So, I have been a bit absent for the past several weeks. I am sorry if it worried anyone. I assure you that everything is fine. More than fine, really, but I will get that in a little bit. I am someone that values honesty. Sometimes, honesty can be a trait that is hard to maintain, especially when honesty could result in confusion, hurt feelings, or fallout. Since there are a small handful of people in my every day life that know about this blog and follow it, I found it difficult to write for a little because I wasn’t prepared to be honest about a certain aspect of my life right now. So, here it goes. I have met someone wonderful that makes me very happy.
When I set out to record my struggle with grief, I never really imagined part of my story would involve such a thing. New loves were for other widows, not for me. What my husband and I shared was too close, too wonderful, too powerful to ever consider letting anyone else into my heart ever. What I have learned in recent days is that there is no replacing my husband, but my heart has grown to accept someone new and completely different, which is really a great thing. So, here’s the story.
Very soon after being widowed, I joined an online forum for young widows. It took several days for my account to be activated but it finally was on August 6th. I immediately jumped in and posted. The very first person to reply to me was a man whose account had also just barely been activated who had just made his first post eleven minutes prior to mine. Like me, his spouse had also died very suddenly and unexpectedly and it had happened just 18 days prior to me losing my husband. I felt an instant kinship, which I couldn’t really explain but it was certainly not anywhere near any sort of romantic feelings at all. There was no reason to think it would become that. Over the next couple months, we exchanged some private messages that at times would get ridiculously lengthy, but there was no flirtation in them. It was just two friends connecting through a shared experience. I did however find myself trusting him and being happy any time I saw he had reached out to me, but it didn’t strike me as anything more than that. While he was mainly the only person I would communicate with outside of my normal posts, I knew that wasn’t the case for him so there was nothing to read into at all.
At the end of October, he sent me a message that asked if I would be interested in talking on the phone and giving me his number. He explained he had talked on the phone to several people from the board and he felt “that it is high time you and I have a chat, but only if you are up to it.” I felt no pressure or threat so we scheduled a time to talk that coming Sunday, November 2nd. The talk was very nice and completely platonic, but I found myself surprised about two things: 1. I felt a twinge of jealousy when he told me about someone telling him they had a “music crush” on him due to his taste in music, and 2. I was really sad to get off of the phone with him. I decided I wouldn’t analyze it because clearly I was being silly.
The next day was a really bad day for me. I was on my way to work and just couldn’t stop crying so I called in and turned around. I sat with my grief for a while and then started thinking about how he had said I could text any time I needed someone. So, I sat not sending a simple text that said “How is your day going?” or something like that for about 30 minutes. Finally, I hit send and set the phone down, determined not to stare at it waiting for a response. I got a response about 5 minutes later. I admitted to having a terrible day. He proceeded to text with me for the next 6.5 hours and making me smile and laugh so my day did a complete 180. The next morning, he texted me again and we spent the whole day and night texting back and forth on and off. When it repeated the next day, I started getting the feeling that there was maybe more developing than I had first thought and I started really thinking about it and realizing I had a twinge of something that was not bad, it was exciting. However, that night he solidly friend-zoned me by telling me he felt so close to him that I was like his sister. I wondered how my compass could be so off, but decided it was for the best anyways, I was not ready for anything of what as going through my head to occur.
The texting continued throughout the week and then changed to also being night time phone calls. Late that Friday night, after a few beers in on both of our parts, he admitted he was feeling more than a close friendship or sibling relationship. It caught me off guard a little because I had been actively pushing such thoughts from my head and accepting any friendship he had to offer because I thought he was so great. To be honest, the admission on his part also scared the crap out of me. I knew my feelings but having them actually returned meant this wasn’t in my head and that it was actually real, and how was it possible for me to have those kind of feelings so soon after the shocking, unexpected death of who I considered my life’s one great love? Would people think I wasn’t as happy and in love in my marriage as I truly was? Would they think that I’d been pretending? Would the perception be that I was failing to honor his memory? I allowed these thoughts to quiet and gave myself permission to say “You are not the only one that is feeling that.” And that one little sentence changed everything. I could hear the relief in his voice. We talked about it being so early, but for him it was not something he could ignore or deny. It wasn’t something I could ignore or deny either. So, we decided to see where it would lead us.
He had some friends scheduled to take a trip out to Phoenix in February and that seemed pretty far off, but a convenient cover if one was needed for his 16 year old daughter so she wasn’t hurt or confused about his grief for his wife and her mother. However, following some advice from some other widows, it was decided that was too long to wait. He was honest with his daughter about me and she is trying to adjust to the idea. Thus, on December 5th, he flew out from his home in Kentucky to meet me. I was surprised to be greeted with an immediate kiss. Not just any kiss, but one that really would not be appropriate for the venue of baggage claim at the airport. I didn’t care. It all felt right. We had an amazing weekend together and it very much confirmed that there is something deep between us beyond our shared grief experience. We hope to get something scheduled for January for him to come back out, maybe with his daughter if she agrees to join him so she doesn’t feel left behind by him.
So there you have it. I have a huge bright spot of happiness in my life I didn’t expect at all. I am grateful for it. I am continuing to grieve for my husband. I miss him so deeply every single day, but this is something completely different and new. We are open with each other about our grief and how long we have to go to get to a good place, which makes the distance between us a bit of a blessing so we aren’t tempted to avoid the pain and get lost in each other. It wouldn’t be healthy. It was both difficult and easy to put this story out there to be read. It was easy because it is the truth of where I am at right now. It was hard because I am so worried it could be construed that I somehow didn’t love my husband or am not committed to honoring him. Those things are not true, but I still don’t want that perception.
Good thing for today: I found the courage to be open.