I met someone 5 months after Jerry died. Very unexpectedly. We became friends because I was not ready to think about another relationship. It slowly grew into something wonderful. Now almost 2 years later after meeting him, we are still together. He really has been on this journey with me, and lets me cry and lean on him, listens to stories about Jerry and honors his memory all the time. He knows me so well and can tell when my mind is on Jerry. He laughs along with my stories of him and respects the love we shared. I feel lucky or blessed to have met him. How can I have found another great love after losing the love of my life? How did I deserve this? It is different love but amazingly beautiful. It is love backed with grief, and loss. Love that comes from a woman who has found a new self after having to start over. It is not a comparison to the love that Jerry and I shared. This new love is a part of my life now. Life after loss. I was 39 when Jerry died with a 16 and 8 year old, alone and scared. Out of nowhere this wonderful man appeared in my life. With the kindest eyes and biggest heart. I couldn’t deny that maybe I had to see what he was all about.
Each journey we are on in This Widow Life is our own. Each path is different. If you are on a dating path, here is my advice. Things that I too had to overcome and face –
Don’t worry about what others will think or say.
This is YOUR journey and YOUR life. The timeline in which you do things is for you to decide. People will say things and judge you no matter when you decide to date. I meet/talk to widows that say they will never date/marry again and guess what….thats ok too! We are all on a different path. I would not judge someone for keeping their ring on, or not dating just as much as I would not judge someone for finding new love. I worried what people would think and guess what? It does not matter what they think. MY LIFE not theirs. Stay strong in this thought because worrying about it can haunt you.
Take it slow…if you can.
Loss and grief are so raw the first year and even the second can be worse. If you decide to date and it does not work out it can throw you deep back into your grief. There are a lot of firsts when you start dating again, and its not like first with a new boyfriend, its first after losing your spouse. I yearned for a even just a hug from a man after Jerry died because it felt so long and a hug is so comforting. But a hug from someone who was not your husband can bring you to your knees. There will be many triggers when dating again and you just have to be prepared for them. First time, eating out together, laying and watching a movie together, intimacy…..Its not easy at all. Don’t do all that at once, take your time with all of these firsts.
Say their name
Be with someone that doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable for saying your spouses name or talking about him/her whenever you want. Its not easy to date a widow…we are broken and fragile but we are also stronger than we ever were. But whoever you are with needs to honor that and accept that in you. I talked about Jerry ALL THE TIME and he just listened, smiled, asked questions and laughed along with me or even cried.
Talk to your kids
If you have children and depending on their age, this is a broad subject. When we decided to tell the kids about use (They knew he was my friend) He asked them during dinner if it was ok for him to take their mom our on a date. 17 and 9 at the time they both liked the idea. I do check ins with them from time to time and have had many separate talks with them about me dating someone. I want to always make sure that they know that this is not a replacement of their dad. This is moms wonderful friend that turned into something more and it is ok to love him and still love their dad. They have a great relationship now and it grows each day.
This takes a while….but eventually, if it is the right person. You will lean into them and exhale, and know that it is good.