When a widower finds a new love interest and the opportunity for her to visit the home arises, the question of what to do about pictures of his late wife and other reflections of her in the home occurs, too.

Jasmine had a refined artistic touch that flowed from her Japanese cultural heritage. Her fingerprints were visible throughout our home—her portrait, her framed 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a geisha woman, and her painting of a Japanese garden adorned our walls. Dry flower arrangements stood prominently in tall vases accented by many smaller items. It was perfect. I couldn’t do anything to improve upon her touch, so I saw no need to change anything.

I began seeing a widow who had lost her husband a year before I lost my wife. We had developed a healthy bond, so she felt comfortable with my home décor. Being widowed herself, she understood attachments to the past. But one day, she encouraged me to consider changing the décor in my home from Jasmine’s to make it my own. Her encouragement was not out of jealousy or discomfort but as a step for me to transition from my past as Jasmine’s husband to my current status as single.

Months passed, but the idea of changing the décor stayed with me. I pondered the transition for several weeks before taking the first step—changing the color on an accent wall in our dining room and replacing Jasmine’s decorative touch with my own. That started a flow that led to transitioning from Jasmine’s décor throughout our main living areas to that which reflects my identity. The hardest part was removing her portrait, but instead of storing it, her portrait, along with her painting and 1000-piece puzzle, now adorns my bedroom walls.

I didn’t know the impact this would have on me. The transition from Jasmine’s décor to my own also triggered a transition within my soul. I was already moving forward after losing her nearly two years ago, but this moved me another step forward in releasing the past while cherishing the memories and embracing a positive outlook that there is more living to do. I don’t know if that will involve being married again or remaining single. Either way, I am moving forward without false guilt, regrets, or longing for the past and feeling more optimistic about the future God has for me. He has a plan, and this transition was part of His plan.

It is important to note that I did not do this to please the woman I had been seeing; we were no longer together. I did it for myself. I needed to do it at a time that was right for me. If you are in a similar predicament, I encourage you to consider making the transition, but at a time that is right for you. Only you can determine that. It is bittersweet, but when the time is right, the sweetness outweighs the bitterness, and you will feel freer to continue your journey. Move forward.