In Defense of Living Again After Loss
If the article title sounds a bit baffling…it’s because that it is a bit baffling.
Why should anyone feel as though they have to defend living again after loss?
I am not sure – but unfortunately, it is happening.
Many survivors of loss find themselves defending an eventual continuity of life in the ways that they see fit.
This “defense” begs an important question:
After one life ends, should all semblance of living an abundant life come to an end?
Jacque Hansen** is a beautifully outspoken member of the widowed community. She recently shared a very insightful post on social media in answer to the increasingly apparent need to defend one’s Healing Journey after suffering a loss (bracketed additions are for clarification):
“It’s crazy to me that what people find so offensive [are]widows and widowers who find happiness after tragedy.[Widowed] in many of my widow groups [on social media] are finding they are having to defend that their heartbreak and grief still exist and they haven’t forgotten their late spouse even though they are in love again or are traveling a lot or are enjoying new and different activities.
Grief and joy can coexist. The length of devastating outward public despair doesn’t equate to the amount of love that was lost. We didn’t ask to be widowed and most of us had great marriages. Why should we be without a partner in life if we desire one?”
Over and over, I receive questions that begin with the words,“Is it OK to…”. Is it OK to go to a movie and laugh; is it OK to take a vacation; is it OK to celebrate holidays (any of them); is it OK to pursue hobbies and interests; it is OK to continue to wear wedding rings, is it OK to take wedding rings off; is it cheating on a late beloved if one dates again or falls in love again or remarries…
The “Is it OK” list is lengthy.
Regardless of who or what you have lost, the answer is now and will always be … IT IS OK. It’s OK to take vacations, change jobs or careers, change homes, change cities, states or countries; travel the world, seek companionship, fall in love again, remain on your own if that is your choice…and thisparticular list is lengthy as well.
Let me ask you this…if the situation was reversed and you were the one who had left your loved ones behind, what would you want for them? What kind of healing journey and future would you want them to pursue? Wouldn’t you be the first to say, “It’s OK”? I am guessing that your answer would be “yes”. I am also betting that whatever you would wish for your loved ones is what they would wish for you as well. Keep that personal vision in your mind whenever you (or anyone else) question whether something – anything – is “ok”.
Another lesson that I love to teach concerns the so-called “appropriateness” and/or the ability to love again because it is such a hot-button issue. Let’s begin with a newsflash:
The capacity of the human heart is infinite.