I didn't know I could fall in love again after my husband died of stage 4 colon cancer. After all, my heart froze on that day.
My body was alive, but my brain kept telling my body to shut down, and my mind declared a real war with both my body and heart.
"Shut down body... shut down HEART... you are in mourning."
My brain knew my heart was broken.
The body knew that it was experiencing immense pain after the loss of him. It was almost as if I was having an out of body experience after he died.
But even though I could no longer feel my body, my body kept pumping blood, it kept me staying alive and asking for more life, more love and more physical contact.
But how could I love again and feel alive again with someone else? BUT THE BODY DOES NOT THINK.
The body does not feel the guilt and shame of getting naked again. Yes I said it. Being naked with someone new is not easy after loss.
The body does not know you are afraid to turn on the lights when you are being intimate again. The body does not know that you are lying to yourself. The body is impulsive. The body knows what it wants.
But the only thing that can stop the body from going after what it wants is the heart. The heart cries and prevents the body from experiencing love again. So I need to ask you this question and you need to answer with as much honesty as possible:
Does your body want to love again? Does your body want to be held again?
If the answer is NO, you may be lying to yourself. Ask again.
If the answer is yes: Thank you for taking the first step towards living again.
Now that you know the truth, are you allowing yourself physical contact by stepping out into the world or are you at home watching TV, waiting for time to pass until one day you are magically going to feel ready?
To be honest, if you wait too long your body will slowly stop asking. It will slowly deactivate its natural needs and wants. If that is what you want then go ahead. But if you are like me who dreamed of a life full of companionship, laughter, and love once again then you will risk it all once again.
Your heart will be at war with your body at first. But then it will slowly remember the beauty of love, intimacy and the physical experience we are here to have. AND IT WILL SURRENDER TO IT.
But the surrendering will take place after you allow your body to experience life. I know what you are thinking: How can I even get out there? I am older.
My body does not look good.
Nobody will want me.
I am ashamed to even admit this to my family, to my kids.
What will people think of me?
What's the point?
The point is that you are on this earth to have a physical heart-centered experience, and if your heart is still beating and you can stand on two feet, eat, drink and talk... you should also be able to have sex and get intimate again.
You can fall in love like a teenager and laugh out loud while in bed with a new partner.
And as for me... two years after my loss I fell in love with someone new. At first I was at war with my body just like you. I would go on a date and I would sit as far away from him as possible. It would take me at least an hour to interrupt the war and ask for peace.
Once I interrupted the war for a few moments my frozen heart will melt and if you could see me from afar you would see that sparkle back in my eyes for a few moments.
My body was moving forward instead of leaning back and away, still timid but alive, still afraid but living.
Still frozen but melting BACK TO LIFE slowly...
I know this is hard but here are 5 small steps to melting your frozen heart and giving your body what it is asking for:
1. Get real with yourself. Journal about your real feelings about your body and your needs. You need to tell yourself the truth first and foremost.
2. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell your physical body what you need to say so it knows that you have not forgotten about it. Your body can no longer be invisible. You must start seeing yourself.
3. Go for a massage. Yes you heard me. Book it today. Your body needs to relax.
4. When you wake up in the morning put on your workout gear and go for a brisk walk. Movement is an important part of the return journey to yourself.
5. Dare to turn on the lights when you are naked. No more hiding. Your body needs to be seen by you first and foremost.
End the war with yourself and stay as human as possible, no matter how much loss and tragedy you have endured. Your body needs life every day in order to heal. I wrote my book Second Firsts: Live, Laugh and Love Again so our body and mind can align again after loss. We are not meant to grieve forever.