By Laurel D. Rund
EssenceofLaurel@me.com

Laurel D. RundUnbelievable as it seems, it has been four years since my husband passed away. Every year, from January 26th until February 19th, I go into a Bermuda triangle of memories and emotions – his birthday, the day of his death and our anniversary fall on these dates.   You would think grief would have loosened its hold on me, but these meaningful days still haunt me.

I loved my husband for 44 years (notwithstanding all the ups and downs of most marriages).  Today, I am blessed to be in a committed and loving relationship with a wonderful man who has graced my life in many unexpected ways.  We understand that we each bring our own life history into the mix, which enriches the bond between us. Mature relationships are so different from the ones we had when we were young and always looking forward.   In addition, I have the perspective of time and the experience of loss, which has taught me to be grateful for what is here right now in the present moment.

And this brings me to the angst that is the Yin and Yang of my heart.  I have been worried that the love I hold for my husband in my heart would somehow be lessened or lost because of my newfound love.  I wondered if I could love two men, quite differently, in a balanced and peaceful way alongside each other?

the yin and yang of my heart at 72“Yin and yang are two sides of dualism. It is the tail and the head of a coin. The tail is yin, and then the head is yang. They exist alongside one another. The head cannot exist without the tail, and the tail cannot exist without the head.  The earth we live on is yin, and the sun that brings us warmth is yang. Sadness is yin, while joyfulness is yang.” (Tao-In-You.com)

At lunch the other day, I shared with a friend, who was widowed after 60+ years of marriage, what I was struggling with.  She looked at me and said “don’t you have room in your heart to love all of your children?” That simple question was an “Aha! Moment” for me.

I immediately flashed back to a memory of being pregnant with my second son and wondering how in the world I could possibly love another child as much as my first.  As soon as he was born, the love for my “second child” enveloped me; and the question of how much capacity I had to love became a moot point.

My heart has room for many loves – my husband, my new mate, family, friends, and pets.  It is a big place with infinite capacity.

In the past, when one of our pets died and we got a new cat or dog, not a replacement, but another pet to love ~ I didn’t worry about room in my heart.  I didn’t worry about losing the memories of that beloved pet.  I am not likening the death of my husband to a pet, but the point here is that I am more than capable of holding countless “loves” in my heart.

I consider myself very lucky and am grateful to have found a loving man who honors my past, as I do his.  In our sixties, we know that our individual journeys, before we met, prepared us to find the love we have for each other today. We have blended our lives and are building our own history ~ each and every treasured day that we spend together. I have come to understand that I am not being disloyal to my deceased husband; I am honoring the love we had by being open to life’s possibilities.

Today was a watershed moment for me.  The questioning within me has been answered and my heart is open and at ease.

As Rumi said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”   I whole “heartedly” agree!


 

As a writer and an artist, I have successfully published my first book “Emerging Voices” which is a personal journal about grief and loss healed through words, art and journaling. Several of my articles and stories have been published by the Open to Hope Foundation, Author’s Den, Baby Boomer Women and More.com. In addition, my book, artwork and notecards are being shown and sold at art shows, several shops, and can be found on the Fine Art America site.

February 2013