Traveling the Path to Peace

Widowhood. Death. Yesterday, my new partner’s best friend lost her son to an overdose. It was a shocking reminder about how fragile existence is in this realm.

We all know what it means. We have all looked death in the face. We have lost our person, our spouse or partner. And we came face to face in that moment with the realization that we ourselves are mortal. And the time of dying will come for us soon enough.

Most people I know see life itself as some sort of metaphorical “journey”. After all, we exist in a time in space with a human bag of bones and flesh that comes from a beginning (birth) and has an end (death). Some even believe it’s a finite existence. I used to.

While none of us get out of this realm alive (and we all know this), I have started to wonder more and more… Do any of truly make the most of the time we have? Are we truly living in the now? Are we grateful for the gift we have been given?

As widowers, we know what death means (better than most others). We have been given a unique opportunity to truly embrace life, and the vast adventure laid before us, because we have been given exclusive access to the other side. Death has unveiled her mystery to us, and we have a chance to reinvent the life we live in this realm. But we must choose to do so. 

The Lakota tradition I wrote about a few months ago says that when we are grieving, we are somehow closer to the dead because in those moments after death, we are still connected. I believe we stay connected a lot longer—even many years after. Being connected to our lost loves is our magical power; and it is one we either shun or embrace.

So, to me, life is no longer this torturous journey. No; I no longer subscribe to the view of a finite existence. I believe in our spirituality, and I believe that we are part of a much larger universal energy (or universal mind) that is not omniscient but omnipresent (and all encompassing). Not some watchmaker “God” who set the universe in motion and left us to our own devises, but a connected, intertwined mesh of time, space, and energy.

Since Suzanne died, I have taken a new view and a new road. I have discovered that I could only achieve peace in my own life when I stopped struggling against the tide of life, and simply started to allow and accept life as it unfolds in universal time.

My grief for Suzanne was all consuming for many months. It was like a tsunami in the first year. I would often sit at my desk (once I returned to work), see her photo on my cubicle wall, and I would cry. Many times, I chose to hide my face and cry silently so none of my coworkers could see me.

But that was wrong. They needed to see the raw emotion and see how the touch of death permeates this life. They could have benefitted from my wisdom, my experience, my knowledge, and my adventure.

By the time I hit the 1-year mark, I was angry. Why didn’t I do more? In the office, I could have gone postal on many occasions. Then, for a while, my grief ebbed. Now, I seldomly cry anymore.

I discovered in that time, that if you truly want to grow and be at peace, then you have to do something you’ve never done before, and you have to be willing to think and be something that you’ve never been before.

Now, I am different. Since I hit the 2 ½ year mark this week, I have realized that I am sharing my adventure. And I am imparting that wisdom and knowledge in a way that will help others see death differently. My hope is that you will see where I have been, and where I am now, and start your own adventure soon.