We were bold on our wedding day. We stood in front of a judge or clergy to vow and celebrate our commitment to one another. We invited our friends and family, dressed in formal white gowns and tuxedos, and hired musicians. We laughed and danced, and threw our bouquet and our garters. Though there may have been some stress or drama behind the scenes, we all knew the script. We knew that we were making a commitment to last a lifetime.
We didn’t really understand – no one could really – what the vows meant, and how they would change us forever. We didn’t understand that the contract would end someday, when one of us faced the end of life without the other. There are so many magazines and wedding planners that make getting into marriage so well defined. There’s not so much support for what happens at the other end of the marriage, when “til death do you part” suddenly becomes “til death has parted you”.
After some time has passed, and the grieving is less overpowering, we begin to ask, “What’s next?” We’re not sure how to re-enter the world. Maybe we need to consider going back to work. We need to learn to manage money better. Maybe the caregiving years have influenced our friendships, and we’ve grown apart. We’re not sure how to dress. We don’t want to wear black all the time, but neither do we want to appear disrespectful to his or her memory. We really need to get some sleep and to take better care of our health. We need to deal with family matters.
It helps to have a plan to deal with so many issues. Developing a life plan does not in any way minimize the significance of our marriage. Marriage was a centerpiece of our lives. Part of our life can be a tribute to our spouse, but there is also room for personal growth and achievement. After all, our spouse loved us and would have wanted us to be happy. I’m here to give you permission, encouragement, and strategies, to move forward and to live your life.
This is a time to be bold again! It’s time to look forward with hope and maybe even joy. We need to find mentors, to define some hopes and dreams, and to develop a plan of action. This will take a good deal of courage, but we’ve been bold before. We have the capacity to shape our lives.
In this issue, we’re going to get specific about ways to muster our courage and begin to shape our lives. ……
As Christopher Robbins said to Winnie the Pooh, “If there is ever a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember, that you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
I look forward to journeying with you,
Joanne Moore, Publisher