A year and a half after my husband passed away from colon cancer, I was still experiencing moments of deep grief. At a retirement party I attended for one of my teachers, I was reminded of how this dreaded disease cut my long term plans into nothing. After hearing her husband share their travel agenda, I returned to my office, had a good cry and then I heard Jim tell me: “stop crying and go somewhere!”
I booked a trip to West Virginia to water raft, mountain bike and hike, things I always wanted to try.
The next week, I also started dating. I decided I needed to go forward and start living my life like I was dying so the song said. Over the next month, my new beau and I became a twosome and the fear of loving again made me questioned if I could have another relationship.
We soon parted for a month, he to visit his mother in England and I to my adventure in West Virginia. The rafting was exhilarating and I couldn’t wait to mountain bike the next day. Never having been on a bike in the mountains, my expectation was nothing to the reality I would soon experienced. Several harrowing turns, a close encounter with the side of the cliff and a drop into a deep ravine brought me to a deep conversation with God. I said: “Lord, this takes courage”. What I heard back was: “Helen, everything you do takes courage”. This I believe; it takes courage to live like you’re dying, to lose a spouse and start dating again. To lose a child to SIDS, and give birth again. It takes courage to read Leroy Severs column and not be sad, but rejoice in his determination to fight and see the courage he models for us all. It also takes courage to love again and say: “Yes” I will do this again. Just like the explorers who had the courage to lose sight of the shore in order to discover new oceans, life experiences requires the same measure of courage.
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