Reflections of Ourselves

Less Hope

Death is very similar to childbirth – except the payoff is more like a debt. All things before it are gone and life is completely transformed because this time someone is gone. Harry’s death was both tragic and beautiful. It erased my anger and frustration at the disease he had and replaced it with an epic sense of loss unparalleled in my almost 50 years of experience. I can’t even describe the devastation I felt. It transformed me. Like seeing into the eyes of your child for the first time…you are forever changed. Death is similar. There is no going back. Life is forever different.

So while birth is very hope FULL…death often caused by such a profound sense of loss feels at times very hope LESS.

After more than a year since his passing I’m finding that I’m still battle worn. I’m tired and nursing my wounds a bit behind the walled gates of the castle fortress of my own little safe world. Alone. Content.

There are days when the loneliness does creep in and there is a nice man at church I’m friends with who will always only be my friend. He recently lost his wife and we share our misery. It’s nice to talk to him sometimes.

But there is someone else who is more dangerous. Why do I use that word to describe him? DANGEROUS. SO ominous sounding. I’ll admit, it’s because I see potential. He has a good job, he has a lot of friends, he’s a good dad, he’s a Christian, he’s extremely fit and attractive…he even still has his hair! And I’m afraid. Because what if I like him?

It reminds me when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter before my son’s first birthday. I was terrified because I remembered the PAIN.

So follow my logic…if I give my heart to someone new…I will have to experience another ending. I don’t want to feel that pain ever again. He will either leave or die. Either way, I will once again have to go through this life-altering grieving process that I’m not sure I can bear.

And before you all say “It will be worth it! And it’s not living if you don’t take risks.” Trust me, I’ve already preached that to myself. My hope is less. I’m not sure I believe in the happy ending anymore.

I can save myself from all of the pain and just not even let him in.

This guy is Hunter. He’s an outdoorsman, active, happy, fair-minded, optimistic, mature, kind. The only negative is he doesn’t live anywhere close to me. So before I even consider dating him I have to ask myself if I want to do a long distance relationship again. I know what those are like too (the good and the bad).

Hunter has proven to be patient and considerate of my feelings. He too lost a wife leaving him widowed with a young son. He too has also gone through a very difficult divorce because they were not a good match.

Am I squashing my own hope and letting fear reign? And what does that say about who taught who. Is my ultimate take away from loving Harry going to be to recoil when any kind of “potential” is near – like a person not wanting to get bitten from a snake?

The old me would say, “HELL NO! I’ll prove to the world that Love wins. God wins. And it all works together for good.” The old me was not a widow of an addict. She didn’t see the love of her life face plant in an ally or being taken away by medics for his own protection. She didn’t see his head turn purple after he collapsed or kiss him for the last time with the ventilation tube still stuck down his throat. The old me was naive. She hadn’t truly been to battle. And I have. And trust me the sting of losing someone you love hurts worse than a snake bite.

So I’m not sure what to do. Except what I’ve done and that is tell the kind gentleman who is courting me…that I am simply not ready. I wish I was. I am not. He encourages me to get into a therapist. I know I need to.

My great fear is that I will never be ready again. I know that for me love is real, deep, and meaningful. Which now comes with the flip side; a deep, meaningful, and real pain.

At the moment this incurable optimist is feeling quite HOPE – less when it comes to the prospect of love. I do know this. God will never forsake me. He is the only one I can count on to never leave me. So I’m resting in His love. And hoping that if God really has a plan for my life to ever experience love again that He will prepare my heart for it in His timing.

I do trust Him. So maybe that is all the hope I need.

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