Lesson # 7: Love goes on beyond death, but how?
We all want to believe that love goes on beyond death. It’s easy to say, “I will always love him/her” after someone has died. But how do we express our love when our loved one is no longer here to receive it? For many people, loving their loved ones means to remain sad, to stay grieving, and to stop showing any interest in moving forward with their lives. Enduring love stories like “Romeo and Juliet," for example, depict the romantic notion of “I die when you die. There is nothing for me to live for anymore. My joy is gone forever.” The result of believing in that sentiment is people being stuck in their grief for years.
It is true that our capacity to grieve is equivalent to our capacity to love. The deeper the love, the more intense the grief. And there is no specific time table in grieving. Some people take longer than others. But there comes a point when we ask ourselves, “If I believe that my loved one really loves me, would he/she be happy to see me still sad for many years?”
I will always love my husband. There’s no doubt about that. But in my opinion, the most loving gesture I can offer him is to cultivate a good life after he had died. It is a way to let him know that his love still lives in me, still energizes me, still inspires me to be the best that I can be, just like when we first met. I am living my life today as if he were still here, loving me.
So the question I need to ask myself is, “What would I do if I had someone loving me still? How would I feel if knew I was loved? What would I say to myself if I were still loved by my husband?” I will continue to pursue my dreams just like I always wanted. I will feel confident and secure. I will tell myself that everything is going to be okay because I am loved no matter what. That was the reason why I was determined to go back to school and make something out of my difficult experience. I wanted him to see that his love has made me stronger, wiser, kinder, and more courageous. I wanted him to be proud of me, not worried about me. I believe that is what “Rest in Peace” means. How can his soul rest in peace if he sees me moping around all the time?
If my heart can love someone who is no longer here, it can certainly love someone else. Unlike an apple pie, love can be given to another person without dividing it. Each love is whole on its own. So I have loved again. A few times. I have experienced heart breaks, pain, shame, and frustration. But through those relationships, I have learned various lessons on how to give and receive love, how to be Ms. Right, how to love myself, how to set boundaries, how to apologize, how to forgive, how to honor my values. Each potential partner who has crossed my path taught me new lessons. When there’s no more lesson he can teach me, he will move on. I don’t consider breakups as failures anymore. I see them as parts of a process—a journey to open my heart fully. When my heart has learned to be fully opened, the right person will enter at the right time. Until then, I simply continue to practice the lessons I collected along the way.
My heart was created by God and it came with a lifetime warranty. It was built to last. That is why I won’t say that I can never handle another heart break, another failure, or another difficulty. I know that if my heart breaks again for any reason, God will fix it, make it whole again, at no cost. Trust me, God will honor the warranty.
So live your life to the fullest, because that is the best way to honor our loved ones and to ensure that love goes on beyond death. Let our loved ones rest in peace!