What Do You Do When Your Beloved Dies? - Love Is For Everybody

What Do You Do When Your Beloved Dies?

In a long, loving relationship, there will be many exciting, giddy moments. And maybe this thought has struck you: I’d probably be spending the rest of my life with this person. Happily.

But what if death has other plans and takes your beloved away?

Whether death was sudden or because of a lingering illness, this can be devastating, frightening, and confusing.

By this time, you’ve established a routine in your life. Maybe he brews coffee each morning at 6. Maybe he drives you to the salon on Mondays at 10am. Or maybe you watch TV together everyday at 6pm. And on certain nights at certain times you make love.

Suddenly, your calendar is blank. You have the cream, but noone is brewing coffee. You’re ready to go, but there’s no one to drive you to the salon. The TV’s on, but there’s no one to discuss the show with. Finally, you’re feeling sexy--but you’re alone in the bedroom.

Your life’s routines are no more.

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I recently had lunch with a man in his 80s who just lost his wife. Someone asked if he misses her. He said. “Yes, because now there’s no one to share the apple with.”

If you’re suffering from loss, yes, apples can be pretty big once you don’t have someone to share it with.

What do you do when your beloved suddenly dies?

So what now?

There will be grief and it will consume you.  There will be days that just pass you by. There will be days when you think you've cried yourself dry but the tears keep on coming. You’ll keep on staring at that apple, knowing fully well you can’t finish one yourself. While grief may consume you, acceptance will set you free. It will not erase grief, it will not heal you completely, but it will allow you to move on. 

Part of acceptance may be confronting an unwanted question: Do you still want a relationship? You will likely put off answering it, but soon you will have to decide. Even a no decision is a decision as it is a vote for being single.

There will be grief and it will consume you.  There will be days that just pass you by. There will be days when you think you've cried yourself dry but the tears keep on coming. You’ll keep on staring at that apple, knowing fully well you can’t finish one yourself. While grief may consume you, acceptance will set you free. It will not erase grief, it will not heal you completely, but it will allow you to move on. It's ok not to be ok.

Part of acceptance may be confronting an unwanted question: Do you still want a relationship? You will likely put off answering it, but soon you will have to decide. Even a no decision is a decision as it is a vote for being single.

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If you want to remain single, that can be a good choice. You can focus on our kids (if you have them), or nieces, or friends, or your career. Kids may eventually bring grandkids, and for most people there is a special joy in that. If you chose to focus on your career, it may bring you accolades and if you find nobility in your work, it will give you more reason to love life. The key is to keep busy and find something to focus on something not completely related to your lost beloved. You will have new routines. You’ll learn that you’re leaning more on your family or career or faith.

You may yet find that you still have a lot of love to give, and more people to give it to. You are single, but you are not alone.

If you choose to be in a relationship, though it can go both ways. You may find that you’re blessed to have a second (or third, etc) chance. You may have new routines and start drinking tea instead of coffee.

Or you’ll be endlessly comparing the current one with the past. This is unfair to you as the past will not return, and this is unfair to the other party as he has no chance to meet your expectations.

If you’ve built a fortune and got into a relationship with a not-so-rich, younger mate you’ll stir a hornet’s nest. It doesn’t matter how real your relationship is: people will judge you. If some are expecting to have a share of your wealth when you die, expect animosity from many of them.  If what you have is real, you have to prepare to fight for it and maybe cut off rumor-mongers and haters from your life.

And don’t get married just because everybody expects or advises you to. Unless you’re a queen and marrying a foreign prince is the only way to save your empire.

Whether you want to remain single or dive right in to a new relationship is ultimately about you. Do what your think is right for you. There is no right answer. You can be in a relationship and still be miserable. Same with being single. You can be unattached but happy.

Just remember: Love yourself. Keep an open mind. And hope for the best.

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