My heart aches reading the letters and cards that my husband sent to me throughout our marriage. Valentines cards, birthday cards, anniversary cards, all confessing the feelings he had for me.
But, I have come to find that I feel a very different kind of pain, one far deeper, when I read the cards and letters that I wrote to him.
When I read them, I can feel the deep love I felt for him, the adoration, the respect I had for him. I can sense the niavity, the unquestionable belief in him and in us. Reading these cards and letters on the other side of his betrayal and abandonment makes me hurt for who I was, for the girl who wrote those words.
As time moves on, I am realising more and more that it is often the way that I loved my husband that I miss the most. I miss who I was when I loved him.
So many times in the day I will think about the little things I did to show him I loved him. The way I would always pick him up a bag of his favourite sweets everytime I went shopping, the silly nicknames I had for him, the way I always tried to make him laugh his worries away, the way I listened to all of his dreams, his hopes and fears.
I miss the way I would fit perfectly in his arms on lazy weekend mornings, the way I would stay up late, practicing with him if he had a work presentation the next day, the way I would pray for him when he came up against any problems or struggles.
So many of the memories that hurt the most seem to revolve around me loving him. Lately, I mourn more for those moments than the moments where I was receiving love, care or affection from him.
I have come to understand that I deeply miss the person I was when I was with my husband, when I was loving him. I miss the different dimensions that loving him brought out in me as a person. Grieving the loss of someone we love, can mean grieving the loss of who we were when we were with them, the way we cared for them and loved them.
It has become another intricate layer in this tapestry of loss and it occupies so much of my mind lately.
These memories often conjure up such a mixture of emotions within me; shock at finding myself in the place I’m in, frustration and anger at the fear that I wasted all of that love on someone who tore me apart. I feel so much disappointment and sadness that my love for him wasn’t appreciated and, in the end, it wasn’t wanted.
Above all though, I find myself grieving for the person I was when I was his wife.
All those memories of the moments where I was loving him, now seem shadowed by an all encompassing rejection.
For now, it feels like those dimensions of me that once were allowed to shine in my love for him have dulled and turned dark. Those parts of me have been switched off, like some machine considered out of date and declared out of service.
I find it hard to imagine those parts of me ever being ignited again for another but I know that I possess the ability to love deeply and that one day those aspects of me, of who I am in a relationship, might come alive again.
We are like prisms, when love’s light is shone upon us, the most beautiful and brilliant of colours can shine back.
I am in a place of letting go of, not only the person I loved but also, the person that I was. Missing the way we loved the person who has left our lives is an important part of grieving that needs to be acknoweledged and worked through.
Despite the loss of the person I was, I also have to give glory to God for the person he is helping me to become. I’ve changed so much. I am stronger than I thought I was, I am becoming braver. God is blessing me with wisdom, in terms of what is positive in my life and showing me that I deserved so much better than the treatment I recieved. He is revealing my value to me again.
I pray that in time, the person I will become will shine brighter than the person I once was. I pray that the love I will come to feel for myself will shine far brighter than the darkness of the void that I have been left with.