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Heart Shaped Glasses: To Have Loved and Lost
At Juliet, our belief is that to build brands people love, you have to love people like crazy.
That means getting out there and listening to people from all walks of life. With open eyes and open hearts – we want to hear what people have to say and get into a judgment-free zone of understanding.
This isn’t about a client ask. No brief. There is no “so what?” for brands at the end of this story. Heart Shaped Glasses is about the power of looking at the world with our hearts and seeing what appears before us.
We interviewed four people who have re-entered the dating world after the loss of a significant other. They were introduced to us through mutual friends, the r/Widowers subreddit, and #widowtok. Through hours of heartfelt Zoom meetings, phone calls, and DMs, we listened to their experiences.
A common refrain we heard from those we interviewed was that others couldn't understand the depth of this kind of grief.In an effort to let their words and experiences shine, and to tap into a humanity's collective experience with grief, we plugged quotes from those we spoke with directly into Midjourney – allowing their words to come to life.
Our respondents had all talked to their partners about death before. They pictured nursing homes and old age. Nothing could have ever prepared them for a sudden passing.
“I think that innately as humans, we believe that we're above tragedy and we're above loss just because until it happens to us, we have no reason to think that it ever would.” - Brianna
COPING WITH THEIR CHANGED WORLD
They had to do some soul-searching. And while it didn’t happen overnight, they eventually pieced together what they wanted their lives to look like moving forward.
“I'm still working on figuring out other new hobbies and things to keep me occupied. The one sure thing is that the person I was doesn't quite exist anymore. He died with my wife.” -Goz
The loss of a partner is profound enough to create a before and after. Life gets divided into before and after the loss for some people.
“The idea of being in a full on relationship with someone is a little bit scary. How is that gonna feel? I'm gonna be with a new person. This is weird. I feel like I'm cheating on him. What am I gonna do?”- Shea-Lea
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU’RE READY?
There is no exact “right time” to get back out there. Some of our respondents felt that they’d never be ready. But when you know, you know.
“This other incredible person came into my life in a timeline that didn't fit. I had this preconceived notion of it. And I was like, Oh, no, no, no, no, you're wrecking my plans. I had this whole thing planned out about how I was gonna be this good widow and I was gonna be sad for a long time, and then I was gonna have this Hallmark Cinderella story and you're just messing it all up.” - Brianna
CAN TWO LOVES COEXIST?
“He [my current husband] knows that I love them both. He's not stupid. He accepts that I love them both.” - Natalee
FEAR OF TRAGEDY HAUNTS THE PURSUIT OF LOVE
This fear of another loss sits in the back of their mind. They worry that the unthinkable could happen again.
“Having lost somebody so young, whenever you choose to open yourself up to love again, life can still happen. So there's also, there's always that risk that, God forbid something could happen to him. I could lose somebody that I love very much, again.” -Brianna
Despite all of the hardships they’ve been through, they still remain hopeful for what is to come.
“I tend to believe that if you're open and honest about where you're at in life and what you need you'll find it eventually. As much shit as I've been through, I still tend to be an optimist.” - Goz
We set out to look at the world with our heart. A few things appeared before us.
There’s no roadmap for navigating the grief that comes with losing a significant other.
Everyone experiences grief differently. It morphs and evolves, ebbs and flows. It’s unruly and unpredictable.
And while you can’t put a timeline on when you’re ready to tiptoe into love again, you also can’t predict when a special someone falls into your life.
By cherishing the lives they currently have and embracing the joyous moments shared with the newfound loves in their lives, they’re honouring the lives that came before.
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