Clearly, 4 ½ years is far too long to miss the love of your life since society continues to tell me not to miss my wife anymore. The thrust of the conversation is aimed at pushing me to stop talking about missing my wife and get over it! As a result, we all learn to judge our social environment carefully before bringing illness, longing and/or death, if only grief weren’t so powerful.
I feel the weight of grief even more when I think about my next career. Sometimes, I feel it so much that I have to remind myself that the old low self-esteem version of me is gone, and he is now replaced by the new high self-esteem version. However, is the old version of me really gone? If he is gone, then who am I today? Obviously, the older version has a hold on me that is hard to break. Periodically, the grief eases, but then it tightens again. A few months ago, I felt the most confident that I have ever felt. At the time, I found myself thinking, how long is this going to last? Who cares! Just enjoy the new you until the grief returns. Back then I felt grief’s grip loosening, but obviously I am still far from breaking free. On a positive note, the grief feels much less potent than it once did, if only I could make it easier somehow.
I know what I need to do to recover and re-claim the new version of who I am. I need to review and follow my wellness plan vociferously and consistently. Working out, meditation, journaling, eating healthy, psychotherapy and sleep management are all steps towards being a high self-esteem person for the rest of my life. Yet, I don’t think it is realistic to expect me to be in a constant state of high self-esteem because there will always be grief triggers: birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and elementary school events. There will always be moments, and maybe even days when my grief reaches from below and pulls me back down into the negativity that comes from low self-esteem. As I mentioned, the only way to manage negativity is with a robust wellness plan
However, no amount of yoga, sit-ups and kale are going to make my wife reappear. There will always be this hole left by her that may never be re-filled, and, part of me is just fine with this. I don’t think most people find deep, deep love like I once did. I know a lot of people are married, but are they truly experiencing deep, deep love? The sort of love that shapes your heart with scrapes and dents--leaving your valves and arteries changed forever.
It is up to me now to take this marred heart and allow it to strengthen as my self-esteem grows. Like a hockey goalie who becomes more and more confident as his/her equipment is damaged—each dent and scrape represents the wisdom of life experience.