When Greg and I were married, I never gave another man a second glance. I remember a friend once making a comment about a guy who was good-looking and I surprised myself by realizing…”Holy shit – I haven’t thought of another man as good-looking since December of ’04!”
But can you guess what I did a week or so after Greg died? I started looking at other men – constantly! And not just good-looking men (or men that I was attracted to), but ALL men of ALL ages! I wondered if they were single. I imagined what kind of husband or boyfriend they were. I even imagined…well, you know. And I think it was all Greg’s fault! :) I was getting constant attention from someone who adored me and all of the sudden that was gone. It was like I was going through withdrawal. I tried looking up this up as an official “stage of grief” but I couldn’t find the “obsessing about other men” stage! :) I feel like I can write about it now because I’m past it, in fact it really only lasted a couple weeks.
I remember one of the things I loved about getting married was the thought that I would never have to date again!!!! (Insert huge smile turning into a drooping, sad face…)
And now? Now, I’m starting to feel like it’s okay to move on. It’s an awkward time for this because we’re coming up on the anniversary of Greg’s death. I have possibly even chosen a bad time to begin this process. In some ways, I still feel like our family is this tight little unit and Greg’s spot is still saved, just an empty seat, all of us waiting for him to come back. But the thought of dating isn’t as annoying or daunting anymore. I’m actually looking forward to it, in this new life that I’m now living.
A couple weeks ago, I did something that I am pretty proud of. One day I thought of asking someone out and the next day I did…to their face! It felt really good. As I was debating it, I thought to myself, “I’ve been through my husband dying! Will a little embarrassment or rejection from a stranger feel anywhere near that bad?” The answer was no and so I did it.
When I was at the support group for widows last month, a woman was explaining how she had lost her boyfriend 7 years ago. She was telling us she was still single and said, “I don’t have room in my heart for anyone else.” Oh, that made me sad. It must be what she needs to do or thinks she needs to do but that wasn’t something that I could relate to. When I was pregnant with my second child, I remember my friend Jill telling me, “It might seem like you can’t possibly love your second child as much as your first, but you don’t have to push aside any love for your first child. You just make more love in your heart.” She’s a wise friend, that Jilly.
So that’s what I’m going to do – make more love in my heart – because I know that Greg loved me enough to want me/us to be taken care of, in whatever way I/we need. And that will always be comforting.
Is it going to be hard? Possibly. Probably. Will having children effect the way I go about it? Yes. Is it going to be a process? Yes. Will it at some point feel too much or too soon? Possibly. Will I then back-off a bit? Absolutely.
Like anything I’ve faced since losing Greg, nothing seems as hard as I imagined it being in the past. He gave me a positive, solid relationship as a foundation for the rest of my life. It was a relationship that I learned a lot from – I now know what I want and I know how something great feels. Is that out there for me again? I hope so.
Wish me luck. And luck. And more luck. Because I guess this could take awhile.