Saturday, August 26, 2017


Imagine dating a woman who often cries about missing another man. What type of a person does it take to be able to endure that, let alone console when it happens? I have to say that kind of respect, resilience, and patience is really compelling. But I hate the idea of putting someone that extraordinary through the struggle of being with me.

However, I’ve realized that Jim taught me how to be a great partner. I wasn’t interested in developing that skill in my first marriage. I didn’t care enough to do the work, and I didn’t love my first husband in a way that compelled me to learn to love deeper through service. But I loved Jim. I love him. I wanted to make him feel as loved as he deserved. I wanted to be the kind of partner to him that he was to me. And I did it. I’m proud of how well I loved him. I learned how to be one hell of a wife.

So I have to ask myself, did I learn how to be a partner that’s worth someone putting up with the massive trial of dating a mourning widow?

You can’t just wait that out forever, you know. When will I not be mourning? Oh, that’s easy—Never. I won’t ever not miss Jim. I won’t ever fall out of love. Our halt happened at a high point, and really that has a disturbing beauty to it. There weren’t dirty secrets or regrets or loose ends. There was just life lived all the way and more happiness than I thought a single soul could bear. So it leaves me in love forever.

Which, though incredible, isn’t enough.

Dustin got married last month and I traveled to the wedding solo. As I walked through the Reno airport I thought over and over, “Alone . . . I’m alone . . . This is bullshit.” Alone just isn’t fair. How could I—how could anyone—expect me to be stuck all by myself? Like I’ve said before, I can do that. I’m good at alone. But for it to be a forced solitude? Therein lies the bullshit. I’m independent by upbringing and preference. I’m alone by way of horrid circumstance. I fret and fret that Jim’s friends and family will hate me and cut me off if there is another man in my life. I feel like they might think that I don’t miss Jim or honor his memory. That would be wrong. He is always there. He will always be there. It doesn’t matter who I see or who I’m with, Jim is part of me. I love his kids completely, and they’ve become part of me too.

My late husband improved me in way that would be unfair to keep to myself. Jim hated wasted potential and skill. Would he want me to waste me? I’ve come to a place where I’m certain he wouldn’t. Is it dishonorable to take the skills I got from loving Jim and apply them to a new relationship? I’ve struggled with that a lot. But I know the answer’s no.

“Jim would want you to be happy.” Yes. I believe it. He would want that for all his people in the way that suits us each best. But I also don’t know if full-tilt happy is even in me anymore. I can laugh loud. I can be useful. But it all ends up colored with despair or concern. I’m either dealing with the drench of sorrow, or I’m worried that if I don’t look the right amount of sad the other people who love Jim will think I’ve moved on.

That’s not a thing though. I can’t move on. That means leaving him behind, which I will never do. Yet I can move forward and take steps where he comes with me. Those steps forward involve a lot of walking into the dark without a light. So I think as I take those tottery steps I’d like to be allowed a strong hand to hold.

You're looking at my left-side ribs. Tattoo's real and the only one I have. It wasn't even a week after Jim died that I knew I wanted it and getting the thing was how I celebrated our anniversary in May. 
Being with me isn’t an easy task that’s for sure. It wasn’t easy for Jim—think “smart, beautiful, and difficult”— and it’s worse since he’s gone, but I’d like to think I’m worthy of a shot and worth all that effort. Okay, I actually have it on good authority that I am. Giving another guy a try in my current state is weird. I certainly didn’t set out to do it, but I stumbled onto a terrific something—a someone—and experiencing care and laughter and a sense of light in this kind of relationship is an astounding relief. I’ve tried on a new pair of shoes, and while I’m gonna be wobbly as hell maybe forever, it feels so nice not to have to be barefoot.s


SeƱora H-B said...

Just a big, huge, virtual hug from the internet.

Bexyboo said...

You've got a lot of life to live. If you can find happiness, then go for it.