Part of me went with Fareed the day he passed away. So much of who I am today is because of him. I spent months up until now just surviving. Losing my husband shattered everything. I spent 100’s (no exaggeration) of hours handling his affairs on the phone and in meetings. I spent all my alone time reading books, journaling, finding peace amongst the chaos. I attended a season of GriefShare knowing that Hope was the only thing I would settle for. I spent so much of the little energy left, dealing with people who added tons of emotional stress to our plates. I planned events and outings to make William happy. I thrived on routine because it was the only thing that I felt was in my control. I was living and grasping those moments to the best of my ability. Honestly, my heart and mind were learning to live in a completely different way. I was learning to fully embrace life. Life after loss is a journey. Things change, immediately. They also change slowly. My mind, heart, and actions were developing. I was slowly coming out of my cocoon and turning into a butterfly. The loss of Fareed was so devastating it shifted my entire being. With all this going on around me, I went into survival mode. It wasn’t until recently that I actively chose to start thriving.
Loss and grief leave us with two options. We can become better or bitter. I have been actively seeking to become better. I know that God can use all things for his Glory. I can see who I am transforming into. With all the stress, and delving myself into seeking out truth and love, I don’t think I let myself truly grieve one thing in particular. The fact alone that Fareed loved me so much. I grieved my husband and the plans we had made together. I grieved the father he would have been to our children. I grieved the role he played in our lives. I grieved his absence at the birth of our son. I grieved his absence in helping me deal with the stress his loss created. I grieved the way he understood me, and could express that to the world. I grieved my new state as a solo parent. I missed his smile and presence. I missed watching him play with William. I let myself feel the depths of that. I was so focused on the boys and every other aspect that I didn’t let myself grieve strictly for me. Grieve because I lost the most amazing love I have ever known. I had it locked away in my heart. I wasn’t letting anyone steal the happiness that we had. I wasn’t letting his death or anyone try and change what truly was. So I locked it away. And while I locked it away I didn’t allow myself to grieve it, because I was to busy protecting it.
Fareed and I started seeing each other on March 17th. That date just passed and with it returned the Florida heat, many memories started to resurface. I remembered the first night, as we danced together (on top of my iPhone). I remember staying up until the sun rose talking about everything under the moon for five days straight. I remember those last memories of Spring. William and Fareed playing in the back yard, grilling and ice cream trips, planting our garden. The heat brought with it a bitterness remembering those initial days after Fareed passed. I could almost feel the way the world spun around me. I felt as if I was standing there watching everything pass me by. I remember holding a smile watching William run in the heat. I remember wanting to feel, but the sorrow had hollowed me. Maybe it was a way of protecting myself. Maybe I wasn’t ready to grieve our love yet. Maybe I needed to hold onto it tightly. Maybe the locket I had created in my heart kept me going these last 10 months. I will always love Fareed. Death can not take that from us. The relationship does look very different though. I have been loving as if he was still alive. I needed his love to carry me through. His love helped me survive. My world was crumbling. There were some people who wanted to devalue our love story. So i held onto it tightly. I replayed every memory, every love note, every kiss. I remembered the many times he reminded me that I was his wife and we were a team. The many times he said that the other stuff in life didn’t matter, as long as we had each other, as long as we had William. You see I wasn’t able to grieve that love because it was the only thing keeping me from falling.
I have a confession, before I met Fareed I spent years struggling with the question if I was “worthy of love.” I think many of us have had this battle. I was always the loud outspoken one, always the pursuer and not the pursued. This wasn’t just in relationships but friendships as well. Fareed showed me I was worthy of being loved. He reminded me every single day. He loved surprising me and doing random acts of kindness. He opened my car door and kissed me goodbye. When our relationship began he made it a point to pursue me. I didn’t have to question if he liked me, I knew. When our son was born he thanked me for having him. It was a constant appreciation for me and the love that we shared. He fought for me, day in and day out. He showed me through his words, actions, gifts, and time that I was worthy of his love. Why am I telling you this? I realized this week why I have locked away and protected our love.
I’m scared I will never feel that loved again.
Fareed didn’t just care for me. He loved me. He was patient and selfless. He was kind. He took all my broken pieces, held them up in the light and said look how beautiful. “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” He didn’t deal with my quirks, they were the very reason he fell in love with me. He made my soul whole. God had given me the perfect compliment. Where I was weak, he was strong and vice versa. This showed in our relationships, budgeting, parenting, and lifestyle choices. There is no doubt how deeply we loved each other. I think God puts us in relationships on this earth for us to understand his love for us. God gives us Fathers to understand his role as protector. God makes us parents to understand the sacrificial love he has for us. God gives us spouses to help us understand his constant pursuit.
My entire life I desired a love like the one Fareed had for me. It breaks my heart I was only given 800 days to enjoy that. I felt God leading me to the story of Ruth this week. To specifically read along with the She Reads Truth series. It was a reminder that as we pursue him and keep acting in Faith, he will bless us. That there is Hope even in what seems hopeless.
As my cocoon is slowly shed, this week I felt as if part of my wing broke through the hard shell. I was clinging to Fareed’s love so tightly, fearing I would never again feel worthy. I was finally able to realize this week that God sent Fareed to show me I am worthy. That Fareed did love me. He loved me whole heartedly exactly as I am. I even had peace that Fareed would love the person I am becoming. God led me to the story of Ruth to remind me that there is hope even after sorrow. “And I will give you treasures hidden in darkness- secret riches. I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord, The God of Isreal, The one who calls you by name.”
I no longer have to lock away and protect Fareed and my love in fear that it will change. It never will. I now can cherish it and lock it away because it taught me that if someone as beautiful as Fareed loved me, I must be worthy of love. I hope summers heat doesn’t always bring with it a bitter reminder of my loss. I hope one day I can feel whole again.
Right now, I’m letting myself grieve the most beautiful love I have ever known. I am letting myself grieve the love that made Gods words understandable to me. I am letting myself grieve the beautiful person that helped me see I am worthy of love. The person who would be here rooting me forward if he could. The one who would be singing the lyrics “Crazy Girl, Dont you know that I love you.” I will always hold onto Fareeds love. But instead of protecting it, I am choosing to hold onto it because it taught me so much.
I am still scared that I will never find that happiness again. That I will always long for what I once had. But, I am choosing to rest in the Lords faithfulness. A promise of riches hidden in the darkness.