A close friend dropped by recently and brought her mom, looking a bit older than when I’d last seen her. But who wouldn`t look older ` or at least look their years for the first time` when one`s spouse of 50+ years had recently died. No doubt the year-long battle with cancer added more lines than it had the right to, to her soft skinned face. After the funeral, the house was filled with relatives, flowers, grandchildren`s laughter, but no voice of Papa.
He was a master magician, I heard at his eulogy, from one of his grandchildren. But even this magic trick was too much for him to handle.
I don`t know how people move on from this loss but I`ve helped people close to me, supporting them however they needed me to.
The first time was with a long-time friend whose husband died at 47 years old. And also with my brother whose wife passed away at age 37 years.
Our time to move through the grief stages and beyond must take us as long as it needs to.
This like so many things in life, is a a highly personal decision nobody else can take away from you.
As an organizer, I`ve assisted mostly women, in their late 50`s/early 60`s, going through their husband`s things. Sometimes I’m there helping during that first round, and sometimes it’s awhile later, a second time since he passed away. And, it`s taken anywhere from 3-10 years before she calls for assistance.
In her own time, she begins to feel she needs to create the next chapter of her life, albeit without her husband. Some are thinking ahead to a move to a different town or state. Some don`t know what`s next. They are staying put, but their children are grown, and it`s time to make a new life, or at least get on with the next chapter.
It`s not a chapter they expected == someone inserted this one, and it`s not the original writer of their life story.
``& We are in the business of possibilities, of helping clients `& to bring forth their potential and open up their range of choices about their lives`&
Sometimes the weight of the past and the uncertainty of the future prevent our clients from moving forward or seeing themselves in a different light.”
A beautiful quote from Appreciative Coaching: A Positive Process for Change *
As we begin working through her husband’s things, I am so privileged to hear memories, stories, the essence of who he was.
And slowly, I begin to hear about moving on, about a new chapter, as much of the past is let go.
The magic here is to keep what is best, most helpful, most beautiful and loving about the past. Bring this into the present and on into the future, her next chapter.
So what an honor, what a privilege.
Thank you for sharing the stories, the memories, what he was like, and yes, for some, what made you crazy `but what wouldn`t you give for the option to tell him so again.
But “press on,” as my Latin professor used to say. And good for you, for seeing yourself in a different light, even if the light is now just a glimmer.
Keep at it. We are all here for a purpose and your next chapter’s purpose is right around the corner.
*Authors: Orem, Binkert, Clancy. Ref p. 59.