My long walk began on a wintry day in December 2004, as my precious husband lay dying in my arms in a cold hospital room. It happened so quickly, I didn’t get to say goodbye, and that still haunts me. Though I was surrounded by my loving daughters and their husbands, the aloneness I felt was overwhelming. My heart, my spirit, was gone from inside me, leaving me feeling lifeless and cold. There was a gaping wound in my chest where my heart should be that was a physical ache and would remain there for a long time to come.
I was beginning the longest, hardest walk of my entire life. As any widow can tell you, the transition from being a happily married woman to a widow is a daunting walk indeed, and one fraught with not only loneliness but fear and uncertainty, too.
Unfortunately, unlike with some parts of our body, a cast can’t be put around a broken heart to help it heal. Only time can do that, and time will not be rushed. Our heart is so heavy, we think we will never be able to laugh again. But in time, we will. And we think we can never feel real joy again, but in time, we will.
The first two or three days seemed like a dream, a horrid nightmare. But after the funeral was over, reality set in. Everyone gone, the deafening silence crept around me. The empty recliner next to mine was a stark reminder that this was going to be a very long walk indeed to rejoin the real world, so it helped some when I removed it from the room.
I found myself gravitating to others who had lost loved ones, and they were such a comfort to me. If we allow others to hold our hand on this long walk back to reality, it will be an easier walk, and someday, when the wounds in our hearts heal, there will be room for love again. At the beginning of our walk, the mere thought of loving another is unthinkable, in fact repulsive, but for many, that too will be possible with time’s miraculous healing power.
A barren heart is not desirable, because the human heart is designed to hold love, thrives on love.
I was so fortunate that someone else who had also suffered a grievous loss held out his hand to me, and together, we found there was room aplenty in our hearts for our wonderful new love.