“Healing Hearts” (Post #13) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower
How long does it take for a cut on my finger to heal? Well depending on the cut, it usually scabs over in a couple of hours. And in a couple of days, the scab is gone and new skin is covering the wound. And in a couple of weeks, it’s beginning to disappear entirely. That’s pretty darn good for my 62 year old body!
But the variables determining healing time for a cut are numerous: how deep, how long & wide, your platelet count, your age, your health, how soon you treated it, (don’t get bored with this list; hang in there, it correlates quite nicely with men who’ve lost their spouse), repeated trauma at same location, number of sutures, presence of infection, chronic diseases in the body, your immune system . . . the list is endless.
So, how long does it take for a man to heal who’s lost his spouse? A similar list can be generated; (I’ll spare you the pain of the entire list) widowed, divorced or annulled?; length of marriage?; condition of marriage?; your ages?; your health (mental & physical)?; other trauma you’re dealing with?; financial issues?; job requirements?; prolonged illness of spouse?; your temperament?; do you have children? and their ages?; (ok, I’ll quit – but you get the idea). If you’ve lost your spouse, I bet you could look at the previous paragraph, and correlate many of the wound-healing variables to your grief-healing variables. And, sorry to say, if your heart looks like the one I have at the top of this post, healing is gonna be a long-time-coming.
My psychologist friend told me men begin on-line dating with the unrealistic expectation that it will help them recover; that it will help them heal from the loss of their spouse. He continues to postulate that women, however, begin on-line dating after they’ve resolved most of their healing issues. It appears as if men take less time to become socially involved, for a number of reasons (many of which are blamed on so-called inherent weaknesses of my gender; i.e. abundant emotional needs and vulnerability tendencies).
Talk about irony, my closest friend for the last 125 years (slight exaggeration) is now traveling the same lifepath; he’s now also grieving the loss of his wife – also stolen by cancer. If I’d list the similarities between our lives, our marriages, and our loves, you would ‘bet the house’ that his “wound” will heal on a similar timeline as mine. WRONG! I’VE LEARNED that – just as there are no two snowflakes alike, there are no two grieving paths alike. Just as my healing path will be unique to his, my dating mistakes will also be unique (he’s grateful for that, I’m sure). So I’ve also learned I can’t compare myself to any other griever; and I can’t burden myself with any self-imposed expectations or timelines when it comes to healing. You may disagree with me, but when it comes to healing from losing a spouse, I’ve learned that my God is . . . well, I believe the lyrics from Hillsong ‘Healer’ say it best:
You hold my every moment, You calm my raging seas.
You walk with me through fire, And heal all my disease.
I trust in You.
I believe You’re my Healer, I believe You are all I need.
I believe You’re my Portion, I believe You’re more than enough for me.
Jesus You’re all I need.
Nothing is impossible for You.
You hold my world in Your hands.
To hear the song in its entirety: click here.
Now that you’ve finished reading this post, I’m sure you have some thoughts on this topic, and I’d love to know what they are. Feel free to post your comments, whether you disagree or agree with what I’ve learned. I’d be indebted to learn from your thoughts and experiences too!