to deal with once more!
Getting enough help and support is a great way for coping with bereavement. Sometimes the best way is to get self-help for dealing with grief after losing a loved one is understanding more about the strange stories we tell ourselves about the way our mind works and living truly in the now!]]>
You may feel that the person you know is doing really well and want to offer them encouragement, however just saying to someone they are doing really well is not ‘seeing’ them.
As a human being we all want to be ‘seen’, we all want to be noticed and understood, sometimes when we grieving it can feel extremely lonely. If someone just says, “hey, you are doing really well”, it can feel like we’re not really being noticed, we can feel like “Oh no I’m not, I am struggling enormously and feel terrible”.
Acknowledging how a grieving person feels can help them feel ‘seen’, noticed, and understood and can help them with their grief and loss, particularly coping with grief very soon after the death. Rather than just say our grieving friend is doing well, if we ‘see’ them and notice their pain also this can help them through their difficult times.
Try saying something like, “I see how much you are struggling, I see how much pain you are in, I see how difficult this is for you and yet at the same time I see how well you are doing”, this time our grieving friend has the support and encouragement that they are doing well and we have also noticed the difficulties they are going through – they may now feel ‘seen’ , more understood and better supported.
It seems to me that sometimes we may be able to bring balance to our lives if we write down and take note of all the good things that happen also?
Of course, this won’t take the negative away nor make those things less painful, but I just wonder… Would we feel like our life had more balance?]]>
Like those parachute games the children play, flapping them up and down by little handles on the corners, sometimes you’re completely wrapped up in the darkness of the parachute, sometimes it floats high above you, but it’s always there.
And when it descends it descends with a weight and velocity that completely surrounds you.
It engulfs you. It surrounds you so completely that it becomes all that there is.
All there is is darkness.
As many of you may know Claire absolutely loved the ocean, it was her dream to live by the sea but she died three days after we found a new house just 15 min walk from the beach, she never got to live in it or realise her dream… She is so very nearly made it!
She was also a bit naughty whenever she went to the beach, she used to pick up a pebble, take it home, write on the date and location, then place the pebble in a ‘little shrine to the sea’ in our garden in Hertfordshire. She would very often sit by the shrine, looking at all the pebbles she had collected and remembering the happy times she had spent by the sea. I guess it was her way of anchoring those happy memories, all she had to do was look upon the pebbles and she was back at her favourite beaches around the UK.
When I moved I carefully picked up all of those pebbles and brought them down to Dorset. They’ve been in various places around the garden here but I’ve just built a little planter in the garden as an edible garden and those pebbles have found their way into it.
But those pebbles are beginning to fade.
The writing on them is now almost illegible.
Claire’s touch upon those pebbles is dissipating.
I have a terrible memory, I don’t remember visiting virtually any of the places where she picked up those pebbles… But I do remember her writing on them.
There’s something about the writing fading which seems beautiful. I was tempted to overwrite them to keep the places and dates on them, but that wouldn’t have been Claire’s writing, it would have been mine and so it seemed wrong.
The writing on the pebbles fading is beautiful and yet full of contradictions.
The writing fades but the memories don’t.
The writing fades but Claire’s touch on my life doesn’t.
The writing fades but Claire’s memory doesn’t.
Those beautiful fading pebbles have a meaning, but for now they are keeping it to themselves…
I was just passing comment that Claire also died in a short period of time, 9 hours +/-.
The last time I ever saw Claire I was just arriving home from work, she was leaving the house with her sister on her way up to the hospital because she felt so terrible.
She looked awful.
We sat on the wall together outside our house whilst her sister brought the car round, I genuinely thought she just had a bit of a stomach bug, would go to hospital, they would give her some tablets and she’d be home in a couple of hours.
I kissed her goodbye and said that I would see her when they got home.
I never saw her again.
Bizarrely, the enormity of that single moment has only just really hit me.
A single moment in time, a split-second, a single glance, a whispered word, a knowing look and yet probably the single most important and powerful moment of my life, ever.
And at that moment, I didn’t know it.
Of course I’m fully aware that this life is temporary and that anyone can die at any moment, but I’m just wondering how different life would be if we treated EVERY communication as the last communication we would ever have.
Think about the very last thing you said to someone you love. Now imagine never seeing that person again or ever having the opportunity to say anything more.
You can’t say sorry.
You can’t tell them you love them.
You can’t correct anything that was wrong.
You can do absolutely nothing and have to accept absolutely everything.
How many moments are there which could be exactly like that?
It’s a powerful thought isn’t it?]]>