I don’t dance, generally, in the conventional sense, but lately I really feel like that’s what I’ve been doing; a few steps this way, a few steps that way, moving closer, then farther way, first one direction, then another.
I’ve recently moved closer/towards the world in one way, and pulled back, withdrawing in another. I can’t say I feel unambiguously positive about either move, but I am glad I’m doing them. The harder question for me is, now what?
I recently found myself pulled into a discussion that focused on the challenges faced by women who become romantically involved with or marry widowers. You can read it in its raw glory here.
My widow friends on Facebook were extremely supportive, in private and in public, and praised my writing and declared their support for my point of view. Regular readers of the blog in question generally supported the blog author and each other, but many were also kind and supportive to me, even though many were not.
In and of itself, it’s not really a big deal. We all take our lumps out here on the interwebs, and if we don’t want to risk a run-in with someone who thinks we’re full of shit, it’s easy enough to avoid.
But after my last post on that blog, I was curious: what else were people saying about widowERs (I noted the gender-specificity right away) and their relationships? What I found frankly blew my mind.
I’ve always been a believer that things get better with practice. I’ve done this before; I know how this goes; experience is the best teacher, etc., etc. I always told my wife Julie that I loved her *more* knowing what I knew after 20 years than I did when we first got together, or had our first fight, or first child, or whatever.
Well fuck me, but that is NOT turning out to me true this time!
“This time” is dating after loss, or “Finding Love After Widowhood” (subtitle of a great program by my friend Michelle E. Vásquez), “taking the leap,” “putting yourself out there,” “nothing ventured, nothing gained,” or whatever the heck you want to call it.
This was supposed to be a happy song. It was a happy song. But almost as far back as I can remember, it has always made me sad. But sad in a unique, disquieting, unusual way. And though it was always associated for me with a first love, it took the death of my longest, deepest love for me to recognize that feeling for what it really was.
Today marks 6 months for me–it seems like yesterday and a lifetime ago.
I spent today enjoying the company of the new light in my life–learning to love and share and be present with someone is one of the best ways I know to pay lasting tribute to my wonderful wife of 19 years. And this person, well, to say she is amazing and present and loving and hysterical and kind and sweet and wise and open… well, that just barely scratches the surface. *Seriously*