When I was first dating my second husband, I told him that some of the grief over my husband's death was from what was lost for the future. All the dreams that we had shared, that would now not come true. For me that included retiring to Wisconsin, which we probably would have planning to do in three years when the boys graduated from high school. It was also our dream for our sons to go to college in Wisconsin.
My new husband told me that this observation had a profound impact on him. It had never struck him that you could grieve for what hadn't yet occurred. I am finding myself now grieving all of what has been lost in my second marriage - the plans, hopes and dreams we shared.
It is funny because I was doing something in the family room and an old episode of Frasier was on - a show I did not watch. This one had Frasier taking a call from a woman who had broken up with her boyfriend eight months before and could not seem to move on and get over him. Frasier pointed out to the woman that she was mourning the life she wasn't going to have and she needed to let go of that dream and move on.
I came across similar advice in a book I was reading by life coach Rhonda Britten, author of "Fearless Loving." She also proclaims that those of us grieving what we hoped for the future, need to let it go and concentrate on our lives in the here and now. She says, "It comes down to a willingness to get over what you think should have happened and accept the reality of the present moment." Very well-said, wise words but as I keep on finding, much easier to think about and agree with than actually follow.
I read books like this and I think the expectation is to be able to adapt the new way of acting right away - but in reality it is a long process. Some days are better than others. So you reflect on the vanished dreams and mourn them and then try to shift back to the present and focus on that. A back and forth, give and take road, weaving and curving instead of going in a straight line.
Today I am grateful for:
1. Still having a job (they haven't fired me yet).
2. Being able to sleep at night.
3. That I haven't had an emotional breakdown.
4. That I can still smile and laugh.
5. That I can think of the dreams I had with both of my husbands and feel tremendous loss that they will not come true but also gladness that I even had them in the first place!