When we think of being widowed, we most often think of the sadness, the loss and the loneliness created in the wake of our loss. We reflect on what once was. We imagine and recreate what could have been 'if only'. We long to be transported back in time to when life seemed sweeter and kinder.
Rarely do we think of the blessings we have gained. The lessons we have learned. The better people we have become.
I know that since Jeff died, I take the positives in my life less for granted. This is not to say that I don't still grumble like a petulant child when life doesn't provide what I feel it should. But I am certainly more aware of the amazing and awe-filled things that those touched by trauma are gifted with. I notice the small crystalline patterns created in the dog's water dish and marvel at their beauty. I realize that I am either going crazy or have been struck by some seemingly silly, glowing warmth that makes me....grateful that there is still breathtaking beauty in the world.
I realize now just how lucky I was to have found such love in my life and even when we argued over who's way was the 'correct' way to load the dishwasher, I was blessed.
I feel the gift of knowing that life does not revolve around 'what' but 'who'. This fact was probably known to me before losing Jeff....but not internalized. I still have the occasional longing for a pair of coveted gumboots, but I realize that in 15 years those same boots may lay lifeless and forgotten in my shoe rack....and those who I actually love may be lifeless as well....but certainly not forgotten.
I feel a peace that I did not once possess. I know that I cannot change much of what happens in the world or my life. Events happen. Losses occur. I cannot dictate these happenings. I can only control my own actions. This brings my soul a form of solace. Worrying will not change what may happen. I can only face what has happened.
Although life is less sweet without my love sharing it with me, it is sweetened somewhat with the realizations and epiphanies my loss has opened my eyes to. And I am grateful for these blessings.