This article on Dear Abby inspired me. I never thought I would type those words. I am not one for advice columns, in fact, most times I find Dear Abby annoying. She’s just “too proper” in her answers, without being realistic, or considering the actions of the heart.
This is the smile of a widow. Yes, a smile from a widow. One who is dating. Someone who began dating less than a year after her husband passed, but who only fully commited into a relationship in the past few months. A widow who has probably done things that aren’t expected of most widows.
Who came up with this widow expectation of dating? Who said “One year”, or “Marry years later”, or “You can never be as happy as you were the first time around?” Not me, no one sets the rules to grieving! Dear Abby’s article got me thinking a lot about how people who have never grieved the loss of a spouse, view the dating of widows. There is such a ridiculous rulebook set by society (and those who haven’t grieved a spouse) on how widows should date, the speed at which they enter a relationship, and the timeframe of when they should marry again. It’s BS!
As the article noted, a 94 year old man found a woman just a month after his wife passed. At 94, a month is very valuable amount of time, so why not? Another couple who were both widowed began dating just two months after he lost his wife (it is common for widowers to date sooner than widows BTW), and his church friends shunned the couple for moving too fast in their opinion. But then there’s the articles from those that saw love enter a widow(er)s life and felt blessed that this person was allow to find love again, that it honored their late spouse, that it gave them joy to see them happy again. Isn’t this what it’s about?
To have joy, is to have love. I have never been good at the single thing. I can have fun yes, but I crave companionship, I crave connecting with someone on a more intimate level. For me, initially, I didn’t know if I could marry again-I felt that Kevin had given me enough love to last a lifetime. But, although he did, it was only fair to share what love I am capable of, with someone else. It was only fair to complete my circle of love again.
Widows, I encourage you to move forward, when you are ready. As I have read in the past, we really never step out into that scary world again unless we are truly ready. Do not let the “rulebook” hold you back-it is your life, it is your love to give. Many of us had the unfortunate circumstance to grieve our spouses while they were still living. But we also had the fortune to develop a deeper love for them by being their caretakers. That requires a certain intimacy, and if you were given that opportunity, you know that the love in which you are capable of giving to another person is grande.
My love is grande, and I am only happy to share that again.
I agree totally. There is NO reason why you cannot find happiness at any time after your husband/wife has passed. Dating someone else, finding a new love – it doesn’t denigrate the relationship you had before.
I think it’s unfair for people to put artificial timetables on something like that. If you feel like it’s too soon, then it’s too soon. If you feel like it’s right, then it’s right. YOU do what YOU think feels right for YOU.
Great props to you for taking a “shushed” subject and being open and bold with it! Great post, Brenda.
You have a great gift for writing from your heart, and you write well. In my experience, writing for others heals. I loved all of the articles/blogs I have read so far, beginning with the article about immigration.
Although I am much, MUCH older than you, we have a bit in common. After a totally unexpected divorce after 26 years and three children (one adopted and only 10 at the time of the divorce), I met a widower on a plane in a snowstorm and we chatted for several hours, exchanged numbers and later began a series of long evening phone calls and many trips back and forth between Seattle and Phoenix. Dave had lost his wife of 25 years only 3 months before we met. His grown daughter and 3 step-children whom he had raised were horrified and fearful for him. “WHO is this lady???” Over time, all four of Dave’s kids came to love and accept me, with the exception of one daughter-in-law, who has problems of her own that I think are being projected onto Dave and I. If she ever gives me a chance to get to know her, I will be glad, but I am not holding my breath. When you marry in your middle 60’s,you realize even more that each day, each weeek, each year is a gift. But it is even in your 20’s, right
Hello Kathleen-THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing. I’m glad to hear the perspective from the other side as I explore this world of dating and finding love again.