Wednesday, October 18th 2017

How to forgive the past, and learn to love again

“Young widow” was a label that I found repulsive. Beyond the label a new love happened

sue and acetteGUEST COLUMN: SUE FREEMAN — When I lost my first husband in 2006, I wondered what changes would come next. Instantly, I was a single parent raising a three-year-old girl. I had mountains of my husband’s paperwork to contend with, which took me upwards of six months to complete.

Most days I didn’t know if I was coming or going, especially during those first few months. Between answering questions as to the “why” of his death, and my attendance at two rounds of very helpful grief support groups, I started to feel a little more like my feet were on the ground again.

My “sisters in support” was training offered through the Coping Centre, based in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada. We talked, ate well, cried and ranted through our newly-imposed circumstances.

Some of us revealed hard truths, like suicide, and years of marital neglect and emotional abuse. One woman talked about what it was like to face taking care of several children, and having a new lifestyle not of her original choosing. But she did so with such hope and grace that I felt truly inspired by her presence in our group.

I also secretly danced at night, after my daughter was asleep and tucked away. I sought dancing as both an emotional and physical release to stress — rather than drinking or take drugs.

I made sure I had lots of water, music that didn’t blare out the neighbors, and pictures of my late spouse to talk to when things got rough. It was my way of processing the pain of the loss by filling my life with things we had liked and shared together in our early years — music, movement and creativity.

acetteAfter my self-created movement therapy, I would watch my daughter sleep.  Then I’d write, and read anything I could, regarding coping with change. Laundry and dishes were plowed through.  I also fit in doing web research, preparing for new workshops and writing coaching notes for clients that I serve as an emotional intelligence coach.

Even with many years of meditation, therapy, and coaching under my belt, being a “young widow” was a label that I found repulsive.

My life with my husband, had ended and therefore, changed. I had a new chapter to write and live, along with the responsibilities that single-parenting entails. My determination amazed those in my day-life, but at night I could still find myself weeping into a pillow, wondering how to cope with being alone, lonely, and single.

Ironically, I started dating again earlier than my family or friends expected. They told me I was insane, as I jumped into the dating scene via internet contacts. Being nearer 40 than 20, I assured them that my grief was not clouding my judgment; rather, it crystallized what I did, and didn’t want, from a coffee friend or potential partner.

Love and respect were paramount, along with honesty. Bank accounts and lifestyles were not a concern, as I wanted to remain as independent as long as possible before merging households with a new beau.

Then. . . I met and married a man so beyond my scope of “wow” that we are still honeymooning since our July 2008 nuptials. We say ‘I love you’ and ‘I appreciate you’ every day.

little heartsWe work in different cities and regroup every weekend to celebrate our kids, pets, and of course, our sweet selves. I honor the past by living well in the now. This is what I want our kids to see and experience through me, and through us.

Forgiving the past and not forgetting what I learned is the way I see my health and light returning. For all those who have lost someone they once loved and appreciated, remember the best and let go of the rest. Peace out to those people who still struggle with their grief — this too shall change for you, when you least expect it.

Sue Freeman is a certified emotional intelligence coach, Usui Reiki Master and spiritual seeker. She is currently studying to be a transpersonal psychotherapist in Toronto,  Canada.  Check out her writing, coaching and workshops at her site.

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2 Comments on “How to forgive the past, and learn to love again”

  1. Hi Sue, Thanks for sharing your highly personal story with your fellow Soul's Coders! It sounds like you went through the fire and came out on the other side. All the best to you and your family!

  2. I read it and it helped me so much. people can make the world, a heaven and a land of peace and happiness if we spend a few hours a day for others, patiently and with tolerence.



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