About 8 months after Rob's death, I turned on the TV and oddly it was on a station I rarely watch. As I went to turn the channel, I was stopped as I heard the word widow. I watched further as the story was a documentary on a man who was struggling with cancer and who knew he only had a short time to live.
The part of this documentary that really impacted me was when they were interviewing this man's wife about his life, his struggle and her life after loss. He asked her, "What good has come out of your husband’s death?" I was appalled at such a question and held myself back from throwing the channel changer at the TV. How could an interviewer ask such a question? Then I continued to listen. The wife was speechless and just looked blankly at the interviewer. He said, "Are you closer to your children?" She responded by saying, "Yes, we are closer." The interviewer then asked, "Do you look at life differently?" She replied, "Yes, I no longer take things for granted." The interviewer questioned her by saying, "Well, those are good things, aren't they?"
As difficult as it was to admit good things come out of bad things, (including death, the most difficult bad thing of all), I was able to really process the message he was trying to relay. As I sat and thought about this documentary, I wondered, how did the TV channel get switched to this one that aired this documentary? Was this a "there's more to what we see" moment? Was this channel there for me to see? I also couldn't get my mind off the question the interviewer asked, "What good has come out of your husband’s death?" Did I have the courage to admit that I'm closer to my kids, or I definitely don't take things for granted, and yes, there have been good things. We are less judging, more giving, more loving, and today, i understand has been good for many in many ways.
To see or admit the good takes a lot of courage because we would rather have our loved one with us than have to be thankful for the good that came after our loss. There are many guilty feelings that come with that. Yet, when being with us is not a choice and to truly move forward in our journey - can we, without guilt allow ourselves to see and feel the good? Perhaps when we do, acceptance follows, love prevails and clarity walks with us in our journey. Life is meant to be lived, laughs are meant to be heard and love is meant to be felt. Find the good, see the good, allow the good. Love never dies.
by Vonnie Woodrick
About the Author
Vonnie Woodrick created i understand in 2014 in loving memory of her husband Rob who lost his battle with depression in 2003. Vonnie routinely provides speaking engagements to private organizations and community groups throughout the year in an effort to raise awareness about suicide and encourage education about mental health. Learn more about i understand's "Love Heals" Lecture Series.
This blog is part three in a six-week series titled, "Life After Loss".