What if the death of my husband was the first loss I had ever experienced? Being only 32 at the time, I knew plenty of people who had not yet lived through the death of anyone close to them. Sometimes, I wondered, what if I had to learn to process the death of my spouse, and figure out how to be an only-parent, all of a sudden at the young age of 32?
Like most other people, I would not wish adversities on myself, or others, however, I also can’t deny that the trials of my past have equipped me to face the greater challenges of my future.
Earlier this week I did a walk through of the YMCA gym equipment with “contagious energy” Grase Woelk. In my article, “Pulling my weight – learning to use the weights of life as tools for resilience,” I talked about how the weights of life strengthened me. I realized this again when exercising with Grase. She showed me how the equipment worked, we pumped iron together, and I realized there was no way I would have been able to lift those weights before taking the strength training classes at the YMCA. Before joining, I found it difficult to pick up my 2 year old daughter. Now, she is 3 years old, heavier, but easier to lift. Why? Strength building.
Every adversity my life has faced leading up to the death of my husband, was my strength training. I didn’t always see it that way. In fact, my article titled “Poppy” talks about how when he, my grandfather on my dad’s side, died, I was angry for a long time. Then, I had a light bulb moment and instead of seeing only what I had lost, I suddenly saw everything I had gained from having him in my life in the first place. There was no going back for me from that point on. That light bulb moment changed my life. I came to understand that, even though there is a process to go through when any life loss occurs, a process that is riddled with raw emotions, hurt and pain, there is a gift in every situation if I am open to receive it. The gift might be that I knew that person to begin with and got to enjoy them for a time, or it might be that through their loss I built resiliency, or both.
I can’t imagine how I would have coped if my first grief experience was the loss of my husband. I can honestly say, I am thankful it wasn’t. I am thankful for the grief strength training of my youth. It was because of past trials I was equipped to lift the heavier weights of my future. For that, I am grateful.