Heart Healing in Protection Mode

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.

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6 responses

  1. Candy, thats so cool that you had contact with your father-in-law after all that time. Praise the Lord. Its really important we have that connection with our in-laws as they are all we have of our husband (in the flesh). I am very grateful that my father-in-law and I have kept up the contact. We have been a strength for each other. Even though he is not a believer, he has been wonderful. You mentioned expectations we have on ourselves toward others. Its an area I struggle with, particularly when it comes to what were ‘close family friends’ who are not there like I thought they would be. The Lord is slowly but surely working in my life. Thank you for sharing. I am always encouraged when I read your posts. Often I can relate to what you are saying.

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  2. Thank you, Karen. I was so thankful to have gotten that phone call. It encourages me to hear that you were able to relate to something in my posts. Your words encourage me as well. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

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  3. That was one thing I was not expecting. My father-in-law has called me once in the 4 months since Kevin died. We both ended up crying so now he “can’t” talk to me…can’t come see me either. His wife came down and spent the weekend with me and said Dad said coming to our house was still too painful for him.
    Hurts:-(
    So I too have wrapped myself in a “protect Vickey” shawl. I don’t let people get too close now and i don’t get too close to them.
    Thank you, Candy, for sharing this us. It helps to know I’m not the only one going through some of these things…and that some things do get better.

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    • Vickey, I am so sorry that this time when you need him the most, your father-in-law isn’t able to bear the pain of his own grief enough to call or visit. Hopefully as time passes, he will face that grief and find the strength to deal with it. Meanwhile, I understand your wrapping yourself up in the “protect Vickey” shawl for that is what we must do.

      We have to be careful not to allow the inactions of those we love to cause
      bitterness in our hearts. It can easily happen and we must guard against it. Forgiveness is hard when our hearts are so deeply wounded. And I have found that forgiveness is not a one time thing. I had to forgive over and over again
      whenever those hurts and even anger resurfaced.

      Thank you for opening up your heart here with any other widows or even non-widows who may stop by and read.

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