I always thought Nate would be my last kiss…My first love and my last love. I felt that we had that storybook romance, and I always felt so fortunate that we met one another so early in life. He was my first everything…And I was convinced he would be my last…
And then his heart stopped beating at the age of 36, and after only six years of marriage.
I became a widow at 30 years old.
Widowhood is such a bizarre, daily mindfuck. During those first few weeks after Nate died, I was in a literal state of denial and shock. I was convinced my life was going to play out like one of those ridiculous romance novels I love so much…That a handsome stranger was just going to come into my life, sweep me off my feet, make everything better, and completely replace the life I once had. Things would go back to normal.
I know, I know…Absurd, right? It took a few more weeks of reality setting in, to finally come to the painful understanding that my life would never be the same. Could never be the same. My husband was gone. He wasn’t coming back…And above all, Nate is irreplaceable. He was one of a kind. And our lives together were just that….our lives. Even if a handsome stranger came parading into my life with his shiny coat of armour, he wouldn’t be capable of making anything better. I quickly realized I was the only one who could do that.
The next few months my mentality shifted drastically. I became adamant that I would never feel anything for another person ever again. I would never need another man. I had my great love, and even though he died far too soon in life, he gave me something that some never get to have in a lifetime. I should be grateful and spend the rest of my life remembering how lucky I was to have had that…I would never have feelings again…Could never. My heart shattered the day he died, and it is irreparable…
I wouldn’t need the touch of a man. I wouldn’t yearn for affection. I would get by because, again…I had my great love. And it ended…More importantly, why should I be given the ability to move forward with another person when my husband would never get that same chance? That’s totally unfair. We promised forever to one another, and he kept his promise even though forever ended up only being 12 years.
And that’s where my mentality has stayed a long time. Truth be told, I still battle with those same thoughts. I’m fairly certain every widow does.
Widowhood makes you feel guilty all of the freaking time…When I get overwhelmed with the whole single parenting thing, I feel guilt because I know Nate would give anything to be here with Ian. I feel guilty about going back to school for my teaching license because I know realistically, a job in Nate’s field would have provided for Ian better. And I feel guilt about the idea of even entering the realm of dating because as I said before…Why should I be given that opportunity when Nate’s was taken away?
I wrote an earlier blog about this, but it took me about a year to really miss (and I mean really miss) the affection that comes with being with a partner for 12 years. Not just missing Nate, but missing the day to day looks and touches that you take for granted because you think they will always be there…And around that same time I began wondering if it would be possible for me to feel something again for somebody else.
We’ve all read those stories about love after loss, so I know it’s happened but could it happen to me?
Well if you are looking for me to answer that question today, I still don’t have an answer…
I do know that recently I got my next first kiss. The kiss that came after Nate. The kiss I never thought would exist, but alas it does. And I didn’t break down into a fit of tears afterwards. But before anyone gets ahead of themselves reading this (meaning especially those who are close to me who I know are probably like say whaaaaaaaat!), it is absolutely nothing serious at all. It was some kissing with a friend. If anything, it was a huge hurdle for me to leap over. I wanted to jump for joy afterwards while screaming, “I did it!” And nobody was more surprised than myself that I actually enjoyed it. It feels so freaking weird to even write about this, because as I have said…there was never supposed to be any next anything. But there was.
Am I ready for a relationship? Single, widowed mother, living with her parents, as a full time student aren’t exactly qualities that scream, she is sooooo available. But I’m beginning to wonder if maybe someday I will. I think the guilt will always be there because this isn’t the way things were supposed to play out…But I have begun to realize just how much I would want Nate to be happy if I were the one to have passed so early in our lives together. I would want him to be held and loved and kissed. I would want his heart to heal…and I would want him to share it with the world.
As I write this through tears, it’s hard to put into words how confusing and difficult it is to admit all of this. Despite knowing how I would feel if I had been the one to pass away, a part of me still feels like I’m betraying him by even thinking about possibilities of a romance of any kind. I’ve come to realize that as I continue to work through school, single parenting, and just living this new life handed to me a year and a half ago, I need to continue sorting through what I want when it comes to feelings of any kind. I need to make peace with the cards I’ve been dealt and allow myself to admit what I want for the future…And that what I want might be to find love again some day, as terrifying as that is to say…I don’t know if I’ll be lucky enough to have another great love, but I can admit that I do long for some sort of connection again. The kind that gives you butterflies and makes you a bit more eager to great the day in the morning. But as it goes with everything when it comes to widowhood, I know this will be a process.
Until then, I got my next, first kiss guys…And I didn’t hate it.
I call that progress.