Open yourself to the possibility of happiness after a loss.

Debby - Greensboro, North Carolina
Entered on February 12, 2009
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: death, family, hope
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I am a relatively new widow. My husband Marks died suddenly from a heart attack at age 55. When he died someone brought me the most beautiful orchid. It occurs to me that the orchid is a reflection of what I have been through. When I got it, it was in full bloom. It was breathtaking in its beauty during the time when I had lots of support around me. Calls came every night from friends and family checking on me. My life was full of dinners out and company coming to call. I was miserable but hopeful that all the things I had been told in counseling and by well wishers would come true. They said I would get through this and come out on the other side with a new life and lots of great memories to cherish.

I was crushed when one day I came home and all the blossoms were on the floor. This poor orchid looked like a dead stick, which was coincidentally the way I felt on the inside. I wanted to make sure that when it did die (and it sure looked like it would) that it would not be my fault. By now, I felt so guilty for Mark’s death. I had time to think about it and I was sure I could have done something, even if I was unsure what.

During this time, I faithfully took care of that orchid using the written instructions that came with it. Oh how I wished I could have such an easy –to- follow set of written direction for my life without Mark. I was a miserable wreck walking the house at night longing for the nightmare to be over. I ached to have my Mark back. I hated my life, my job, even that damn dead orchid. There was no joy and every day was the same. I seriously considered taking my life so the pain would end.

Last week I noticed that there were changes occurring with the orchid. It is a very slow process, but it looks like it is going to bloom again. The tiny buds look like very small lavender pearls. This gives me hope. Maybe if I just hang in there I can get through all this and feel like living my life again. I am beginning to think of the good stuff and after 34 years of marriage there was a lot of good stuff, instead of dwelling on that last day of Mark’s life. I am trying to be the girl Mark loved. I want him to be proud of me. I have a long way to go but I am definitely doing better. Just like this precious flower I must learn to open myself to the possibility of hope and happiness.