Baggage Claim

With the wonderful Valentine’s Day approaching (rolling my eyes) and also my wedding anniversary, it seems like the topic of love is consistently running through my head. In a way, this post is an extension to my last about “Why I’m Open to Love After Loss.” After losing Paul, I feel like my life has been under a microscope – everyone wants to see what “the widow” or how “the widow” is doing. Every decision comes with the thought, “how is this going to be perceived?” The magnitude of already suffering from being a people pleaser, always looking for the approval of others, has intensified immensely. So naturally when you talk about being open to moving forward in the realm of love – it feels even more so that all eyes are on you. People say there is no timeline to grief – no timeline to moving forward with your life – so why am I hearing that “it’s only been 14 months”…like you think you know if I’m ok or not ok to love again? Why am I explaining my “timetable” to anyone? So I want to address the baggage that I’m carrying and why it looks scary/intimidating but it also comes with compartments full of things you would never expect (good stuff).

I’ve recently explained to many people close to me that being a widow, let alone police widow, that you feel like the untouchable – the one with the scarlet letter in a sense. Like you are so far damaged, way too sad and depressing (because I post sad things about my deceased husband)…or in the police world that it’s viewed as disrespectful to my husband to pursue me with good intentions. And I want to just say right now that all of that is 100% BS coming from the widow herself. Since when did our jobs define our life to the point we don’t pursue love? Like I always say, life is too short and LOVE HAS NO LIMITS. That was a side rant you got for free. 🙂 BUT ANYWAYS, the truth is – I am sad, I am depressed, I am damaged. My question is does that define me? Is that who I am? Are there other people that haven’t lost a spouse that you would say are sad, depressed, damaged? YEP absofreakinglutely. I personally view these as excuses. And you truly don’t KNOW me if that is your only perception.

So here’s the deal with baggage – it is truly what crap you wanna deal or not deal with. You will never, ever meet a person that hasn’t had negative life experiences that have made them be a certain way. Maybe you’ve been cheated on and you don’t trust anyone. Maybe someone made you believe they loved you but their actions didn’t show it – and now your heart is so hard and calloused because of it. Maybe you’re divorced and scared to put yourself out there because you are afraid to fail, again. Being someone that believes real, true love exists can I just say don’t give up. Someone will pick up that baggage and carry it with you. It’s kinda like people saying they will have kids when they reach a certain financial status…ummm if you wait until you have enough money to afford kids, you’re never gonna have them. Just sayin. So why are we waiting to be a whole, complete person with no baggage before we take the plunge in finding love again? I think about Jesus and his love for us when I say this. How many of us can stand before him whole and worthy of his love? None. So I’m asking why are we expecting our human selves to be “fixed” and perfect before pursuing earthly love?

I don’t like using the word baggage for my widow stuff for the simple fact that it sounds negative but it’s purely for illustration purposes. What I want to say about the baggage I’m carrying…it is HEAVY. It is big. It is at times debilitating. It is carrying someone’s legacy and trying so hard not to screw that up. BUT it is beautiful. It is pure love. It is the ability to love someone who isn’t here but also the ability to love someone new with a full heart knowing love is indeed very precious. It is a GIFT. It’s appreciating the moments most take for granted. It’s putting your person ahead of everything every single time because you don’t know what tomorrow holds. It’s forgiving faster. It’s not getting caught up in the little petty things. It’s maximizing your time spent together. It’s saying “I love you” every day and always kissing you goodnight. Don’t mistake this as me saying I’m glad I am a widow that now has a new perspective on life – I wish I wasn’t one. But I would be totally missing the point if I didn’t embrace the new lens through which I see life and love because of what I’ve been through. So while it’s hard for me to feel like the widow with the scarlet letter, I know the special man that God has for me next will appreciate my new eyewear.

P.S. The next man I love is one lucky son of a gun. Period.


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