Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Widow's Fear of the Future

It was time to plan a future. The first year of widowhood was the hardest. The second year wasn't a piece of cake, but I felt a bit of joy at times and a little less pain. Once I accepted my loss and realized I was the head of my family now, it was time to move forward. I've written on moving forward at specific times in my grief before. Letting go of a spouse's possessions is just one example. I was beyond that. I was getting ready to move forward as a single individual ready to make future goals.

In one way it was an exciting feeling. I decided to take a 3 week course at my local college called, "Fresh Start". It was a program for single women who needed a fresh start in their lives. It provided the tools and resources to decide on a future plan and actions to take to achieve that goal. I also signed up for a dance class.

I decided a Latin dance class would be fun. The night I met Nelson, we were at a night club when I was eighteen. Being Puerto Rican, he had been a great Latin dancer. Five years later, we married. Through the years he had tried to teach me the dances, and I just figured there would be more time for dancing in the future. Didn't work out that way. So now, when I heard the Latin music, I had a desire to want to dance. I think it made me feel closer to Nelson again.

I sensed adventures on the horizon. Like a butterfly teetering on a branch before her first flight. Or right before you jump out of a plane to skydive! There seemed to be endless possibilities of direction. I sensed these college courses would change my life. I felt excited but also fearful of my future. I started to reflect on my past again.

For one and a half years, sorrow had filled my life. Sometimes I didn't want the sadness to leave. It felt like I was leaving Nelson behind. I guess I felt guilty. There was something familiar and comfortable with grief in my life. As painful as it was, it was still my comfort zone. I knew what to expect....cry...feel lonely....dread holidays and birthdays...dwell on certain memories....

So now, to embark on a new future, I had to step out of my comfort zone. This was scary and unfamiliar. I was fearful of the future with no idea of what to expect. However, I could stay in my comfort zone of sorrow, for as long as I wanted, or I could explore a new experience. To me, the second option sounded more appealing and exciting. Yes, it was scary, but just like jumping out of a plane, (Which I did for the first time last year!) the fear leaves soon after the initial jump.

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