This article is in loving memory of my beloved soulmate, whose wisdom, insight, and life lessons I will cherish until the end of my days.
What Happens When Your Soulmate Dies Before You?
How many of us have faced the reality of the death of a loved one in our lives? Pretty much everyone, I would imagine.
Today, I'm going to talk specifically about the death of a spouse and/or soulmate.
Physical death—although the doorway into another life for the person who has died—is still a doorway that we can't enter unless we ourselves die. Reading about near-death experiences or perhaps even experiencing them for ourselves does not mean we really know what life is like after our physical death. We simply can't. We weren't meant to know.
But one thing we're always reminded of is the necessity to "carry on." What does "carrying on" mean to the survivor who still has to cope with life here on Earth without the presence of the person they are grieving for? I mean, how in hell are we supposed to do that?
Accepting the Reality of Their Physical Death
Well, for starters, it means accepting the reality of your loved one's physical death. His or her physical body died. Just because we continue to communicate with them in our hearts doesn't mean that their physical body didn't die. It did. Their physical presence will never again be known to us.
We will never again be graced by their shadow, their embrace, their touch, their scent, their laughter, or the eyes that communicated directly into our souls when they looked at us. We will never again have that physical connection with them while we still remain here on Earth. Their physical presence is gone, plain and simple. They are no longer able to be there for us in the way they once were.
This can make us feel incredibly lonely, sometimes to the point of feeling unsafe on all fronts. We can no longer share stuff with them. We might look at their framed picture and talk to them, but we still feel very disconnected. Occasionally, we might ask God for a sign, any sign at all, that our loved one is okay and is hearing our never-ending dialogue with them, but we never get definitive proof, at least not physically.
This is very hard, but we must accept that our loved one is not going to ever again materialize physically to us, no matter how much we pray. It is what it is. They transformed. We didn't.
Re-examining Your Own Faith
At this point, you must be wondering, "Okay, so what's the point here? My loved one died. I am lost without him or her. I still need that person so desperately. How could God be so cruel as to take that love away from me? For that matter, how am I supposed to carry on?"
Our loved ones have already learned all of the lessons they needed to learn while on this planet. I have no doubt that they are now exactly where they are meant to be, and they are surrounded by love and joy and don't want us to hurt over the loss of them in our lives. Instead, they gently guide us each time we falter and keep reminding us, "It's okay. I am surrounded by love, and you will also be surrounded by that same love someday. We are all connected. We are all one."
Re-examining our faith in something greater than ourselves isn't all that difficult once we have lost someone dear to us from this physical world. In order to carry on despite sometimes miserable, lonely circumstances, all we need to ask is, "Did I love that person? Did they touch my heart? Did they make me feel loved?"
If your answer to those questions is yes, then you already have your bigger answer. Once you connect with someone on this planet, you are connected forever. Love is more than an emotional response hardwired into our physical brains. True love transcends all things physical and is what sustains us through our incredible journeys, with or without our loved ones. It is the essence of our lives. It is what makes us tick, and we would all die without it.
Living Day to Day—Putting One Foot In Front of the Other
"Yeah, but how do I put one foot in front of the other on a day-to-day basis? I mean, this is SO hard for me. How in the heck am I supposed to 'carry on'? The love of my life is no longer with me! Don't you get that?"
Yes, I truly do get that. What's the point of going through the motions each and every day if our loved ones are no longer here to share it with us? I mean, it's a pretty empty life, right? All we want to do is speed up our own demise so that we can be with them. Yes, let's pull out that cask of wine or case of beer and live the rest of our lives regretting the things that we never had any control of, to begin with.
That type of thinking is okay for a while, but only for a very little while. And I do believe that anyone who has lost someone dear to them is entitled to their meltdowns, so long as those moments/hours/days of sheer agony and despair don't transform into an entire lifetime of grief.
At the end of the day, after we have cried our eyes out and damned our wretched lives enough times, we have to start thinking about our own contribution to this planet and what that means to us. We have to come to grips with whether or not our day-to-day existence means anything to anybody.
Do you have a son or daughter you've become estranged from? When was the last time you called your elderly father or mother? Did you make someone else smile because of your sense of humor? Did you joke with a co-worker, friend, or stranger on the subway? What did you do today to contribute to the life of another human being? Are you aware that whatever small token of kindness (without any hidden agenda) you extend to another person is also helping to fortify their soul during their own tough journey through this sometimes brutal and perplexing life we all lead?
Yes, your life has a day-to-day purpose, even if you have lost the only person you thought could ever understand you or love you for exactly the person you are. You'd be surprised by how many of the good things your loved one taught you could be easily extended to others. Pass on their gift. Share the joy. Make each day an opportunity to do at least one good thing for a fellow human being. That will make your departed loved one very, very happy indeed, something you will be proud to tell them at the end of the day while you are talking to their photograph.
Finally, Give Yourself Permission to Love Again
"Love again? I doubt it. There will never be another person on this planet who could replace him/her."
True. No one will ever replace your loved one in your heart, nor should they. But to forever close your heart to others would be a real shame. After all, every person on this planet needs love; it's so basic to our survival. And our hearts are capable of infinite love for as many people as we will let into our lives. Our hearts can never be too full of love.
If you allow your own soul to die inside, you are removing yourself from this existence and are living out the rest of your life almost like a prison sentence, just crossing off the days on the calendar until you can be with that person again. In the meantime, all of the opportunities to connect with other souls on this earth are passing you by unnoticed. It's no longer your loved one who has become a shadow; it's you!
Would your loved one want you to suffer so? Would they want you to waste the rest of the precious gift that is your life by never again feeling love for another person? Would they want you to live in mortal fear of experiencing yet another loss of someone you dare to love? Would they want you to feel guilty that you are somehow disrespecting their memory simply because you have found it in your heart to love someone again?
We all know the answers to these questions. In every case, it's an emphatic no.
I know an incredibly loving woman who has survived the death of two husbands and yet still found it in her heart to love a third. Had she not done that, she wouldn't have had the experience of making someone else's journey through this life as happy as it was. Her gift of love was blessed upon others three times! Do those previous two husbands look down from heaven and say, "Gee, I'm jealous that she's with another man"? No, they say, "Thank you for continuing to be the loving person that you are. That is why I fell in love with you in the first place."
Another woman that I know died peacefully a few months ago. She was the fiancée of my best friend. She herself had lost her husband before she met my friend. She used to say to him that her departed husband had picked him out for her!
During the time she was alive, I saw such an incredible transformation in my friend; I can't even begin to tell you. His step was lighter, his eyes twinkled more, and his self-confidence soared. She truly was the "love of his life." A love he would never have known had she shut off her heart to the world while she waited to join her deceased husband. She made an incredibly wonderful difference in the life of my dear friend, and I thank her for that.
He says to me now, "When I die, they will both be there to greet me when my time comes."
At the same time, if you have no desire to ever enter into another romantic relationship in your lifetime, the abundance of love inside of you still has the potential to generously spill over toward others in so many rewarding ways, whether they're a family member, friend, or even a complete stranger. Your heart will always seek a way to express your love to someone, somehow, simply because your soulmate taught you so well how to love and be loved in its purest form. Share that gift! And remember that love (in its many forms) always wins, but living with a closed-off heart always loses.
This one's for you, my beloved Shaun. Thank you for teaching me how to live with an open heart. I love you.
Questions & Answers
Question: Do you believe it's possible to find/have more than one soulmate during your lifetime? I finally had found mine at age 72. We had 8 months together before he died suddenly. I had left a 40-year marriage to be with him (no regrets there). It is a difficult time in life to put things together again. He was/is my absolute soulmate.
Answer: First, my deepest condolences for your loss.
To answer your question, yes, I believe it is possible to be blessed with more than one soulmate in your lifetime, provided that you live with an open heart. This does not mean that you will stop mourning your beloved departed one; it only means that you will allow yourself to once again love someone unconditionally, and more importantly, allow them to love YOU unconditionally. Sometimes there are secret soulmates waiting in the wings to bring incredible love and joy into your life if you will only let them. And this can happen at ANY age.
Question: I lost my soulmate in a car accident 3 months ago. I miss her every single day that goes by. I feel so guilty because I got romantic feelings for another. I believe in my heart that she would want me to carry on and love another as I loved her, however, I feel it might be too soon and feel guilty for "moving on too fast." Do you believe I am a terrible person for having feelings for another so soon after her passing?
Answer: First, I am so very sorry for the abrupt and tragic loss of your soulmate. I can't imagine a stronger human sorrow.
No, you are NOT a terrible person for having romantic feelings for another so soon after your soulmate died. And yes, I believe that if your loved one would want you to carry on, then you should do so while making them very proud of you at the same time. Don't think about mourning time limits like one year, three years, 10 years, or forever. Go with what your truest of hearts tells you loud and clear. Arbitrary time limits have no useful purpose here.
I curled up in a ball after my soulmate died and was very vulnerable to each emotion that overcame me. One minute I was feeling so blissful, basking in my soulmate's eternal love, and the next minute, I was plunged into the deepest of despair, feeling utterly lost and alone without him on planet Earth.
Losing one's soulmate makes us feel very vulnerable indeed. It reminds us that none of us are invincible, none of us are meant to easily handle the human experience alone, and there is no cure for the broken heart, except perhaps to give it more genuine, unconditional love and acceptance.
My advice would be to make sure that your romantic feelings for this person aren't there simply because they profess their love for you or make you feel less alone. Your loneliness right now will be at an all-time high, and there is nothing wrong with seeking comfort ... so long as you realize your heightened emotions may be a bit too intense to truly see that person for who they are or what feelings they may have for you.
If your feelings and her feelings are on the same page in an open and trusting environment, then you have a decent chance of sharing your heart and loving fully again. But take it very slowly, and make sure she realizes that you are barely beginning your new journey of living without your soulmate.
Question: What if our soulmate that has passed doesn't come to us in our dreams nor do we feel any type of presence from them? What could the absence of a passed soulmate in dreams mean?
Answer: I believe that we all grieve differently. And there is no reason you should feel compelled to 'sense' the presence of your departed loved one - or even experience dreams about him or her - to prove that you will continue to love each other for eternity.
Plus, when you think back on your soulmate and how they made you feel so wonderful about yourself and life in general, you are indeed having a mini-conversation with them each time. Your hearts are touching whenever, for example, a song lyric, fragrance, melody, or perhaps even a raging thunderstorm makes you remember him or her fondly.
You also honor and connect with your departed loved one each time you have a purposeful conversation with them in your head or silently ask for their guidance when you are faced with a difficult decision.
Rest assured, your soulmate will always be there for you, whether or not you 'feel' their presence with physical goosebumps or dreams.
Question: Do you believe I can give my heart and love 100% again? He keeps on saying that I have his whole heart and 100%, but he will never have my whole heart and 100% as he will always have to share my heart with my late husband. He gets frustrated and says that we will never feel the same about each other.
Answer: Yes, I believe that our hearts have an infinite capacity for love.
However, a new partner may naturally seek more reassurance of your love for him, especially if he knows how much you loved your late husband. I think that this is a normal (and indeed healthy) insecurity that should diminish over time.
And once he feels more secure in your relationship, perhaps he won't require you to verbally make a percentage comparison between your love for him and your love for your late husband. Anyone who has ever loved a widow or widower should be prepared for sharing some room in that person's heart - but it doesn't mean that there is any LESS love available to them.
If your current partner is getting frustrated because he will always have to share your heart with your late husband, he will need to get over it, plain and simple, if he wants to keep you. You wouldn't be the person you are today without your late husband's influence on your life. In fact, any suitor vying for your love needs to accept that you have a history ... a history that has shaped you and includes the unconditional love that you will always have for your late husband.
At the same time, do I believe that you can give your heart and love 100% again? Absolutely! But it is not something that can be pressured out of you by current lovers or family members.
Instead, one day, you may glance over at your partner and think of all the wonderful experiences you have had with him in recent memory and you will smile, give thanks, and feel utterly blissful. You will live in harmony with your feelings of love toward your departed husband AND your new beau. And these loving feelings can live harmoniously side by side, I guarantee.
Question: It's been 15 years since my partner passed. In my dreams, she was upset with me until her family brought her urn. Since then, my dreams of her are joyful. She's not mad anymore. What does this mean?
Answer: It may be that your heart is now relatively at peace, knowing that your partner's physical remains are nearby. To some, this enhances the feelings of closeness and intimacy with their departed soulmate, and even this tiny sense of control may help somewhat to diminish one's anxiety.
Like free-falling without a parachute, it's so very hard to feel in control of ANYTHING when one's beloved soulmate dies. It is normal to question everything, even the meaning of our dreams, when we feel so lost, alone, and forsaken. This is when our faith in something greater than ourselves must kick in. We must believe that God is looking after us, even when it appears we have lost everything that was ever meaningful to us.
And while I do believe that our departed loved ones can communicate with us in our dreams from time to time, especially to gently guide us, I think that our dreams also reflect our true selves and provide valuable insights into how we are really feeling about our life after losing our soulmate.
Question: The love of my life died suddenly at the age of 30. We had been together for 3 and a half years. He had just bought a house and I’ve since found out that he had planned to propose to me in December. Why would God take away our futures from us? In my heart, all I want is to be with him again. When I die, will my soul reunite with my lover again? He came to me in a dream and I promised him I would come and be with him and he was so happy.
Answer: You ask the question of the ages: "Why would God [insert question here]?
As humans, we are not meant to know certain things until we realize, "Wow, I'm so glad that happened to me back then ... because it brought me to exactly where I am NOW!"
When your soulmate entered your life, he may have made you feel so special and loved, while asking for nothing in return except for your love. It may have felt as if you had truly found your heaven on Earth. Life couldn't be more joyous or full of hope and excitement. And then the unspeakable happened ... he died out of the blue, and you were left with your shattered dreams of a future together, replaced by the nightmare of him being gone and your desire to follow him to the ends of the Earth.
But you still have a very important journey to complete going forward, my friend.
First, remember that you will NEVER be without your soulmate. He has now formed an integral part of your heart, and he will be there for you whenever you need him. Just let your mind be quiet and listen closely for his voice and guidance.
Second, realize that there has always been an epic purpose for your own life. Your soulmate touched your life so deeply and completely that you just KNEW your paths were meant to cross. He then left you stronger and wiser than you ever thought possible, and his comforting presence will remain with you forever. Use his gift of unconditional love for the power of good ... always. Look at all the ways that YOUR love is meant to heal and improve the lives of others going forward. Your soulmate taught you how wonderful it felt to have someone truly love you unconditionally, his loving arms wrapping around your trembling soul until you felt 100% safe again. That is the unconditional gift of his love that you simply MUST pay forward in gentle ways during your own lifetime: to a crying child, to an angst-ridden teenager, to a lost and homeless older soul living on the street, to a helpless animal caught in a hunting trap.
Third, you asked whether or not when you die, you and your soulmate will be reunited again. Well, there is no need for a reunion because your beloved is already wrapped around your soul like a warm blanket, just like your love will envelop his heart forever and always. Now, you just need to learn how to live your life on a day-to-day-basis without his physical presence, knowing that the most important part of him has now become a part of you.
Question: I lost my wife 2 years ago. I have recently started dating again, but nothing has worked out. Is it me, or have these been the wrong women for me? I feel like my wife was it, it took me 36 years to find her, and I don't want to have to wait another 36 years to find someone else. What is going on with me?
Answer: First, my deepest condolences on the loss of your wife. Nothing can adequately prepare a person for such a devastating and sorrowful event. Its like a volcano erupting, leaving behind nothing but ashes. Your world is rocked to its very core as you sift through the debris, desperately trying to maintain your faith, hope, sense of purpose, and peace of mind so you can at least sleep for a few hours here or there ... so you can manage a weak smile now and then ... and so you can try to start rebuilding your life one tiny step at a time.
Dating can be awkward and stressful at ANY time in your life, let alone trying to find a new soulmate or at least someone to spend enjoyable time with. Here are a few suggestions that I hope will help to lighten your journey:
1) Don't worry so much about "what is going on" with you right now.
You lost your wife, your soulmate. No more needs to be said about that - you have suffered one of the most painful losses known to mankind. Cut yourself some slack. You are bound to be more than confused at this point in your life. Just go with it and try not to over-analyze your feelings. Don't worry about the next 36 years of your life or whether you'll find another soulmate in your lifetime. The heart wants what the heart wants ... and when your heart is truly ready to love again, it will let you know and lead you in the right direction.
2) Try not to see each date as a potential life-partner candidate.
Instead of thinking, "OMG, I hope she's 'THE ONE'," try to think more along the lines of, "She sounds like fun! It would be great to have someone I'd actually like to hang out with now and then and enjoy playing tennis with or sharing laughs at a comedy club." Take the pressure off both you AND your date. There is nothing wrong with expanding your circle of platonic friends, male or female.
3) Be mindful of your online dating profile (if you have one).
If you indicate right up front that you're a widower seeking a new relationship (soulmate), that might prove to be too much of a perceived emotional burden for potential companions. The pressure will be on them to measure up to your ideal soulmate, which, of course, they never will. This is not the time to bare all. But you don't have to be dishonest either. You can put a truthful profile out there, but keep it in general terms for now - you can always elaborate more about your situation later as you see fit.
Most important is to learn to have genuine fun again, even in little chunks, whether it's riding a roller-coaster or enjoying a 3-D movie. No matter what your favorite pastime is, make time for it and even consider sharing it with someone else from time to time. No pressure. No commitment. Just a really fun time with a new friend and a way to experience laughter again. Joy is sure to follow.
Wishing you much comfort and peace of mind in your journey ahead.
Question: Thank you, this was an amazing read. I lost my soulmate March 23rd of this year. We got together August 27th of last year, and I found out he liked me in middle school! You have answered a lot of my questions, thank you. He was the love of my life and my true soulmate, and he still IS the love of my life. Is it true that he's always watching over me and he still loves me?
Answer: Yes, I believe that the loving connection between true soulmates is eternal and doesn't disappear when one of their physical bodies dies. This belief is based on my unwavering faith that a loving God governs us all and we are sent certain soulmates in our lives when we need them the most ... whether to learn more about ourselves or about the world we live in.
But when we lose a soulmate to death, a huge part of our faith can also die with them. We are only human, after all. Many of us just can't wrap our heads around why a so-called "loving" God would separate us at this very time from the best relationship we ever had. This can leave us feeling cold, alone, anxious, and bereft.
This is where our faith is tested the most. And this is where we have to step up to the plate and say, "Yes, I will always believe in one loving God, even though He took away my loved one."
Question: Can you find a new love without all the usual tensions that so many men seem to put on a new relationship?
Answer: My short answer would have to be no. The men that you date WILL likely want to sleep with you, for example, so that is a tension of anticipation and longing on their part, and perhaps a tension of "By sleeping with him, I will betray my deceased husband," on your part.
Please feel free to date a man without sleeping with him ... or even giving in to his desire to see you every weekend, such as the case may be. Don't be scared off from dating by a few sketchy experiences. Instead, take it very slowly, stay within your comfort zone as far as intimacy, and above all, just have a blast while hanging out with your new friend.
In the beginning, keep your expectations low, and his too. You don't have to marry each other! Be upfront about your feelings that perhaps things are moving too fast for you or you feel pressured to (insert action here). I guarantee that any man worthy of your affection will understand completely, and even respect you more for it.
Question: I’ve just lost my soulmate 15 days ago, but didn’t know he died until last Friday. I always thought he’d just gone missing. I really felt he was still alive. Why did I not know he had died?
Answer: I believe that having a deep connection with a soulmate does not automatically turn one into a psychic with the ability to specifically "sense" when that person's physical body has left this planet and transitioned to the next life. This would likely entail having a godlike power, which I doubt any of us possess.
My thoughts are that if we are not physically with our soulmate on a daily basis, we may just get an uneasy feeling or something compels us to Google that person out of the blue. Perhaps someone says something or we read an obituary that triggers a memory of our soulmate, which leads us to further investigate what happened to them.
Either way, we are only human - and while we may sometimes wish it weren't so, it appears that we are still very limited in the use of our "sixth sense" in that regard.
Question: I want to love again, but I am afraid my deceased partner's family will judge me. I haven't found someone yet, but I have so much love to give, and I know that my partner left behind a better woman than he had loved, with a better appreciation for people and the shortness of life. How do I deal with the fear of being judged?
Answer: I am so sorry for the loss of your partner. It sounds, however, like he left you with an amazing legacy. As all true soulmates do, he triggered your tremendous appreciation of life, including making you feel like a million bucks. Yes, yes, YES!
With regard to your fear of being judged, I think we all share that feeling from time to time, depending on the situation and how emotionally invested we are with the people involved. Normally, one would like their family and friends to be proud of them and approve of their choices.
It appears that you really love your in-laws and that their opinion strongly matters to you. Chances are that you were fully accepted into your extended family, they fell in love with you, and they were so joyous that you made their brother/son/father so happy. They shared your sorrow over his loss, and you all banded together to weather the emotional storm ahead.
What usually happens next is that you want to keep this extended family close in your life, but you are afraid to tell them that you wish to date again. Do they never want you to date again? Or do they want you to wait longer before you do?
You don't have to tell them that you've just signed up for an online dating service or that you went for drinks with the cute guy in the next cubicle after work (much TOO much information). But if you are really interested in someone, you can start to slowly drop hints that you are resuming your social life by mentioning certain events or circumstances, like, "OMG, I can't believe how bad the traffic was on the way to the concert. Luckily, my friend, Luke, was there to navigate and find the best parking spot." Or you can interject into conversations something like, "Oh, yes, Kevin and I visited those campgrounds too! Weren't they gorgeous?"
Introducing this new man in your life to your existing extended family may seem like a daunting task, but it can be so easy if you do it slowly on your own terms. Ease them into the idea that you have a separate life beyond their jurisdiction ... and that your privacy is paramount!
I am sure that your in-laws don't want to keep you in a bubble for all of eternity. Yet, they still want to protect you going forward. They can't help themselves. It's up to you now to make sure they feel your love, while at the same time, respecting your privacy.
Question: I lost my children’s father earlier this year and have just given birth to his last child this past September. I haven’t had a chance to grieve, and I want to know if it’s too late and I should just accept it for what it is?
Answer: I believe it is never too late to grieve. In fact, if you don't, your sadness over the loss of your children's father may be prolonged indefinitely.
Your children will ask about their father someday. And if they see that you haven't grieved fully, they may also have a hard time grieving the loss of this man in their lives and accepting his death. They are relying on you and your feelings as a guide for their own. If you feel ambiguous or have stuffed your feelings deep inside--unable to move forward--that same behavior may be passed on to your kids.
I recommend that you allow yourself the time to grieve (yes, I know it's tough with young children), reflect on your life with your soulmate, and even go so far as asking his advice to help you raise your children from time to time. If you talk to him quietly in your heart, you will always receive the guidance you need.
Question: Can soulmates become guardian angels?
Answer: Yes, I believe that our soulmates DO become our guardian angels, without a doubt. There is no way that the bond between you and your soulmate will ever be broken - not even in death. What you need to do now is take this beautiful creation that you have become (yes, the one that your beloved saw in you all along) and pass that same healing love to those around you who need it the most. By loving others with a full and open heart, your healing process will begin, and you will use the lessons you learned from your sweetheart in the best possible way. Remember, he's always got your back.