September 16, 2020

Support for a friend

 I got a very emotional and sweet email this week from a recent widow asking for advise on how to move forward after loss. She too had a compounded situation, and didn’t find out about her husband’s affair until the day after he passed away. She has told no one—even her children—and feels very trapped and alone.

My heart ached as I listened to this sweet women describe a pain I knew all too well. She put it perfectly when she said, “The pain of losing him is unbearable, but the trauma of finding out about his one hard to put into words. I don’t even know where to start.” 

She kept asking how she would ever learn to breath again—to see herself as a human. 

The news of infidelity—no matter what the context—stabs you at the core. It shatters memories you once thought were sacred. It shakes your bedrock of who you were...and who you feel you now are. It is a pain that runs so deep and mocks the thought of anything lasting forever. 

Now having that coupled with losing a person to complicates the natural grief process and sends you into a whirlwind of hatred and fear you never knew existed. A bipolar dance of grieving the life and love of a person you adored with waves of feeling the ultimate betrayal of a person you now want to hate...with no end in sight. 

I know way too many of you know this moment in one way or another. Grief—whether in death or betrayal—has similar patterns of pain and loneliness and requires a journey of healing and a constant fight to move forward. 

No matter what your story of infidelity or losing a spouse to death is...that pain has been real, it has been hard, and it has been lonely. Please know you are not alone. You are not a failure. You are not at fault, and you will get through this. 

“So how do I move on?”That’s the question she wants to know. With her permission, we have a few questions we want help answering. So widow friends and friends who have grieved the memories of a relationship now torn and shattered by have you moved on? She is trying to find answers to both. As healing both of these pains and losses will need their own time and their own journey. 

Every story is different—but so many can explain the process of their healing from it in ways that can help ignite others to find peace and a fire of perseverance. That’s why they call it sisterhood or brotherhood (these clubs that life throws us into)...not because we have all the answers for each other, but because we can give each other enough hope to fight to find the answers for ourselves. 

Please share any thoughts you have (even if you haven’t experienced the same loss and struggles, but have watched from another angle or have wisdom to share from other life experiences) What were the first steps to finding yourself again? How have you used your faith to help you through? What advise do you have for someone who—in some way—has been thrown onto a path where you have walked, a life with a story you didn’t choose? What have you found through this journey that has strengthened you: Tools? Advise? Beliefs about yourself or the world that have helped you find courage to move forward? What has helped you the most? How have you changed through the process? How have you found the strength to move forward even when it has been hard? 

Thank you in advance for all the light you can share. Feel free to message me privately if you want me to post your thoughts without it being linked to your name. You guys have always been a great support to me, and I am happy this can be a place where we can support each other through this unknown, super hard, amazing, crazy, happy, unbearable, joyful thing we all call life. 


MM said...

I watched the movie YES MAN and was inspired to pick myself off my closet floor and move forward with my sense of self worth intact. It was a conscious choice. The temptation to close yourself off and shut everyone out is huge after an unexpected betrayal. Because the ground has suddenly been ripped out from under you, you feel you can’t ever trust anyone ever again, including yourself. But if you can force yourself to say YES to living, YES to possibilities, YES to opportunities, YES to making connections with others and with the world around you, you will find some healing. Fake it til you make it. Mourn the life you thought you had, be grateful for the love and loyalty you thought you had, but accept your new reality and move on by creating new memories, new traditions, and new connections. It takes time and you will struggle with your emotions (a lot), and you may feel as though you will never ever get past this trauma...but when you decide to let the darkness drain, the light will come again. It’s a process. Choose Happy and Make It Happen.

Benilynn said...

I think this is very good advice! Though I have not lost a spouse to death or an affair.

Brittany Poulton said...

Pray to see him how God sees him. Seeing him as God sees him changed absolutely everything about the situation and my perspective. I wish I could hug you because the infidelity is painful enough. Adding his death to it must be unbearable. So much love to you.

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