The act of love requires work and courage. Once widowed there is a certain amount of fear when reaching out to others and loving again. We have been hurt by the death of our loved ones and don’t want to feel that pain again. But if we have the courage to love again we may be blessed with special people to share our journey with.
The experience of dating, of doing things differently and being on unfamiliar ground is frightening. It always has been and always will be, that is the nature of change.
How widows handle their fear of change depends on our upbringing, values, faith and courage. Courage is not the absence of fear; it is in the moving forward action in spite of our fears. The loving of anyone always requires courage and involves risks. If you move towards another human being, there is always the risk that that person will break your heart, leaving you more painfully alone than you were before.
We can only love that which in one way or another is important to us. There will always be a risk of loss or rejection, but to avoid love (family, friends, pets or dating) is to narrow and diminish our lives to almost the point of non-existence.
Love anything that lives – a person or pet – and it will die in time. Trust someone and you may be hurt, depend on someone and they may let you down. Yes, the price of love can be pain. But if you are determined not to risk the pain, then you must do without many things: children, friendship, being in love and all the things that make life alive, meaningful and worthwhile.
Have the courage to love again and pain as well as joy will be part of your journey. A full life will have pain. But the only alternative is not to live fully and that is truly sad. We all have only a limited time on this earth and we need to face the reality of death. When we do, that constant awareness of the limit of our time to live and love should give us the courage to love again and not retreat from the joy and pain.