Friday, September 4, 2015

I love you, Part III

I will never be loved like that again.
It's true.
And, as that realization has come to me
over the last several months,
it made me sad.
I have come to realize that my grief
is not only over the loss of the one I love,
it is because of the loss of the one who loved me.

I had just turned 14,
Al was nearly 16,
when we became "us".
And we loved each other with that
passionate abandon that is only available in youth.
Before life interferes.
Before you become a grown up.

And our love grew as we did.
We were children,
growing up together,
learning about life together,
learning about love together.
We truly became one
because we had not yet become individuals.
That can never happen again.
And so, I will never again be loved like that.

Lanny will never be loved like Judy loved him again!
And he will never again love like he loved her.
They, like Al and I, dated for five years.
They spent 32 years as husband and wife.
They had children together.
They grew together physically, emotionally, spiritually.
They each formed who the other was.
They became one person.

I had already started this post in my love series
when one of my online widows' groups opened this very discussion.
Funny how that happens.
This particular group is women
who have begun thinking about dating,
are dating,
are engaged,
or have remarried.
We have moved past that initial grief where the mere thought
of another man is offensive,
and realized that we do not want to be alone for the rest of our lives.

Following are some thoughts from some of these women
(used with permission, all names (except mine) and some situational details deleted for privacy):

The original post that started the conversation:
Sitting in [a local restaurant], sipping on a half coffee half french vanilla, and reading your posts and thinking about losing someone we loved. About how that flips our worlds upside down, and to some extent that event and the ensuing changes create a level of insecurity even years later, even if we have remarried. We often say its because we lost someone we loved. But as I think about it, that's not really it at all. It's because we lost someone that loved us. Our pain, our scars, are proportional to the depth of love the other person gave us (along with our ability/willingness to receive). It makes me think about agape love. And how well do I love? It's a sobering thought, and has impact in every aspect of my relational world.
The ensuing conversation:
  • Wow. I've never heard it phrased like that.
  • very good. It is true. I miss how much I was loved. Does this make me selfish?
  • [Original Poster] No no no. It is something to treasure. And to ponder. So easily I slip into evaluating (mostly subconsciously) my relationships by how well the other person loves. And when I thought about this today, I realized that our spiritual lives and our relational lives are really all about agape love, God's love for us, and our (my) love for others. (I wonder if what we treasure most about the love we've lost is the agape part of it . . . just thinking.)
  • The question,"How well do I love?"....makes me think about being a stepmom. This is a very good thought and post, thanks for the insight. Enjoy your coffee!
  • Wow! That is insightful! So true! And I would add that that someone who loved us was the 'only' person to believe in 'me'!!! ...and so our identity, self-worth and security all were devastated.
    That has been a real challenge to really believe and trus
    t God to be and do that in my life! But God also brings others into our lives that can believe in us. :-)
  • I keep going over this. .... your post resonates within me deeply.
  • Great Point...We lost our other/better half, "and the 2 shall become one". I believe his agape type love toward me helped some parts of myself to finish growing up into the woman God intended, as I met him @ 23 yrs & married at 25. To openly receive new love, with a combining of 2 pre-existing foundations of life/love/people does take courage. I remember realizing this with the 1st new man. I said once " my 20 yr marriage was like being on a leer jet on auto pilot", now I feel like I'm on the ground learning how to ride a bike with you". He commented back "ya, and we need training wheels", lol. Agape love is essential for us to give to others & to ourselves, so that we don't allow the enemy to attack us with those insecurities. We lost so much love, history & our partner for life but Jesus agape love can sustain/empower us daily. Colossians 3:19 Men are called to show Agape love to their wives"....So don't settle for less ladies. He certainly wont do it perfectly 24/7 but I think the key is that he knows what it is & has that love for you. My new husband and I are able to share/understand the pain/grief we both feel and that is unique to us, my first spouse & I didn't experience that together...I did that alone. I've found that creates a unique bond for me & my current husband.
  • I can't even tell you how perfectly timed these thoughts are that you shared. I just woke up with this on my mind again this morning: There are ways that [Late Husband] loved me that I miss so much and that are tied up with my identity and security as a person even now. I often feel guilty for missing that and wishing I had that type of love from [New Husband]. It makes me feel selfish and insecure and alone at times. Does that make sense?
  • [Name Deleted], I am not remarried but that makes complete sense. I think that is one huge fear I have about remarriage. My husband adored me (I don't know why) which made me feel special. I don't know if I could be happily married to someone who didn't feel that same way about me.
  • [Name Deleted], I think what's really hard is the tension I feel as a remarried widow. I was a widow for 6 years and always said I couldn't imagine marrying anyone else. All I can say is [Second Husband's] love for me is different (and probably in some ways better...[Late Husband] wasn't perfect either!). I think there are just times that I really feel that. I want to be reaffirmed by the person that is my closest relationship in the world. My first husband was crazy about me too (not sure why either! Ha) and I [Second Husband] is crazy about me in his own way. [Late Husband's] way spoke to those insecure places deep in my heart and I miss that. A lot. At times. But there are times I think, wow [Second Husband] loves me more than I've ever been loved. It's a very very strange tension as a widow. And I'm trying to let us push my thoughts toward how well I love others but to be honest sometimes I just get stuck on missing what I had.
  • Gina Garrett Wow! I've been thinking about this very thing! I'm doing an "I love you" series on my blog and this is the topic of the 3rd installment which should go up today or tomorrow [oops, it's a couple weeks later, more pondering was needed]. If anyone objects to my using some of these excellent thoughts and points, let me know. Thank you for sharing this and all these thoughts!

    I miss how much Al loved me! We were children, barely 14 and 15 when we started "dating" and never dated anyone else. We grew up together, with that passion of youth that has no reserve or hesitation. Adulthood hadn't yet gotten in the way when we fell in love. I will never have that again. And I do find myself grieving that. Lanny adores me and I him, but we are not likely to live long enough to ever spend the amount of time together that we did with Judy and Al so that depth that comes from time will never be equaled for either of us. The flip side of that? The passion and excitement of those first few years of marriage is likely to be our existence. So while we have lost something precious, we have also gained something precious!
  • I wound up ending [a] relationship, after I realized he hadnt ever loved like that...because he didn't really understand that love, and didn't get grief at all...I realized within the 1st month [he] had issues & wasn't over his wife, he was divorced for 7 yrs. I remember when I first saw her in person, and how he looked at her....I felt totally invisible & like I didn't matter. Sure his words/actions never treated me that way but in that profound moment it was obvious that's where his heart was...with her. It was then that I told my counselor, I was everything to my first husband so there's no way I can be second. Second wife yes but never treated or loved less than agape love. My new widowed husband is crazy about me & he can show me photos, talk/cry about her without my feeling insecure at all, I too feel his pain & it makes me love/bond with him more because we both shared Agape/sacrificial love the first time & now.
  • Thanks for this, I thought it was just me. No one loved me or understood me like [Late Husband] except for God. I think part of the problem is learning to live in a different role, with adult children, [and the issues they can bring to the table]. It is so totally different from when we were young & ignoratnt. We love each other with ever fiber of our being... I am so very gratful God brought me [Second Husband]...
  • Gina Garrett Yes, [Name Deleted]! That's it exactly! In fact, Lanny's love for Judy actually makes me feel more secure because he DOES know how to love! He loves/d her completely just as I do/did Al; and just as I can do no less with Lanny, he can do no less with me! He is not instead of Al, he is in addition to him, as I am to Judy! And we both understand that!
  • Amen, it's a beautiful thing...we even had [Late Spouses] mentioned in our vows, as they will always be part of our family :-)
  • I wanted to add to my comments about the love and security that I am receiving from my new hubby... But I was afraid of making some of you ladies feel bad. But since several of you have expounded on your love relationship with your new hubby- I wanted to affirm that as well! It is possible to have that deep, adoring, agape love with another husband! I am in awe of how God has made [Second Husband] for me. I have been so battered and torn down...i havent felt like anyone could ever love me...But God and my [Second Husband] are beginning to build me up again. I still can hardly believe that I have a man who loves me so completely! Is it different than my first hubby? Absolutely! But I choose to dwell on the good differences. Am I different from his first wife? Absolutely! I feel like we owe our first spouses something- as we learned how to do this marriage thing with our 1st! And we are determined to love and respect and cherish every moment and day and month together! We talk alot about our firsts- but dont compare levels of happiness.
  • Absolutely [Name Deleted], we say all the time how there is no way we could have done this, it is a total God thing. We even joke that [Late Spouses] may have been helping the Lord along the way. Not biblically supported but it warms our hearts to think it :-). I had days of hope & days of doubt in the dating phase, I think/hope our stories are seen as helpful & encouraging to our sisters.. to trust God has a unique plan & purpose for each of us. And that we can be strong when single, dating or remarried. Each has its own unique areas in which we can show agape love, but we must fully accept it from Christ daily or we won't have a healthy supply to give to those around us.
  • Thought about this today. That truth is one thing I recently came to terms with. I realized this spring that how much strength I gleaned from My Dear [Late Husband]. He wasn't full of flattery or a big cheerleader but his quiet constancy and his unfaltering love for me gave me so much strength. And boy do I miss that underlying confidence and strength that being loved gave me. I miss that as much as anything.
  • [From original poster] ...[Name Deleted], I've been thinking about your posts. I can truly relate. I was deeply loved. I am deeply loved now. But it is different. (And add to that the fact that memory is a mysterious, living, somewhat evolving, thing. So something good from the past can hardly be held side by side with anything in the present.)I think it is partly that difference that made me think about how well I love, what I want my life here to count for. It changes the focus (and, in return, my present relationship is blessed).
  • Ladies. I'm up in the wee hours of the morning. Just reading all of your posts. Just starting on the road of possibly dating and many times I wonder can I love and be loved again the way it was with [Late Husband] again. After reading I see that yes it is possible to be loved and to live again but seems like it is differently but yet the same. Thank you all for sharing your thoughts and feelings so openly on this topic.
  • It is all worth loving again. Us being together is a total God thing. Our [late] spouses are part of who we are & helped shape us & taught us what true love was. We both still love them just as much, but the heart has no boundaries there is always room to more. The pastor that did our wedding mentioned our love for [Late Spouses] & we talk about them all the time.
    As [Second Husband] says we are still learning our rolls as it is different...
 Those on the outside of grief don't get it.
They don't understand that we have not stopped loving!
We have not forgotten!
Two years, seven months, six days later,
it is always still there.
Always at the edge.
Always coloring every part of my life.
He is gone.

When Al died,
when he was laid in the ground,
the Gina that was died,
was buried along with him.
When Judy died,
when she was laid in the ground,
the Lanny that was died,
was buried along with her.
It is the way it is with deep love!

We will never be loved like that again.
We will never love another like that again.
But we are not the same people now!
Every aspect of life,
our very essence,
has changed.
Because that's the way it is when you die and are reborn.
Much as when we die to sin and are reborn in Christ.
Forever altered.

And, just like Christ's love for us,
love is limitless!
It does not end when more comes in!
The heart just expands and grows,
embracing, relishing the new addition!
Not instead of!
In addition to!
Agape love!
Eros Love!
Being loved - and loving.

It is a wonderful, blessed gift from God!