When I started dating my late husband we both knew at the time we were “Soulmates.” There was a strong connection that was undeniable, as if we had known each other a thousand years. And maybe that’s what the oldies mean when they say “you know when you know.” Well, we knew.
Growing up I always knew what real love looked like, and how you’re supposed to treat the ones you love. But romantic love was also sort of a mystified thing that was portrayed in the many chick flicks I watched. My late husband (who probably wouldn’t be thrilled to admit) told me he wanted a “Notebook” type marriage. He wanted someone who loved him, fought for him, and understood him on such a deep level. We did that for each other.
As those 800 days progressed, we both started to realize how much love is a choice. And while we were madly in love with each other, it’s because we chose it every single day. We chose to compliment the others weaknesses. We chose to find delight in each others quirks.
During an argument right before our first son was born, we came to the conclusion that if something ever happened to one of us, we never wanted to regret our last words. I don’t know if all couples have that deep conversation, but it seemed like such grace after losing him. Because every single time we disagreed- We CHOSE to listen to each other and find a solution. We chose not to talk out of angry, but because of our love come to a compromise.
And every single moment with him, since day 1, but especially since that conversation- felt like a deliberate decision to love him well. While the initial magnetic like pull, pulled us together. Love kept us there. Not this love at first sight jingle jangle. True love. The hard days, I take you as you are, all that you are type of love. Love was no longer something you “fall” into, but something you choose. And it became deeper and richer every single time we chose it.
Marriage is a joining of two souls. Leaving your father and mother as you join to become your own family. All that you are, is so much of who that person is. You vow “until death do us part.” Never fathoming the weight of those words. That you could potentially fulfill your vows years before you anticipated.
So when Fareed died, half of me died with him. Our dreams, our goals, our marriage, our bond, our family- completely shattered. And my “soulmate” was gone. The one person who completely understood me. The person I vowed to love in sickness, and in health, until death do us part.
We had parted.
And that shattered me.
In a million different ways.
But it especially shattered me because my “soulmate”, the one who fate had brought me to, was only given 800 days with me. What did my future look like without him in it. Could I ever be happy again with my souls counter part missing?
But I knew that answer.
I didn’t want to admit it.
But I knew I could love again.
I knew that I could choose someone day in and day out.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and it never would be Fareed.
But yes, I could Love again.
Because love isn’t the magnetic pull. The magnetic pull is something in and of itself. It’s your souls thirst being fulfilled. It’s seeing a reflection and a longing in front of you. But that longing doesn’t make anything last, Love does.
And in those 800 days, Fareed chose me every single day. When it was hard and when it was easy. When the world seemed for us, and when the world seemed against us. He chose me. He loved me.
Two days before he passed we were talking about some of our desires via text and his exact words were “maybe when we are old and gray.”
Neither of us knew how limited our days together were. All we knew is that we were choosing each other day after day. We wanted to choose that for the rest of our lives. And because of his choices I have learned so much about love, so much about my worth.
When Fareed died, half of me went with him. Because we had become one. But that’s what grief is, that’s what life after loss is. Rebuilding that other half. And as I rebuilt that other half, my brain and heart started to connect on a truth I knew long ago. Fareed wasn’t my soulmate. He wasn’t something missing from me. He was my counterpart. And as much as I would like to believe some magnetic forces between our hearts brought us together, it didn’t. Our choices did. Once I accepted that truth, love became much richer. I didn’t “fall” into love with Fareed. I chose him EVERY single day. I fulfilled our vows until death do us part. And he did the same for me.
And while Soulmates, fate, and over romanticized love sound picture perfect they aren’t. They leave no choice. It’s a matter of something that just happens to you. And trust me, Fareed didn’t just happen to me.
His love was patient, kind, understanding, deep, and intentional. It was a choice.
And with that I accepted that Fareed was never my soulmate, nor will anyone ever be.
Something my heart knew but my brain (1,000 chick flicks later) had to catch up on.
That the world wasn’t against me.
That his death didn’t mean I would be eternally miserable. That his death didn’t take every shot of love I ever had in this life with him.
Quite opposite, loving someone so deeply and so intensely- as if our souls were made for each other. Then losing that love so suddenly and unfairly. Has taught me more about love and life then I ever could have imagined.
His loss and love have formed me into a much gentler, and kinder person. Who can feel that much more, and live with that much more intention. Because I truly understand that everything can be gone in the blink of an eye.
I now understand love in a different way.
That I know because Fareed chose to love me every day for the rest of his life. He would also choose to love me in his death. Which means my happiness.
It’s funny how things change.
Who we are, our views.
I was once very opinionated. But after watching everything crumble, and seeing life through a completely different lens that has changed.
Just over a year ago, I was a firm believer in soul mates.
But not now.
Now I can see a much richer beauty in the choice vs “fate.”
I don’t know what the future has in store for me.
And no I haven’t started dating.
But I’m at peace knowing the true meaning of love.
And that in Fareeds absence he would want me to choose.
To choose to love life again.
To choose LOVE.
Hey- I’m a 25 year old widow who has loved deeply and lost much. I don’t claim to know it all and if you believe in Soulmates, great. I just know the roller coaster journey the Lord has taken me on and this is my little corner of cyberspace where I take you along for the ride.