grief healing Jun 21, 2022

Loving Again

David Knapp

 The place a beloved spouse has in one’s heart is a special place and there is only room for one. When that spouse dies, it leaves a hole that seems to penetrate the soul. The ache feels permanent.

As is true with most aspects of grief, dealing with this hole is an individual thing. No one copes with it the exact same way as others might. Some cling to that hole in their heart for years. Others, within months, look to refill it with another person at any cost. While most slowly watch that deep ache of loss heal. They eventually find another special person who can come into that favored position of the heart.

Following the death of Ruth, my first wife, I became consumed with the grieving process. It stands to reason that one of the later components was to figure out what to do with the hole in my soul. As I confronted this hole and defined what it all entailed, I began to think, “I wonder who the Lord will bring for me next.” So, instead of searching for someone I just started to watch for someone that God would bring along.

A month after I allowed myself to find closure to Ruth’s place in my heart, friends introduced me to a widow lady named Judith. I’m here to tell you that when I saw her, I was spellbound. I mean I thought all those emotions and feelings had died. Nope! It took me a few weeks to realize that I could love again and it was okay. We were married the next year.

Fast forward twenty years and I was facing the loss of my spouse once more. The pain of that hole in my soul seemed harder to bear because I knew what it was like to go through the process of grief and loss. Ruth and I never talked much about my life after her death. But I knew she would expect me to marry again because I was still young and had kids who needed a mother. Judith and I, however, talked about it quite a bit during the months prior to her death. She always brought the subject up. I didn’t want to think about it. She practically commanded me to marry again.

At Judith’s funeral a well-meaning friend approached me and declared that he knew I, “would find another wife in my life.” The timing of that statement couldn’t have been more wrong! I did not want to think about that.

I leaned into my grief for the months to follow — once again.

Ten months later I found myself actually searching for someone to be my beloved spouse. Crystal and I met online. We communicated for a short while and then met in person. She (laughingly) remembers some of our conversations being somewhat like a job interview. I guess by then I had a pretty good idea what I was looking for. She was it! My love for her grew and blossomed.  We were married the next year.

Like I said, everyone’s experiences can be so different when a beloved spouse dies. My experience about loving again can be summed up in two statements. 1) It can indeed happen. 2) It is a lot of fun to love again. 

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