The other side of loss

Sometimes losing a loved one is a beginning

Not everybody feels tremendous grief when their partner dies.

Sometimes it is actually the GUILT – because of the lack of feelings of grief – and this is also difficult to overcome.

I myself had a complete “crash” the year following my husband’s death, because everybody expected me to be sad and – dare I say it? – helpless, when he died after 45 years of marriage.

To find myself at last free (the kids out of the house, money to please myself, without the many restrictions our marriage placed upon me) made me believe I was a “bad” person for not being in mourning.

I led myself to believe that I was “a wicked person” to be off travelling and enjoying myself.

I am glad to report that later, I have realised that my husband never would have wanted me to sit home, alone and grieving. In fact, at the funeral, a friend said to me, “You can get out of your cage, now.”

I would also like to remark that I have met many other ladies who felt the same as I did, but were afraid to admit or voice their feelings.

Mine was not, in the end, a very happy marriage, as my husband was EXTREMELY controlling, as many successful businessmen can be. He was quite resentful of my own small successes (I reinvented myself as an artist and musician, once I retired from my own job as an Industrial Chemist).

The year after I was widowed, I ended up at a psychiatrist. The all-singing, all-dancing me completely fell to pieces! I wasn’t a mother anymore, nor a wife, nor a partner, or a maker of meals … nothing at all, not even a businesswoman.

I go to gym every day, have bought myself a training watch, travel EXTENSIVELY to places my husband would NEVER have entertained, and met so many, many wonderful ladies of my age group that my life has become totally enriched. I went to India on my own (a lifelong ambition) where I also went into an ashram, which completely changed my view on life. I went on Art and Music holidays (I learnt the clarinet, joined orchestras and chamber music groups, learnt the saxophone and joined a jazz group) and made lifelong friends in the process.

Oh, another thing – I am donating my body to Wits University for research – I won’t be able to let you know how that went!

Life DOES go on, and we are meant to enjoy it to the fullest of our capabilities.

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