My neighbor Marguerite died on Monday of cancer. She was 57 years old. I didn't find out until Tuesday morning around 8 a.m. Two hours later I got in my car to go to Pilates class and blew right through a stop sign and almost crashed right into another car. I was able to stop about 2 inches before hitting metal. I wasn't thinking about the road I was on or the fast moving steel I was driving; I was thinking about how I had just seen Marguerite the day before, and how sad I felt to think of Rob at the very, very beginning of the long road of recovery from the loss of a spouse.
Rob and Marguerite were a very romantic couple, very obviously completely in love with one another. In the 15 years that I have lived across the street from them, I had only seen them display love, affection and contentment with one another. Ugh. How will Rob manage without his beloved Marguerite: gardener extraordinaire, gourmet cook, feisty business woman, full-spirited lover of life and woman of distinctive manner and grace?
I think Rob is going to be OK, and here's why:
He had a wonderful marriage and he knows it. He knows that he loved well and was loved well in return.
When Marguerite experienced a recurrence of breast cancer in 2009, twelve years after her first bout with it, I never saw either of them show bitterness, anger or denial. They were accepting and hopeful.
Rob knows how to laugh. He knows that perspective and humor can take the rough glass edges off of pain and sorrow.
He is already reaching out to others. He's open to the abundant support that is ready and waiting for him.
He knows that despite the incredible loss he's just experienced, he was incredibly lucky to have had a wonderful marriage.
It is painful for me to think about Rob being at the very beginning of his loss when I know so well how long the journey to renewed happiness can be. But at the same time, I feel like I just know that he'll be OK. I remember very well how I promised myself five years ago that I would not let Ken's death destroy me. I knew I would have to overcome the loss of him and our marriage so that I could honor the life that I was so lucky to have.
What about you? Do you know that you'll be OK? How do you know it?
Take 5 minutes to write about why you know you're going to be all right. Even if you have doubts, this is the time to be confident. Remind yourself of your strength. Let your words remind you of your resilience.
- Jill Schacter
- My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.