BW 083: How Your Relationship Can Continue with Your Person Post Loss

blog tips Jan 30, 2024
 

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The Transcript is below.


Today is a special episode because this episode is being published on Nathan's birthday. His birthday is January 30th and he would have been turning 43.  On his birthday today, so today, as I thought about ways that I could honor him on his birthday and ways that I could also provide value for you as a listener and as a watcher of this show.

 The theme that really kept coming to mind is how we can continue a relationship with our person after they die. And this is coming from me, who was cynical and bitter about this the first several months, if not the first year that Nathan died, where I very much felt like  We don't really get signs from our person.

We really can't continue a relationship. There's this big chasm between where we are and where they are, and anyone who says they get messages or signs from their person is just comforting themselves by reading into all these little things. I don't feel that way today. And so if you do feel that way, I want to walk you through part of my journey of how I got there.

Quote:

''it was one of those baby steps of moving in a direction of being open,  of keeping my eyes open, of listening to the thoughts that I have, of listening to what I feel in my heart."''

''life was just hard for him at times, and  maybe ultimately.  He did want to go and he did want to feel the overwhelming peace and love and acceptance that is in being with God and being in heaven versus going through the challenges of what he faced here today''


The Brave Widow Community is a place where you can connect with other widows, find hope and healing, and begin to dream again for the future.  Learn more at bravewidow.com.  

Hey guys, I’m Emily Jones

I was widowed at age 37, one month shy of our 20 year wedding anniversary.  Nathan and I have four beautiful children together.  My world was turned completely upside down when I lost him.  With faith, community, and wisdom from others, I’ve been able to find hope, joy, and dream again for the future.  I want to help others do the same, too!

FOLLOW me on SOCIAL:

Twitter | @brave_widow

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YouTube | @bravewidow


Transcript: 
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Emily Jones: [00:00:00] Hey, hey, and welcome to episode number 83 of the brave widow show. Today is a special episode because this episode is being published on Nathan's birthday. His birthday is January 30th and he would have been turning 43. On his birthday today, so today, as I thought about ways that I could honor him on his birthday and ways that I could also provide value for you as a listener and as a watcher of this show.

The theme that really kept coming to mind is how we can continue a relationship with our person after they die. And this is coming from me, who was cynical and bitter about this the first several months, if not the first year that Nathan died, where I very much felt like We don't really get signs from our person.

We really can't [00:01:00] continue a relationship. There's this big chasm between where we are and where they are, and anyone who says they get messages or signs from their person is just comforting themselves by reading into all these little things. I don't feel that way today. And so if you do feel that way, I want to walk you through part of my journey of how I got there.

But I thought that this would be really helpful in talking about how you can still have a relationship with your person. and honoring Nathan on his birthday today. Now, before I dive in and start sharing with you my process here, I want to remind you that we have a free live event that's coming up on February the 28th.

I'm doing a webinar on the top 10 dating mistakes that most widows make, and you may be making one or all of these. I made several of these mistakes. [00:02:00] This is how I can speak from experience. So for those of you that may not know, or maybe the podcast episode hasn't come out just yet, I've been on and off the dating apps for many months.

And when I finally had the right mindset, and when I finally approached dating the right way, Two months being back on the dating scene. I ended up meeting the person that I am going to be marrying here very shortly. So it's been quite an adventure and a wild ride and ultimately has ended. Way better than I could have imagined and show.

I want to share with you what it took for me and what I see it take for others to have a good experience with dating and finding someone that you can be in a relationship again. If that's what you choose to do, you may not want to do that. That's perfectly fine. Even if you are kind of curious about dating and wondering [00:03:00] what in the world it's going to be like, then you should totally join us.

It's a free to the public event, and if you want to join, just go to Bravewidow. com slash dating D A T I N G, and you can join us for this free event on February 28th.

All right, so when Nathan first died, I felt this huge chasm between us, this big separation. In fact, when they called us back to the hospital to tell us the results of the brain scans that they had done, I looked through the window of his room and I instantly knew he was no longer there.

His cheeks were sunken. His color had totally changed. He looked deflated, like A shell of the person that he was, so nobody told me the results of the test, but nobody had to tell me, I guess, because I could see he clearly [00:04:00] wasn't there. They did allow me to suit up and go into the room and be with him in the final moments before they stopped all life support.

And I did do that and I did talk with him,

but in the back of my mind, there was a nagging reminder that he's not here. He's not there in that physical body anymore. Now, I do believe in the afterlife and in heaven, and I fully believe that that's where Nathan's soul and spirit went to be. And that's where he is. And he no longer has the suffering of this world and the difficult emotions that come with.

Just being alive on planet Earth, but from that moment forward for many months and maybe even a year I felt so distanced and so separated from him and I hated it

I know that many people find comfort in going to a [00:05:00] cemetery, in sitting graveside with their person, in some way being physically close with them. But every time I tried to go, I would stay for 5, 10, or 15 minutes. And I would just get aggravated with myself. It was like, I just kept thinking, what is the point?

He's no more here than he is on the back porch, or he is anywhere else that you are in the world. Sitting here at a cemetery, crying your eyes out, isn't making you any closer to Nathan. And so I would end up leave just being really frustrated. In fact, I also was very frustrated with wearing my wedding ring.

I would not wear my wedding ring. I would wear it. I would wear it on my right hand. I turned it into a necklace at one point. I turned it back into a ring at another point. Like there has been so much mind drama around my wedding ring. It was. Borderline ridiculous, okay? [00:06:00] But the reason that it was difficult for me was because I felt so separated.

It was almost like this slap in the face of a reminder that I wasn't married anymore. Like, why are you wearing this ring? You're not married anymore. He's gone. Communication has ceased. It's over. And that really bothered me for a long time. As I was part of different Facebook groups, I noticed that people would talk often about signs that they would see from their loved one that brought them comfort or reassurance or messages that they would get from their loved ones and I googled it all.

I watched all the YouTube videos about people who'd had near death experiences and what that was like and what they were aware of versus not in those final moments. I researched You know, signs from our loved ones. I researched why you don't dream about your loved one. You know, I was very jealous that [00:07:00] other people out there were having dreams and their loved one would give them a message or their loved one would, you know, just appear to them and bring them comfort and peace.

And I could not understand why I never dreamed about Nathan, why I felt so disconnected from him. I never saw any signs or anything that made me think of him. And it was really discouraging. I did, in my research, identify that what a lot of people Thought the theory behind dreaming about our person is that a lot of it is self driven.

So some people dream their spouse is mad at them. Some people dream, you know, their spouse has a negative interaction with them. And so they feel guilty, but the reality is that that isn't necessarily our loved one in a supernatural way communicating with us. It's thoughts or feelings that we may have that are being projected into our dreams.

So, In [00:08:00] all fairness, I was a bit bitter and cynical and ultimately just discouraged because Nathan and I were the best of best of friends and we did everything together, we talked about everything, we were just super close.

So it was really hard having been used to being so close to Nathan that now I felt as far away as I could possibly be and as disconnected as I could possibly be, and that really hurt, and it was really discouraging and frustrated. So, here I am. Feeling jealous of other people feeling bitter and cynical about all these other people that get to have dreams and signs and messages.

And of course, a part of my self talk was, well, you know, people aren't really getting these signs. They're just reading into stuff and they're just seeing what they want [00:09:00] to see. They're seeing what they want to believe about their person and what message and that's good for them. You know, it's a good comforting thing, but.

You know, it's all things that they're projecting now during the whole process of Nathan being in the hospital, and then even after him dying, I never really got angry with God. I never really questioned or demanded to know, like, why me? Why did this happen to us? I, you know, I'm nobody special. I know that different people go through different types of suffering, and so I didn't challenge God in that way.

But I remember one particular Night, I hadn't been able to sleep all night and I just kept wrestling with this question of why did he only get 40 years to live like we had so many hopes and dreams for the future. And we were so close, so [00:10:00] close to achieving some of those things. And Nathan and I had our 1st child very young within a year.

Of our marriage. And so we've had kids living at home this entire time. And one of the things that we would often think of fondly is when they're retired and we're have time together and it's just the two of us and we're really building out what we want our life to look like. And he never got to experience any of that.

And so for me, it wasn't really a question of, well, why did this happen to me? But how is it possible that someone's whole life plan was just. 40 years, like that's it and all these things that he has hoped for and that he's dreamed of he will never get to experience and I would go back and forth on my thoughts on the answer to that question.

But that was really kind of the present question in my mind all night. And I remember that next morning, [00:11:00] I was in the bathroom, blow drying my hair, getting ready, doing nothing unusual, when I noticed I have a frosted glass window in my bathroom, and I noticed a streak of a rainbow going across the floor, which I'd never noticed before and haven't ever noticed since.

And I thought, wow, that's really pretty. That's really cool. And so I was looking at it closely while I was sitting there waiting for my hair to dry. And I noticed that where the rainbow ended, there was a little marking on a piece of ceramic tile, and it looked like a little heart. And In that moment, I had this thought from God, from inside myself, whatever you want to call it, that said he wanted to go.

Now, whether or not it was a thought I had, or it was from God, or it was from Nathan, I just thought about all the things that he had. Been through in the [00:12:00] hospital, how they had to restart his heart three times, how he struggled with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, how,

life was just hard for him at times, and maybe ultimately. He did want to go and he did want to feel the overwhelming peace and love and acceptance that is in being with God and being in heaven versus going through the challenges of what he faced here today. Now, regardless of where that thought and that feeling came from, I'm giving credit to God because I was amazing.

Experience it cracked open my hard heart and I think it's important for you to know that because if you're like me and you're feeling so disconnected and you're feeling just. Angry or cynical or bitter about not having this relationship with your [00:13:00] person, it may take something like that happening to you to loosen up some of that resistance that you've built up in your heart, because it was after that moment that I thank God and I began to pray and ask for some sort of sign, some sort of.

Something

that would help me feel more connected to Nathan. So over time, as I began to think about this, I know that people often pick things like Cardinals or dragonflies or hearts or some other symbol that people use. And I got to thinking several years ago, um, I had read where somebody had chosen yellow butterflies as a symbol that God was near them or that he.

You know, was they were that essentially they were not alone. And so I had adopted several years earlier, the fact that every time I saw a yellow butterfly, [00:14:00] that it would be a reminder to me that God is right here with me. And I'm not going to go through this alone. Which by the way, is a thought that I had often from the hospital where Nathan died to going back home to tell my kids that he had passed was you are not alone.

You are not alone over and over so I'd already kind of adopted this symbol of a yellow butterfly. And that would remind me that God is nearby. Now, does God always send the butterfly? I don't know, but was it harmful or negative for me to associate that or be reminded of that? Absolutely not. So I played around with that idea a little bit, and I decided, okay, Nathan liked the color black.

I don't really see black butterflies that often, but I'll associate that color with Nathan being nearby, or me having a relationship with Nathan. And. There are so many stories that I could tell you [00:15:00] and just really don't have time on the episode today to go into detail, but 1 in particular that I will share is I had a, um, been referred a lady to come help build a memorial garden for Nathan out in my backyard and.

She seemed really nice over the phone. Her mother had died, I think, a couple years before. She was very friendly, very understanding, and just really seemed to have a sweet spirit and a love that kind of poured out of her whenever I talked to her over the phone. So I asked her to come out and we were going to walk through some of my.

Ideas for the memorial garden and some ideas that she may have and really start planning out what we wanted that to look like. And as her truck pulled up onto the property, then, as I was walking towards her truck, I noticed a black butterfly with. Um, [00:16:00] and she had a little truck with yellow spots on it that flew right in front of me and flew straight to her truck.

As I began to talk with her and learn more about her and to hear her ideas, I just had such a wonderful interaction and connection with her and still do to this day, she's done some other projects for me too. And to me, it was just a great. Sign a great indication that maybe Nathan got to hear a part of that interaction and conversation.

Maybe his spirit got to be part of that process and part of what we set out to ultimately accomplish later that day.

Now, I'm not a superstitious person. I don't see black butterflies all the time. I don't really even see them that often. But to me, it was one of those baby steps of moving in a direction of being open, of keeping my eyes [00:17:00] open, of listening to the thoughts that I have, of listening to what I feel in my heart.

Whenever those special moments and opportunities do pop up. I'm going to share with you one more story that actually just happened this week. It starts a year ago, on Nathan's birthday. Now, I shared with you earlier that normally I don't really like to spend a lot of time at the cemetery. However, on Nathan's first birthday, I did go out to the cemetery, to his grave, and spent Over an hour as the sun came up, just playing some of his favorite music, sipping some coffee, eating some of his favorite breakfast food, and that was really a great experience.

I was planning to do that last year on his birthday when this really big snowstorm hit and completely blocked us and we got [00:18:00] snowed in at home and we couldn't go anywhere. And at first, I was really frustrated. Like, Of all the days, I mean. We do get some snow here occasionally, we might get a couple of inches, maybe twice a year, but it was really annoying to me and frustrating that this had happened and just ruined my plans and I was sulking around just.

Disappointed that I couldn't be there with Nathan, that I couldn't have that experience again of watching the sun come up, that I couldn't spend that time with him and I was really just feeling sorry for myself that day. Okay. And I'd also been for probably six months wrestling with another question, which was, should I live in my house and keep it?

Or should I sell it and buy another house where my house is now it's on 37 acres. It's very. Wooded and hilly and not [00:19:00] ideal for livestock, which I knew eventually is something I wanted in my life. It's pretty far out. It's about 40 minutes away from the main town here and about 20 minutes away from the kids school and pretty much everything else.

And so it's really remote. So. I was really wanting something that was closer, more conveniently located, and better set up for cows and horses and, and the farm life, if you will. And I had been looking at some houses for sale, you know, as we do on Zillow and some of the other websites. And I just couldn't find a house that I had liked that was set up the way I wanted it, that had the things that I Liked I didn't like the layout.

There were just always at least 1 thing I didn't like about the house. So that had also been kind of a frustrating process. And so, as I was doing my routine look online of houses for sale, which, by the way, January is not the time to be looking for houses [00:20:00] in the real estate market. But, hey, it had kind of become a habit at that point of just going in and checking to see if there were any new houses for sale.

I was curled up on the couch with my laptop kind of scrolling through and, of course, being disappointed again. It was just a very disappointing day and as I was sitting there looking outside glaring at the snow in anger, I had this thought, which was. Maybe instead of buying a house, I should build a house.

And then I thought, wow, that's really crazy. What I really want to take on building a house on top of everything else that I have going on. And then I thought, well, Nathan's parents did it. I know several people who've built their own house and somehow they survived. So if they've done it, maybe I can too.

And I started looking at land for sale and it didn't take me long until I found What just [00:21:00] seemed like the perfect 40 acres of pasture land bordered by a creek with a big pond. It was five minutes away from the stores that I go to, five minutes away from my in laws, ten minutes away from the kids school, like it was just an amazing location and I would end up after some prayerful consideration, closing and buying that land just two months later, which is amazing.

And I look back at that and felt like that was such an awesome gift from Nathan, where I was in a place of being frustrated, I was in a place of just feeling really discouraged, and for his birthday, he gave that gift. To me, well, earlier this week, just a couple of days ago, here we are almost a year later and we get another big [00:22:00] snow event.

We got probably a good 4 inches and here in Arkansas, we don't have a ton of infrastructure for. Clearing of snow and ice off of the roads, people work hard and do a good job, but let's just say we are not set up like northern states are to clear the roads and make it easy on folks that that have to drive in these conditions.

So again, here I am snowed in for a couple of days. And I remember at 1 point, just a couple of days ago. I was curled up on the couch with my hot cocoa. I was embracing, you know, getting to see a snow that was going outside. I was thankful that this was a day I didn't need to go anywhere to work. I didn't need to go and get groceries.

All of that had been taken care of. And I was actually working on edits for blueprints for the house that I'm going to build on that land [00:23:00] that I bought. And. As I was looking out at the snow almost in the same position, I was nearly a year before it just kind of hit me like, wow, you know, here I am a year later.

Trying to make edits to floor plans and blueprints for a house on land that I purchased that I didn't even know and wasn't aware of until Nathan's birthday a year ago. And here I am modifying the plans to actually move forward and build a house and continue to build the next part of my life wherever that part of the journey takes me.

And I was just so grateful and felt so loved. In that moment of what a beautiful gift that felt like from Nathan, from God. That helped me feel more connected with him. And for the first time I could look at these [00:24:00] floor plans and be genuinely excited about the future and not be overshadowed by sadness and sorrow that Nathan wasn't going to be there with me to see it come to fruition, because I truly feel like he is going to be able to see it.

He is going to be there and be part of that in one way or another. And that brings so much reassurance and gratitude to me that it's been an amazing journey these past couple of years learning what this next part of life looks like. And so I want to encourage you that if you're feeling disconnected, if you're feeling Like there's no relationship between you and your person that maybe you're forgotten or abandoned, and there's no hope for the future.

There's nothing to look forward to everything that you might have once gotten excited about is going to be ruined by [00:25:00] the fact that your person isn't there. I want to encourage you that that's not necessarily true that may feel how it feels today. But it isn't, doesn't have to feel that way for forever.

And if you will open your mind and open your heart to what's possible, and if you will take those baby steps forward in your journey of grief and healing, that you can experience these next phases of life. With love, joy, and gratitude.

All right. That's what I have for you today. I hope that you found this episode helpful and Nathan, we all just want to say happy birthday.

 

‚Äč

Emily Jones: Hey guys. Thank you so much for listening to the Brave Widow Podcast. I would love to help you take your next step, whether [00:26:00] that's healing your heart, finding hope, or achieving your dreams for the future.

Do you need a safe space to connect with other like-minded widows? Do you wish you had how-tos for getting through the next steps in your journey, organizing your life or moving through grief? What about live calls where you get answers to your burning questions? The Brave Widow Membership Community is just what you need.

Inside you'll find courses to help guide you, a community of other widows to connect with, live coaching and q and a calls, and small group coaching where you can work on what matters most to you. Learn how to heal your heart, find hope, reclaim joy, and dream again for the future. It is possible. Head on over to brave widow.com to learn more. [00:27:00]

 

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