When my husband died, one of the things that crossed my mind and brought a great deal of sadness was knowing that no one would ever love me the way he did.

We had such a special connection. He was the Ying to my Yang. We were the couple that random strangers would stop on the street to tell us how good we looked together or how we seemed so in love. He was bold and owned any room he walked into while I was more introverted and preferred to stay under the radar. He was everything I wasn’t and I picked up where he fell short.

Being with him made me a better person. Watching his passion for life and how he lived it on his own terms gave me courage to step outside my comfort zone.

Then he died.

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I wondered how I could possibly experience love like that again. I questioned who would accept my idiosyncrasies, my flaws, quirks and widow baggage. Would I ever be loved the way my husband loved me?

The answer is NO.

The love I shared with my husband is uniquely our own. It is a culmination of our time together – good and bad. It was shaped by who we were when we met and who we became together.

I am not the same person I was when he died though. I’ve experienced hurt like I’ve never felt before and was broken to my core. In rebuilding post-loss, I left that naive 32 year old behind.

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I’ve since started dating and initially questioned this new relationship. He didn’t fit into my grooves the way my late-hubby did. His love wasn’t expressed in bold statements the way my hubby had often done. This was different.

I want you to know that different isn’t always a bad thing. While my new relationship didn’t start wth the intense chemistry I had with my hubby, it’s managed to spark a flame that’s been slow and steady.

His love is making me tea for a sore throat in my favorite mason jar. His love is dropping a pin on my navigation app because I can never remember where I parked. His love is walking my dog when he sees me busy with my kiddo. His love is bringing me an emu egg (yes, emu) because it reminded him of our relationship. His love is buying peppermint bath soap to help with my congestion. His love is purchasing a special writing app to help with my blogging.

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This love is not the same as I had with my husband but it’s no less filling. No less safe. No less satisfying. No less beautiful. No less gratifying. No less meaningful.

The next time you question if you’ll ever again have the kind of love story you had with your spouse, please know that it’s perfectly okay if you never do. Your new relationship will be a blank slate wanting for the picture you paint with your new partner to turn into its own unique story.

Widowed at 32 years old, Kerry runs a support group for young widows and widowers venturing back into the world of dating.

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