Open Your Heart to Love
Valentine’s Day is Friday and one can’t help but think about love. Do you dread this day or embrace it with open arms?
If you’re heart has recently been broken, you may want to avoid this day and its reminders of love at any cost. I know that’s how I felt the first Valentine’s Day without Larry.
The pain of losing someone can close your heart forever. Unfortunately, when that happens, it also closes your heart to joy, peace and happiness, which are all associated with love.
Why then, would anyone want to keep a hardened heart?
Because as wonderful as love can be, it can also hurt just as bad.
At least that’s how I felt when Larry died.
When he died, I admit, there were moments when I wondered,
“Is it really better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all?”
For years I’ve shied away from finding another romantic love. I mean honestly, how in the world, and why for that matter, would I want to feel love for anything or anyone ever again, if I’m only going to lose it?
With Larry’s love taken from me without my permission, I lost the ability to experience some of the positive feelings associated with love- joy, wonder, and hope- to name a few. Instead I felt surrounded by confusion, despair and a whole lot of stress.
Living day to day with a closed heart felt as though I was walking around with a wet blanket over me, everything was very heavy and dark. The longer I carried this wet blanket, the more I wanted to get rid of it.
I knew one thing, before I could open my heart to love, I had to heal my broken heart.
So, I started taking steps in my journey of grief, and slowly I began to heal.
The more I explored how to open my heart the more I came to believe that in order to experience love in your life you must practice living and exuding love from your heart EVERY DAY of your life.
Each person will have to decide what brings love into their life and the best way to share their love with others. For now, I can share what brings love each and every day into my life, which in turn allows me to share my love with others.
This one can be difficult, but in my book, it’s one of the most important. Right when Larry died I found it difficult to be grateful for anything. Then I began to receive so many touching cards and personal notes from friends of Larry’s. I cried as I read every word and felt grateful that someone took time to share this precious memory of Larry.
Little by little I started to realize that while I had lost my husband, I still had people and relationships in my life to be grateful for. To this day when I say my daily prayers I always begin with gratitude. I’m grateful for my children, my dogs, my family and friends and being surrounded by beautiful nature.
Embrace forgiveness and appreciate your past.
While it may sound crazy I had to forgive Larry for leaving me. The rational part of my brain can understand that his death was not a choice, but the irrational part was screaming, “I can’t believe you left me to deal with all this on my own!” To make things worse, I had- and admit I sometimes still have- a hard time with memories of the past.
They represent a time in my life when I was so happy, content and filled with so much hope for our future. They are bittersweet to say the least. I have come to accept there is nothing that will change the fact that Larry is dead and I forgive him, God, the doctors and basically anyone associated with his death. I also appreciate that I had almost twenty years with this incredible man. I wouldn’t be the person I am today had I not met him.
For those of you who are separated or going through a divorce I understand forgiveness may be more difficult, especially if one chose to leave without the others consent. Please know forgiveness does not mean condoning past behaviors. Forgiveness is about giving YOU freedom: the freedom to heal and allow love back in your life.
Commit to positive changes.
When you face life challenges you will have to face more obstacles than you could’ve ever imagined. But how do you get past, over or around an obstacle?
First and foremost, you commit to a positive path. Ask yourself along the way, “will this contribute to my happiness or accentuate the difficulties I face?”
I made many choices to heal from grief and to help my children heal as well. From counseling to sharing memories, the focus was always on love and trying to find peace and happiness.
Focus on those you love and who love you the most.
There are many different forms of love and I’ve been fortunate to have known love in a variety of ways. For example, I know I enjoy unconditional love from my parents, partly because they’ve told me and partly because I see it and feel it in their daily actions.
There’s a special bond of love I share with my siblings and their families that transcends the ups and downs of life. They were the ones who stood by my side as I began to walk, had my back whenever I got hurt in a relationship and jumped on my bandwagon when I needed a few moments to let my hair down and rant about the misfortunes I’ve endured.
I’ve also been fortunate to have shared a deep and passionate love with my late husband, Larry. And together we created the loves of our lives: our children. As I’ve told my boys many times, I will love them forever, no matter what.
Of course, I can’t forget the two that lift my spirits every day, my four-legged, furry kids: my dogs, Star and Cruiser. After eight years my heart still melts when I look in their eyes and I see the purest form of love. It reminds me how I felt when my boys were babies and I’d see nothing but pure love and happiness staring back at me.
A love like that is precious and I’m beyond grateful to see it every day.
I know I’m fortunate to have so much love in my life.
Yet, the one question I continue to get asked (sometimes in round about ways) is what about another romantic love?
Honestly, my heart is happy, content and full of love. I’m simply cherishing each day and feel triumphant that I’m able open my heart to love every day.
I also believe if it’s meant to happen, it will. Until then, I’ll live my life with an open heart.
I pray your heart is open to accepting and sharing love with the most important people in your life.