Love after Loss

Tonight I was asked some important questions regarding life and love post loss:

“Knowing you love Matt, how does that change when you welcome someone new into your life? How does that person deal with you talking about your love for your past husband? How do they cope with hearing how much you love and miss this person?”

How has my love changed for Matt? 

This is a question that is hard to elaborate on because I feel like I am limited with my words. There is a feeling that lives in my heart when I think about Matt. Sadness and happiness both live there together, almost in perfect harmony. I am destroyed at the idea that Matt is gone, the man I married and the father to our kids. At the same time I am happy because I had the chance to know who he truly was. I had the chance to live with him and love him. We created two beautiful souls who will live on in his memory. The love I had for him while he was in the physical world was intense, fuelled with strong desires for our future. We had a fierce love, which burned very brightly at times.

Now that he is in spirit form, the physical aspect of our relationship ceases to exist. I no longer get to kiss him or feel his touch. I don’t get to see him laugh or smile or tell a long-winded story. His physical presence and all that he was is gone. How do you hold on to physical when it is no longer available? Sadly, you can’t. What you are left with are memories and sometimes when I try to recall what it was like to physically have him around, my mind can fail me. Life takes hold and so many new moments fill my brain but flashes from our years together will always be a constant in my life as I move forward.

Love to me, is constantly transforming. It takes on new shapes every day and the love I feel is different for those who are in my life. Some days it is front and center and I feel as if my heart will burst. Other days a different feeling or emotion may occupy my mind. At the base of us all is, love. I will always love Matt, for obvious reasons. We shared a wonderful life together. He helped shape me into the woman I am today. For that I am grateful for his existence. The love I have for him now, is a calm love. It is a steady love. It is a different love in the way that I know it will always be there. I don’t feel like I need to fight for this love because I am confident in what I feel in my heart for Matt. It is no longer an intimate love, one that is encouraged with physical touch and attraction. It is a love that says, I will see you again, when this life leaves me. Until then, I will keep you in my heart.

No matter how hard I may try to hold on to the intensity of our relationship, it is just not possible. It would be akin to living in a fantasy world. This idea that no other person will love me the way Matt did; or that I will never find a connection with someone the way I felt connected with Matt, just doesn’t sit right with me. How could that be true? Matt wouldn’t want me to hold on to that belief.

When I decided to enter into a new relationship, I constantly told myself that I cannot compare my past with Matt to my current relationship. Why? It wouldn’t be fair first off. Secondly, I am a different person than I was with Matt. Not entirely but I am. On top of that, the man I date will surely be different than Matt. Not different in a better way, just different. I am not looking to replace Matt. That is a key point to understand. One love cannot erase or eradicate a previous love. Each person needs to be loved differently. Basic needs may be universal, but on a deeper level, no two loves are the same. Love is dynamic, it is always changing.

A new relationship is exactly that, NEW! It is a chance to learn from my past and take those lessons and apply them to my future. That does not mean take my past relationship into my new relationship. That does not mean I am meant to leave Matt behind. What that means is that I should strive to separate the two. Matt is not Peter and Peter is not Matt. So how I go about my current relationship should not resemble how I went about my relationship with Matthew.

Is that easy to do? No. But being hit with such a tragedy, it forced me to reëxamine all aspects of my life.

How does Peter deal with you talking about your love for your past husband? How do they cope with hearing how much you love and miss this person?”

First off let me say, Peter has been open and accepting from day one. He doesn’t “deal” with my love for Matt, he embraces the life I had with Matt.

I spoke to Peter and asked him how he copes with hearing about Matt and he said, “I listen with fascination to learn about the woman I love and the path she took and the people who helped her become who she is today.  Obviously Matt was a big part of her life. There would be a big hole in her story if I did not take the opportunity to learn about her earlier life. I understand as best I can, that when something or someone you love is taken away from you, love still exists.  Love is not that simple, not that cut and dry. It is not always easy. But I don’t want easy. I want real.”

One of the first things he told me when I explained to him about my loss, was that he never wanted me to hide my love or sadness for Matt. He asks questions, he reads my blog, he holds me when I cry and I tell him that I miss Matt. He has never once tried to deny my past or tell me to move on. He is empathetic and listens to me when I add to a story, “oh Matt use to do that” or “Matt would have said that.” If Peter, denied my life with Matt, he would be denying me and my kids. He would be denying all the progress I have made. He would be denying me the right to love after loss.

It has not been an easy road for Peter. Hearing and reading my stories sent his mind reeling. It is hard to grasp the idea that at age 28 and as a mother of two young children, how I could become a widow. It is not a life many are accustomed to hearing about. But he takes it in stride. Just as each day is an opportunity to grow, we are both growing together. We are both walking on new ground. The good news is that as we move forward, we are committed to helping each other be the best people we can be. Having that love and support encourages me to reach new heights.

It is through love, I will continue to heal.

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