"When we have been through a trial and survived it—or better still, transformed its terrors into revelations—then we begin to approach other adversities with a different attitude. Change and loss may still knock us off the horse, but soon we are back in the saddle, stronger and wiser than ever. As life progresses, and we continue to transform and refine our consciousness, we gain more insight and humility, greater strength of character, and deeper faith in the meaningfulness of life."---an excerpt from "Broken Open" by Elizabeth Lesser
I have been broken open. I look back at my evolution from wife to widow and everything before and after with a profound sense of peace. Where once I wore the word widow as a scar that I feared would broadcast darkness to the world, I now see it as merely a fact of my life. Where once I hid myself because I was too immersed in grief to embrace my confidence, I now make no apologies for who I am or what I have survived.
Witnessing my husband's final breath changed me forever. Hearing my young children begging me to save him and knowing I could not changed me forever. Evolving through the trauma and grief has changed me forever. Suffering through the loss of friendships during the grief process changed me forever. The changes broke me open...open to who I truly am.
I fought it. I said from the moment Sean left this earth that I wouldn't let his suicide break me. I didn't know what I was saying. I didn't understand what it meant to be broken so I fought the process for a long time. Once I surrendered...once I admitted that everything I had once known and embraced as my reality had been shattered...I could breathe again. I could heal only after I surrendered to the breaking.
Being broken open feels like the first rays of sunlight hitting your skin after a long thunderstorm. Being broken open feels like reconnecting with that long-lost friend you never thought you would see again. The greatest thing about being broken open is the coming back together in ways that are more magnificent than ever imagined.
I like who I am now. I like who I am becoming. I wear my past like I wear my favorite writing sweater...with confidence.