Making decisions as a widow is exhausting. Already, our emotional stores are spent, and we are physically exhausted from poor sleep. Some decisions are practical ones like checking a bank balance before paying a bill or choosing Raisin Bran over Fruit Loops for supper. But, some decisions aren’t as concrete, and in our exhausted state, we might not realize we’ve even made a choice until it produces consequences. For me, I’ve chosen not to date. I only realized I’d made that choice when I began dealing with the consequences of living solo.
Translation: I caught myself griping about being alone and had to figure out why I was complaining when it was my choice to not go out in the first place.
Some widows decide to date. The decision might not be easy or it might come naturally. Some go on to marry, and again, that choice isn’t easy or maybe it is. I’ve learned these things from reading blogs and articles by widows. Their stories remind me that each of us walks her own path, and no two paths are the same.
And, boy, is my path different: I do not want to date.
It’s not that I haven’t thought about it, because I have for a few months. It’s hard not to wonder what it would be like to have Bachelor #1 emerge from behind the screen when I read about others dating and remarrying or when well-meaning people say things like, “God will send you someone.”
I mean, it would be nice to have someone to eat dinner with, to travel with, to confide in, to love me again. But, I’ve always followed that circle of thought back to this fundamental idea: it would be nicer if Todd were here to do all of those things with. I don’t want to do any of those things with anyone else. There was only ONE of him on this planet. If I dated, it would be me looking for Todd in someone else, which isn’t fair to anyone or to me.
Following that train of thought month after month, knowing in my heart that I am still in love with my late husband, I realized that some part of me had already decided not to date (which explains why I don’t want to take off my wedding bands). It’s taken my brain a while to catch up to my gut.
I only realized that I had made up my mind about dating when I began dealing with the consequences: doing everything alone. I don’t mean I alone have to do all of the house chores or bill paying. I mean that I alone have to do the living now, too. I realized that as much as I don’t enjoy every Friday night at home, my circumstance is the result of my decision. If I don’t like being home alone, I have the power to change that. Therefore, I’m not allowed to bellyache, right?
But I do, even though there’s no one to hear me, because I am human, and living alone is not always fun. The consequence of choosing to live alone is that I don’t always feel very alive, not like I felt with Todd. I am content most days and busy, but not exploding with happiness. Yet, if I live with intention, perhaps my life will be richer or deeper.
I’m certain it’s not impossible to be completely satisfied by living the rest of my days alone, not as impossible as finding someone who could hold a candle to Todd. But, being deliberate about how I spend my time isn’t easy and not every moment feels like fireworks, thus a little bellyaching now and then. I forgive me.
So solo ladies, take heart. Not every widow wants to jump into the dating pool again, or get shoved in either. Let’s continue to encourage each other because although we walk different paths, we share a similar journey.