No, but taking action could start to repair it. If you had a broken furnace, you wouldn’t sit back and say, “I’ll just give it time and it should be warming up my house in no time”. Or if your arm was broken you wouldn’t wait for the bone to heal on its own. You would take action by going to the doctor and perhaps getting it set in a cast. Then that would be followed by physical therapy. You would take action. You would take the necessary steps to be 100% again.
So, why would anyone think that time would mend a broken heart, and after a few years of sitting back and watching the world go by, that everything would be rosy again? You need to play an active role in repairing your broken heart. And, the actions that you take may differ from what works for other people. Why? Because each person that has suffered a loss has a unique story and a unique relationship with the person they’ve lost. The actions that you implement today should be unique to your situation and can open up a world of possibilities for you in the future. The actions that I took to start repairing my heart may not work for everybody, but it was what I needed for my own situation. Here are a few things that put me on the road to recovery. Perhaps they will help you too.
Discover Who You Are
By this I mean, take a really deep look at your life. Do you have burning passions that have not been pursued? Do you have a job that excites or fulfills you, or is it just hum drum? What are your likes and dislikes? What have you tolerated over the years and are now no longer willing to put up with? Are you satisfied with your current health status? Are your current relationships healthy? Your life as you knew it has been turned upside down. This is a great time to reinvent your life on your terms.
Give Yourself Permission
Your grieving is done at your pace. You don’t need to answer to anybody. Try a new class or hobby. Start dating when you’re ready. Go back to school and perhaps start a new career. You trying new things and moving forward is nobody else’s business. Everybody grieves differently and some people can move forward quickly while others will take a bit longer. You will truly never be over it. But you can take steps that will lead you to a more grateful and positive life without negating the memory of your spouse. It’s your journey and you need to own it.
Accept Yourself as a “ME" Instead of a “WE”
You may be asking yourself, “Gee, why don’t my couple friends call me anymore to go out or come over for drinks? Did they only like me when I was a “WE” with my spouse?” This is a tough one and it can be hurtful. In your eyes, it makes you feel like a third wheel and it’s hard to understand. Unfortunately, we can’t change the behavior of others. But, we can change how we react and how we behave. You could explain to your couple friends that your feelings are hurt and then move on. But for me personally, I never said anything to them. I took the opportunity to meet new friends. And let me tell you, I have met some wonderful people that I know will be my friends for life.
Make “YOU” your Top Priority
When we suffer a loss, it’s very easy to curl up, draw the curtains, and shut out the world. We find ourselves skipping meals, ignoring phone calls, putting housework on hold and staying in our pajamas for days on end. Doing all of these things does not make you feel better. It’s important to take care of yourself. If you aren’t in tip top shape physically and mentally, then the other parts of your life will begin to suffer. Get out and take that walk. Write a journal entry every day. Try yoga or meditation. These things will release those feel-good chemicals into your brain and help you feel more focused and happy.
Give Beyond Yourself
After the fog had lifted, I found what really helped me was to give back and help others. Whether it was attending grief groups and sharing my story and recovery with others or volunteering for an organization, it gave me purpose again. My purpose was to show people that living through the unimaginable, isn’t a death sentence for us left on earth. It’s a chance to reclaim your power and turn your loss into a motivator for productive change.
I hope by reading this, you too can reclaim your power and move forward to start enjoying the life you deserve.