Thriving: Life Beyond Widowhood
Today’s inspiring story comes to us from Maureen Lancaster in Ontario, Canada.
As odd as it may seem, from the beginning of my marriage I had prepared, as best as one can envision, for the fateful day of widowhood as my husband had been living with a long-term heart condition.
In what seemed to be the prime of his life, a time of retirement, a turn for the worst took place 2,000 miles from our home; five days into a three-week driving vacation. Three stress-filled hospital days later he was gone and I became a widow at the age of 56. With his cremated remains held safely within my arms, I stepped gingerly across the threshold of our marital home only to find that another journey was about to begin…my journey back to wholeness; back to self.
When we find ourselves at a loss of what to do with our lives, when we come to the understanding that we have lost our balance, we need to search out that which will help us become whole again; to find the resources that will resonate with our unique song…we must reconnect to the essence of who we are. There are the practical issues of widowhood that must first be dealt with as there is no easy way around the legalities placed upon us. Then there are the reactions and condolences of others to endure, the new routines we must adjust to as we find ourselves living without our partner and eventually, there are the milestone anniversaries to move through in the years that follow.
But it is the journey to the depths of our sorrow, our pain that is the most crucial of them all to endure and as daunting as those first days may have seemed, they were cushioned by shock and buffered by supporting family and friends.
It’s those days that unravel themselves, each week-upon-week, that will continue to challenge our outlook, that will ask of us who we wish to be…and fear will become our taskmaster, that ruthless antagonist and if we allow, our guide, into reclaiming our empowerment as an individual once again. For until we allow for our strength as an individual to take hold, we will struggle with doubt, with insecurity. We will continually need to recognize and acknowledge the influence of fear’s hold upon our recovery and ability to thrive beyond basic survival, for fear makes us give up our power, providing a reactive response to situations instead of a proactive one.
I am thriving!
If I can leave you with one piece of advice it’s that we are all given choices in our lives about which path to take; that we all author the book of our lives, each chapter folding as we age, building upon each new experience that comes our way and that in order to overcome adversity our choices must be made from a place of love instead of fear.
As much as you would think that we would always opt for choices made with love, we must acknowledge that fear will seek to get the upper hand by leading us to believe that what we are experiencing is something out of our control. I know that once I emerged from my time of mourning and ventured out into the world at large, I found that fear was waiting just around the corner; waiting to creep back into my life and send me scurrying back into the darkness.
I realized that if I let the light of my potential shine strongly into the face of that fear, it shrank back, and allowed me to step forward, one step at a time, until I began walking my path, on my own, with my head held high.
– Maureen Lancaster
If you found Maureen’s story inspiring, please leave a comment for her below. Thank you.
Thriving: Life Beyond is a series of inspiring stories from everyday people who are thriving through a life challenge, adversity, illness or tragedy. These brave souls share their story with you to let you know thriving is possible. Submit your story to be shared here on The Wellness Universe.