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Posts Tagged ‘moving on’

A few days ago I was looking at TVs in Best Buy with my brother. A woman approached us and started asking questions about whether these particular models get internet and how that works. We weren’t either of us wearing khaki pants and a blue polo shirt, and we didn’t have answers for any of her questions, and anyway she seemed a little “off”… and I was just wondering how to get rid of her politely when she said the magic words.

“My husband died and I don’t know how to do any of this stuff.”

I told her that I was sorry and that I understand how that is, since I lost my husband too. “How long has it been?” I asked. “Eight weeks,” she said. The crazy eyes and the body odor suddenly made sense. I think I was showering regularly by the time I got to week eight, but I sure as hell wasn’t sane. When she told me they’d been married for 31 years, it made even more sense. I was lost without my husband after only six years together, stumbling around in a fog of grief for many, many months. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose someone you’ve spent more than half your life with.

We stood there in the home theater section of Best Buy and shared our experiences as widows. She told me that she can’t imagine ever being physical with another man, and I related that I couldn’t even stand to have my male friends or family members hug me for a few weeks after my husband died. Even the slightest physical touch from a man was a painful reminder that my beloved husband would never touch me again. “Are you dating now?” she asked me. “Is that man your boyfriend?” I laughed out loud. “No! That’s my brother. But I have started dating again, just in the last year. It takes time, but it gets easier.”

When we said goodbye, she told me how good it felt to talk to someone who gets it, someone who’s been where she is. I told her what a tremendous help my grief support group was in my first year of widowhood and referred her to the hospital that hosts them. I hope she gets some support. I hope it helps. She’s got a long hard road ahead of her, even with the best support system in the world. But I’m living proof that you can make it far enough down that road to where you can laugh again, where your eyes get back their sparkle and you’ve got a spring in your step… where making love with someone new is no longer unfathomable and falling in love again is a real possibility. And damn, that feels good.

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Well, it’s over.

My first relationship since the death of my husband lasted three months and ended with an exchange of emails. It’s been pretty obvious from the change in your behavior that this is not the right time for us, I said. He agreed. He said he was “sorry it’s going down like this” and that he’s not happy with himself at all for the way he handled it. That makes two of us.

Compared to the pain of my husband’s suicide, this hurt was like stubbing a toe. The sudden startling pain made me cry and I hopped around swearing for a little while, and then I limped for a little while longer… and I’m gonna have a little bruise there… But I’m OK.  Better than OK, even.

Last weekend I went to hear some live music, a solo performance by a talented guitarist and composer in a small, intimate venue. At the end of the first set he did a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” which is one of my all time favorite songs (though I prefer Rufus Wainwright’s version). It moved me to tears, especially when the audience was singing a softly echoing chorus of hallelujahs back to him. There’s a line in that song that always reminds me of my late husband:

“Remember when I moved in you, the holy dark was moving too, and every breath we drew was hallelujah…”

Yes. Making love with my beloved husband was like that… every time, every breath was hallelujah. With New Guy it was… well, it was fine but the earth didn’t move, let’s put it that way. Now I know that it takes time with a new partner to get to know each other’s bodies and really understand how to please each other, and I think we could have gotten the physical stuff right if we’d kept at it. But there was something missing — passion, intensity, depth — that was there the very first time my late husband kissed me all those years ago. And sitting in a dark room, softly singing hallelujah, I understood that anything less than that would be settling. And I’m not ready to settle.  I’m not willing to accept that I only get one chance at that kind of passion, that kind of connection. I’m going to keep looking until I find it again.

It’s time to ramble on.

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