After Elisa’s secret lover, Eric, suddenly and unexpectedly passes away, she faces the pain, guilt and grief of her loss, alone.
When Elisa contacted me for help after “her friend”, Eric, unexpectedly passed, like so many other people, in my years of advising people, she didn’t quite give me the full story. What I mean is… she gave me the “safe” story first, while she tested the waters. It wasn’t until she could gauge my response and if she could trust me in not judging her, that she felt safe enough to share the whole story of what happened and why she was so deeply grieved in more ways than usual.
You see, like anyone who fears being judged by others, and the added pain it can bring to an already difficult situation, Elisa was hesitant to tell me that Eric was not just her friend. But after a few emails back and forth, she finally told me that he was her boss, and married boyfriend, too, and that, for many years, she and Eric were involved in a secret relationship.
In her own words, and with Elisa’s permission, I share parts of her emails.
“I am a divorcee, and was pretty happy with my life before him, but he won me over with his charm, his wit, his words and his intelligence. As a busy CEO of many offices, I did not see him everyday, only once a week when he came to his office at my workplace. But, we spoke on the phone every work day! Not long, maybe half and hour, sometimes more. The best thing, which I miss so much are those calls. We sure talked A LOT!”
“When we met, we just clicked and there was this superb chemistry between us. It was just about the feeling of being loved that I liked – I never asked for marriage or money and he would ask, “Are you contented this way?” I said, “Yes, I am.” And, at that point in time, I truly was.”
“Being the charmer that he was, he attracted women like bees to pollen! Women just loved his charm and he just craved female attention. I loved him deeply all the same, but although he was married, I was never comfortable with his “flirting” and his attention-seeking with the other ladies. I am ashamed to say that I crafted ways to get him to stop contacting and getting close to women, but it did not work. And, to make matters worse, I didn’t expect him to die suddenly, when he did. I have been struggling with grief and guilt. While grief is a natural process, I cry, I am in a daze etc – it is the guilt I find so hard to deal with, that it is killing me.”
“See, he was the only man I dedicated myself to for three and a half years, and my mind and energy was always hardwired to wondering who he was texting or talking to now? I am wracked with guilt for what I did. I want him to forgive me. Please Jade, how can I do that and how do I know if he has?”
“So now you know the true story. After his death, I was a wreck. I grieved alone due to reasons you now know. I woke up at 2 or 3 am every morning and could not go back to sleep. I also became the subject of office gossip. You see, I changed my work times so I got off work earlier. I used to leave the office late because he was such a workaholic and he wanted me to be like him. I now changed my schedule and I didn’t expect even that – to be picked up by the office gossipers. It hurts to hear the gossip when my heart is still grieving.”
To make matters worse for Elisa, she shares the following about another woman she had heard about earlier, but found out with a certainty that Eric was also involved with this woman, Nancy.
“After his passing, I found out that I was not the only one. Like I said, Eric was quite a ladies man. Everyone knew that. A few years ago, I heard news about him and a married woman, Nancy, but that was before we became a couple. Then, when the news resurfaced again, I asked and he said, nothing; Just friends, ex-colleagues. I left it at that.”
“At his funeral, Nancy did not turn up. Two days later, I called up to ask why, of course in a gentle way. Yes, I knew where she worked and I called. After all, he was gone. She said she couldn’t, due to some problems she had to step back and asked him to stop contacting her since January of 2015. We spoke, and she was relieved that she could share about their “close friendship” with me. I didn’t tell her we were more than close friends. What for? To hurt her?”
“We have been in touch and supporting each other. She misses him too and was feeling bad that she couldn’t go to his funeral or send him a birthday sms. She has been wondering if he would wish her happy birthday, but he died a few days before her birthday. I called her – yes, on her birthday. “It was her sign”, she said, that he still thought of her. She was very happy.”
“Today, I took a day off and Nancy and I were smsing and sharing our memories of him. Could it be that my spirit guide was leading me into this? – because Nancy started to reveal that they were indeed more than friends. He has known her for 20 years. He went to her wedding and years later, asked why they didn’t marry each other. She revealed to me how he called her everyday until January of 2015, bought her perfumes, presents, kissed her, hugged her……she said he asked her to promise never to leave him (he asked the same thing of me). All that he asked or told me, had been said to her.”
“This is not normal stuff you say, do, or give to a married lady. She was special to him and he was two timing me because I was “convenient” since I was single. I wasn’t angry with her – I was so so so angry with him and I told him how I felt and what I thought of him, in tears! I felt like I could just put him aside – he doesn’t deserve my tears! And I’ve been crying for a week now! I cooled down after a while and went back to my chores.”
“Jade, I genuinely cared and loved this man and this news was very painful for me to bear; finding out the way I did, after he was not around physically. If I did, I would have left because I deserve better. I feel cheated and cheap. The other lady was married – but he carried on with her – she said nothing “sexual” but they were so charged with emotion that she cried when she could not text him on his birthday. The gossip was too strong she said. He loved her and she, him. I came along only 3 years ago – they’ve known each other 20 years. Due to religion, she married someone else but stayed emotionally connected with him all this time. Whether it was a sexual relationship or not, it doesn’t matter to me now.”
“So there you have it, Jade. The tables have been turned. I read somewhere that spirits take on the same personality as their human form – if that is true, wow! I honestly am still very unhappy and this experience with him has made me more wary of men. What a way to find out! I sense him around me. Should I just ignore his spirit? I feel like that’s what I want to do. Oh Jade – I thought I met a good man. Then, he was taken from me. I accept that. Then I find out – THIS. I don’t even know what think anymore!”
Commentary- Sometimes It does happen that those of us left behind, find out hidden information about our deceased loved one, after the fact… and it can be devastating! On top of the grief one already feels after a loss, which happens to be one of the most painful and difficult processes we can ever experience, we could discover some form of deception, making it complicated as to how to interpret the ‘what and who’ we originally thought we were grieving. In these situations, as illusions shatter, the grief process quickly becomes convoluted, as the truth becomes plainly revealed. In Elisa’s case, even though she suspected Eric’s infidelity with other women, and although she was also the “other woman” to Eric’s other women, as well as his wife, it didn’t hurt her any less. This was an incredibly painful experience for her.
Now, given that Elisa was in a “hidden” relationship, who could she talk to? Who would listen and show compassion in her world? Who could she really just “spill the beans” with, to get the help she needed? As providence would have it, it was a “stranger” on the internet! I’m so glad she found GriefandMourning.com or I wouldn’t be telling her story.
There are so many people out in the world, that have to grieve in secret because of who they love, the lifestyle they have chosen, sexual orientations, racial differences, cultural taboos, religious rules and so on. Social norms often dictate the way things “should” be and how a person “should” be living their life. How do we know how things “should” be? What if we think we do, but really don’t? Perhaps it’s a part of their life experience, perspective and growth. Who are we to say?
Think of all the pain one would feel after suffering a loss, but could not share, because they do not feel safe to tell their friends and family, because of the fear of judgment. If only LOVE could come before judgment. If only LOVE could ALWAYS come first!
Now, of course Elisa’s circumstances might not be the best to share openly, given the potential for gossip and also that a wife and family are somewhere grieving. And although Eric may have exhibited some character defects in some of his actions that had the potential to hurt others, he did deeply love his wife and family, and all who he loved, in the way that he did, and he wanted to protect that. Perhaps Eric, a great being, was just acting out his part in the grand scheme of things. Many times the greatest teachers in our lives are the ones that really put us to the test of LOVE!
Although Elisa was, I’m sure, curious, I was quite impressed that she was kind and brave enough to be there for Nancy; the “other woman”, who thought she was going through her grief process in secret and all alone. Even though this hurt like hell, and she balled her eyes out for hours after meeting with her, Elisa was there for Nancy in her grief and never let on that she too, was close to Eric. Elisa also received the gift of clarity of the situation, which has enabled her to face facts, see that she was not the only one, and begin her healing journey.
During a Skype session with Elisa, while she was naming all of the amazing qualities that Eric possessed, I heard a very deep man’s voice agree with her accolades of him. Trying not to interrupt her, but hearing this man on our call, I was anxious for a break in the conversation to ask her a question. “Is Eric’s voice extremely deep?” “Yes, every deep.” “Well I just heard a man with a very deep voice proudly agreeing with everything you just said!” Okay, so this probably leaves very little doubt that Eric’s persona is still the same as it was when he was on the Earthly plane, as Elisa had wondered before.
So now, although Elisa still loves Eric very much and forgave him, she was still feeling guilty at what she had done, and was madder than hell at him for what he did, as well. As a spiritual opportunist, I firmly believe in taking everything life throws at us and turning it into something extraordinary. I could see the great potential in Elisa, to use this experience to transform herself and grow past it to evolve herself in ways, that without this experience, she could not. Elisa is smart and intuitive but had a great hurdle to jump, and because of the amazing being that she is… I was sure that she could.
About the hurt… In using this opportunity to the fullest way possible, I advised Elisa, for her greatest growth, to open her heart so wide that she could never hurt like that again. I advised Elisa to trust that what happened is for her own personal growth and greatness and instead of being a victim of the situation and this man’s actions, let it serve to strengthen her to be wiser, stronger and transformed as a being, simply because of this experience. Hey, if we don’t turn our lemons into lemonade then what’s the point? If you don’t take and use difficult experiences, they will take and use you. And they will.
What? Back up a bit… Did she say to open up our hearts so wide that we could never hurt again? Yes, I did! This is something I learned with Christian’s death. Just when it hurts the most, and just when you are sure your heart will break from the weight of the pain… open it further to ensure that it does! I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but when you do this… when this really happens… you will have made the journey from your head to your heart. It is only in this powerful transformation that the excruciating mental and emotional pain that is experienced inside the head, becomes comforted by the heart. To feel conceptual pain is to feel stuck and tormented. To feel heart-felt pain is to feel sorrow and bittersweet, but it flows through. And it heals faster when you experience loss through your heart versus your head. I say, “Let the heart heal it, the head will only ruminate… and ruminate… and ruminate.”
Although death is part of life, we miss the physical stuff; the hugs, kisses and being able to reasonably communicate with each other. (And we thought it was hard when they were still alive on this plane? Now it really takes some super skills, as it’s not so easy as before, because it’s different.)
As far as Elisa’s guilt of what she did or what she didn’t do when it came to Eric… she was just being human… like everyone else on the planet. She was trying to keep safe the man that she loved. Most people feel some sort of guilt after a loved one has passed. This is natural. But don’t linger in it, because it is not “the truth.” It is just some of our insecurities rising to the surface. The big lesson, opportunity and invitation here is not whether Eric will forgive her, but whether she can forgive herself. This is always the most powerful question one can answer.
Follow up with Elisa- Having just gotten to her story, and since it’s been awhile since Eric’s passing (about a year), I asked her how her life has changed, how she’s healed thus far, and how she feels now about Eric.
“For more than a week now, I have been feeling his energy around me, he’s in my head, in car plate numbers, in my emotions, and then I got your email.”
“How have I grown?
“After his passing, I started to ask questions about life, purpose, God, afterlife and I wanted so badly to know if he was ok. I read everything I could on life after death, on spirituality, and I started daily meditations in January this year (2016). I am now doing a spiritual course and have plans to go on a spiritual retreat when I (or my guides) find one.”
“In that span of time, I have also done an energy healing course after I felt the healing effects it had on me. I know I tried to do too many things at once – I was running full speed earlier on but now, I am home in my body. I am more grounded. By the way, in one of my first messages from him, it was “Stay grounded.”
“You know Jade, I sometimes think that he gave me a very special gift through his passing. He gave me this gift of spiritual growth and awakening. His soul knew that it would be a fork in my life – and I choose my life now.”
“As you know, and I am now living my life doing what I love and continuing to learn.”
How do I feel about him now?
“Of course, I still miss him – only those who have loved and lost through death will understand. I know he is just in the “other room”, so to speak – not just through reading about it – but I have sensed his energy a number of times. There are times when his name is mentioned, my hair stands on end.
“Oh, there were times, even after he passed when my mind drifted to the “other women” in his life, that I thought, “what the &@$% am I wasting my energy on you for?” Just a mere thought would trigger jealousy. He was very charming and irresistible. That was just him, but I still got jealous! I would get so upset and even say that I don’t have to care anymore. I couldn’t understand why I loved someone who could not settle or felt that my love was enough. I wanted to forget and just continue on my journey, without him. But he was always there, lingering at the back of my mind.”
“After I started meditating, things did get better with my mind and it helps with my energy going all over the place. Today, after all the mind drama and emotions, he is still loved just as much as when he was on this earthly plane.”
“I don’t let this eat me up – but it’d be nice if he said, “You’re forgiven, Elisa!” Can you ask him please? :)”
And just like Elisa requested, I asked Eric at the end of this post, who said this:
“You’re forgiven, Elisa!” “Would you forgive me?”
Note: A special thanks to my dear friend, Elisa, for having the courage to tell her story. Elisa is not alone, there are many who hide in the shadows, for whatever reasons, as they grieve their loss. My prayer is that all those who read this story make a choice to be LOVE, before judgment, to those people in our own lives. And that those who are down-trodden and forlorn can come to us to be comforted with compassion and love. And that being LOVE, before judgment will make a world of heavenly difference!