I believe I know what you mean when you say it scares you to think it will not be your husband should you be with someone in the future. What you had with him was so natural; the perfect fit for you.
When my thoughts would drift to thinking about being alone for the rest of my life, I regrettably, yet easily accepted it, for I felt I could never have that fit again. There could never be anyone who could know or love all the nuances of me the way my husband did. It seemed to me that it would be like trying to reattach a severed hand…it might be a successful reattachment, with no bodily rejection, but it couldn’t work the same because the nerves, tendons, etc. had been altered. And, there would always be those weather aches.
The thought of not having the comfort of the relationship I had with my husband – all the aspects of our relationship – was sad, but I accepted it as my fate. While I didn’t like it, I knew I would have to make the best of it. I would let the glory of what I once had carry me through the rest of my life, and I would be content with having been blessed enough to at least have had that kind of love at all; a mere second of that kind of love is a blessing. I knew it was remarkably special, and I knew that not all people find that type contentment, fulfillment, comfort ever…they live their lives longing for something I was blessed to experience.
I began writing and talking with widows and one widower I had met through grief groups, the four women I call the Snowflakes, and a man and a woman I met through Early Endings. The woman from Early Endings was struggling. She readily admitted that she’s the type of woman who must have a man in her life. In corresponding with her trying to soothe her, I learned a lot about my feelings because I was writing them down in letter form to her. I found out I felt what I had with my husband was enough to last me my whole life, even if I lived another 50 years. I found out that I didn’t want to be, nor could I be, as internally conflicted as she said she was. Again, in trying to soothe her, I wrote about what I had with my husband and how I felt things would have to work for me for someone else to be able to enter into my life. In trying to help her face her fears, help her think rationally, help her not to rush into a relationship for relationship sake, I found I had defined things for myself.
I then found a internet bulletin board support group and in responding to threads and reading what others would say about relationships, the one they had with their spouse and what they expected in the future, I learned more about myself. I read the words “never; impossible; can’t; won’t” and I saw people arguing and getting angry because of a choice another human being made when it differed from their choice. I wondered how could anyone write such things. They were restricting themselves, imprisoning themselves. It’s a personal life choice, why let the choice another is making anger you? Why argue with another about what you have chosen? I read words about how some could never love another, how they would compare, I would think “what a bitter, bane, and sad existence.” From day one of my grief journey, I vowed not to be bitter. I felt if I were bitter and begrudged my fate, I would be showing disrespect and ingratitude for all the blessings from my past. I feel I have been wonderfully and bountifully blessed. If I’m ungrateful, why should I be blessed again, and I fear being ungrateful may prevent me from seeing my husband again.
So, I would respond to these threads saying things I felt. Whether or not it was good advice for anyone, whether or not it would work for them, I don’t know, but I found it was working for me. It was helping me become even more accepting of my grief journey. I found that what I was writing were philosophies I’ve had all my life and they had been what had gotten me to this point in my life and they would be what would get me through the rest of my life.
Dear friend, I had no desire to meet anyone. It wasn’t going to happen. My husband was the only one for me, I would never meet another like him. And while I knew that he was perfect for my old life, and knew that I was in a new life, and knew it was possible to meet someone suitably perfect for my new life, I didn’t want it and it was highly improbable because I rarely left my house.
And then, I thought about this…what if someone ‘happened along’ in my life? Unexpectedly? I then considered these thoughts, that this is how it would be if it were to happen, so I write it in the present tense…
I don’t know how he got here and I don’t know how he and I got to where we are. I didn’t see him coming nor did he see me coming, and neither of us knew we were heading to this place of “togetherness.”
I am amazed at how I can separate the life I shared with my husband from what is happening with this person who ‘happened along.’ I’ve been able to apply what I wrote to the widow from Early Endings and what I’ve written on the cyber bulletin board support group, in my interaction with this gentleman. I can’t believe I gave myself such good advice – before I needed it!
I am amazed at how easy it is to be with him. I am amazed that I can be aroused by him. I am amazed that I approach this new relationship in the manner in which I expected I would back when I wrote hypothetically. I am amazed there is a man other than my husband who possesses the qualities I seek in a person. I am amazed that I continue to be blessed. I am amazed by everything.
And, I am grateful. I am grateful for having loved my husband and for having been loved by him. What we shared will be a part of me forever and has enabled me to enter into this relationship with this gentleman and, will enable it to take the course it will take. Having loved my husband is what lets me continue to love, if that makes any sense to you at all.
Because I was able to work through those times when I wished for my own death, because I was able to alter my sorrow for having lost the love of my life, to joy and gratitude for the blessing of having known such a remarkable man, and for having shared a glorious love with him, I’ve been able to differently carry that love with me. I rejoice in that shared love with my husband and let it lift me. I let it be a spearhead rather than weigh me down and anchor me in sorrow. My survival was contingent upon my finding a way to spiritually hold the love I could no longer physically hold.
It may sound like hogwash or fantasy to you, but it really is how I look at it and having this perspective is what helped me survive and find myself in this relationship with this gentleman. It’s what helps me help my son have hope for success in happiness and in love…in the whole of life. He has to know through my example that finding and experiencing the type of love his father and I shared is worth the pain of physically losing it through death. I would never trade the experiences of loving his father so as to avoid the pain and sorrow I’ve had to endure because it was his father’s time to leave his earthbound existence. I have to be a living example to my son that life is worth living and love is worth risking.
God only knows what will happen between this gentleman and me. I’m just grateful that thus far it’s as easy as it is. I’m just grateful that God gave me the will to set standards and that He created a man in the form of my husband who set the benchmark that another man would have to meet. I am amazed that in this gentleman I see a man who can meet the grade, and I’m grateful that God has blessed me with a mind that can accept without conflict (too much, anyway) and without guilt, that a relationship with another could even possibly surpass the relationship I shared with my husband because of the relationship I shared with my husband. I am grateful that God blessed me with a mind that lets me see that if attraction should occur, it would be because of personal character traits – the same traits that attracted me to my husband.
What I had with my husband was in that stage of my life. Unfortunately, I’m not in that life stage anymore. I am a woman comprised of her life experiences and therefore, because my husband was one of my life experiences (the greatest), he will always live within me. I am comprised of him, and in that I find comfort. In that I find the peace to continue moving through my life journey because I can, I do, and I will take my husband with me.
© April, 2004