Been to “h-e-double hockey sticks” and back

Deciding to venture out and look at dating again makes me feel very vulnerable. Not so much with worries of being hurt, but honestly, of what people will think/say/do. I’ve always been a people pleaser to a fault, and facing the possibility that people can make rude comments, or stick their nose where it doesn’t belong, concerns me.

I had a great discussion last night with a dear friend who teared up and said, “Brenda, you’ve been through HELL. It doesn’t matter what people think or say. I think most of us think you just deserve to be happy. You’ve been through ENOUGH, so have fun and be happy.”

It made me refocus and think that maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I put all this guilt and pressure on myself feeling guilty for feeling happy, or for having a life that Kevin doesn’t have, or all of those mixed emotions. When, Kevin of all people, would want me to have learned the lesson that LIFE IS SHORT and to have fun while it lasts.

I’m just so concerned about image and what people will think. I”m just shy of 8 months and getting back out there. There’s this hidden rule in widowworld that says you can’t date until a year. I don’t know who decided it, but it’s true. I’ve seen people married before a year was up, I’ve seen people fall in love all over again before that year, and yet, there’s this stigma for widows that we absolutely CANNOT be happy with anothe person in a dating/love/relationship sense until that year is up. That’s the window. Boo, I say. Boo to the window.

This is not something I enter into lightly, yet in some ways, it is. Prior to Kevin, I wore my heart on my sleeve because I just wanted love so badly. Now I wear my heart on my sleeve because there is a big scar on it that I will always carry with me. It’s so different, but because of that, I feel the most rational in entering the dating world again than I ever have. I feel I know myself better than ever, and although I don’t know how my emotional or grief response will act from one day to the next, I know how I can handle those emotions, and I know how to prepare others for what I’m dealing with. I’m just a big ole safety net.

So, rather than feel guilty about being happy with how my life is going right now, such as my job situation going fabulous, heading back to school this fall, having great supportive friends, enjoying time with new friends, and loving this summer, I’m just going to soak it up. I deserve this.

Last year at this time, Kevin was starting to feel lousy. It’s been almost a full year from when Kevin first became symptomatic. It’s been a full year of misery without HIM. Because once he got sick, he wasn’t able to be the man he was before. The new Kevin wasn’t bad, things were just different, difficult, and increasingly harder each and everyday from the moment he first became sick.

So ya know what? I think this next year I’m going to say, I’ve been to hell and back, and now I’m back. To hell with it. I can have my sad days, my sad moments, reminiscing on the amazing life I had. But I can also accept my fate, determine to savor each and every moment, and give all of me to everyone around me in the ways of which I capable.

This is me. Here. Now. Without Kev. In grief. Moving past denial. Accepting defeat. Embracing action. Loving fully. Exploring uninhibited. Gracing myself. Mercy with others. Chering the moment. Working towards the future. No plan, just dreams.

Why can’t widows be happy? We can. We just need to stop being so hard on ourselves for situations we absolutely cannot change. As a friend said to me on the young widow forum, misery is a poor memorial for a great love.

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Comments 3

  1. Pooh! to one year. If there were any “rules,” your Kevin would still be here.
    You sound like someone who is going to be okay, hon.

  2. Amen! Amen! Amen! I am at the 10-month mark (I feel like I am in AA announcing how long I have been sober.) We can’t feel guilty. Just can’t.

  3. I like your new site design!

    But that’s not what I came here to say… I wanted to come and say how happy it makes me feel to see you starting to feel more empowered. You’re right – you DO deserve happiness. Only you know what’s right for you. Don’t let other people’s perceptions hold you back from your own happiness. At the end of the day, the only person whose opinion really matters is your own, and if you can’t look at your own self in the mirror and feel good about what you see, then you’ve got bigger problems than what other people think. Good for you for feeling up to even THINKING about dating again! That, I know, is a giant step.

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