One of the many things that has surprised me about grief is how much heart healing is needed after all the many losses involved with the death of my husband. One such healing took place in my heart in the early morning hours of my birthday the first day of this month.
My phone rang and when your phone rings early like that, your heart begins to pound because you immediately think that it may be bad news. However, this phone call was a good one. One of my sisters-in-law made it possible for my 87 year old father-in-law to have our first conversation in almost 3 years. He is hard of hearing and needed someone there with him to make that call to me. I will be forever grateful to her for doing that for me.
I was so very happy to hear his voice and the first thing he said to me was, “I still love you.” There is no way to adequately express how much that meant after all this time. It was like warm buttery sunshine being poured into my soul. Even though I have sent my father-in-law a hand-written letter every month, I have felt that disconnect with my in-laws that so many widows experience. I don’t say that to hurt anyone intentionally. If you aren’t a widow, I know that you don’t understand the expectations that widows have. However, one of the important life changing things I am learning is that I cannot place my expectations on others and expect them to do the things that I would like them to do. I can’t control other people. That has been a hard lesson for me because I not only have very high expectations of myself, but I have just as high expectations of others.
That specific hole in my heart for my husband’s family is beginning to heal now and I find myself ready to take an important step forward in that regard. I have learned a lot about me and a lot about my relationships with others. Will I continue to be careful not to so quickly open myself up to people? Yes, I will. It is that shawl I have wrapped around me in the “protect Candy” mode that I am in and that is okay. Yet, my heart is open to God much more now and He will continue to walk along with me stopping when necessary to chisel away my rough edges making me more and more like Him.