X for (E)xited, but not Extinct – The Existential Woes of the Bereaved Spouse

widower looking lonely and depressed

Death of someone from our immediate family can never be easy. Never! More so, when it’s of the one and the only one who had nurtured your bygone years with love and war, a part of your whole rips down. And you begin to live from what remains of you; the only you. 

The blog series on marital relationships, I have been building on my blog, is back after a 75-day long hiatus. In the last post, W for Widowhood, one of the marital partners withers away. And the other moves on. I got stuck at this juncture. In my mind, I knew I had to continue the series because the other partner still exists. That means, the commitment between them could have come to an exit but the connection that had existed between the two isn’t extinct yet. It continues to stay alive in the memories of the bereaved one.

Relationships, indeed, are so powerful that death becomes impotent to dissolve them. 

One may assume that his/her existence is based on the thoughts and perceptions of his/her own-self. As we dig into this subject, we learn it is only partly true, because our existence also partly depends on the influences from the people we live with, in our everyday lives. 

Marriage brings it – the unconscious picking up of the verities that your spouse believes. Imagine a bundle of invisible waves that surmount over the heads of two partners. Marriage creates that bundle, which dictates every move of their’s – individual and together. 

Death of your spouse rips down a substantial part of this bundle. And what remains is the naked you. What held and covered your propensities is no longer there. When you had to reach out for comfort and safety, when you wanted to cling to an anchor – to either lean on or vent out, or when you simply needed an opinion, there was another human you wouldn’t be afraid of disclosing your vulnerability. Marriage builds that space for us, to let loose what we otherwise wouldn’t. And, when that promised space turns non-existential one day, a portion in you turns barren. The void it forms in your being can only get heavier with days until with time, the leftovers of your bundle come to terms to life’s actuality. 

Widowhood isn’t always about suffering in loneliness. There may be other meaningful relationships which can get us back whole. We may continue to step forward in life with grace. We may, over time, gather will and independence. Yet, the emotion of security that a marriage brings with it cannot be patched by anything outside a marriage. Look deeper into one who has lost a spouse – either in death or in separation – you will find an unresolved piece struggling to embrace wholesomeness. That, is what makes the crux of the existential woes of a bereaved spouse.

With the passing away of the one left, the bond, dissolves once for all into ether. This marks the end of it – from attraction to exit, love relationships can follow a myriad of trajectories. Every tale is a history!

With this post, the Mr. & the Mrs. of the series are put to rest in peace. The last two posts shall continue to speak on relationships with some real-time insights from real-time relationships.  

Header Image Courtesy – iStock Photos

Other posts in the A to Z series:

The Mr. & The Mrs. – The Evolution

A for Attraction – Why we fall in for Who we fall in?

B for Butterflies – The Stage is all Set!

C for Commitment – Stepping Across the First Line of Control

D for Dating – The Fairy Tale Begins…

E for Expose – Here enters the Family

F for Farewell – Goodbye Brahmacharyam!

G for Grihastha – The Mr. & the Mrs.

H for Honeymoon – The Happily Ever After

I for I Openings – Welcome to Reality

J for Joust – The First Fight

K for Kids – No longer the Husband & the Wife

L for Lost – The Lost Art of Making Love

M for Midlife Reflections – Is he/she the right partner for you?

N for Nesting – Coming to terms…..at 40

O for Old, yet not too Old – The Want of a Companionship

P for Parting – The Woes of an Empty Nest

Q for Qualm – The Disquietude at 50!

R for Role Reversal – Say Whatever, it’s the Woman, forever!

S for Second Falling in Love – Sixty is Indeed Sexy!

T for (The) Trajectory of Marital Relationships – Understanding why you both are made for each other

U for Until do us Part

V for (The) Valley of Death

W for Widowhood – One withers away …. at the last!

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