Wednesday, October 4, 2017


His name is Jason. My mom asked me what I like about him. “He is handsome. He likes me. He teaches me things. He is handsome. He laughs loud. He’s smarter than me. But perhaps most of all, I like how he handles my struggle. He respects Jim. He helps me.” That says so much about who Jason is. A badass, really. Again, tell me what kind of a person does it take to be able date a mourning widow and to endure the spontaneous tears and fond reminiscence of another man and not only power through that but be a comfort? 

It takes nothing short of remarkable.

I never intended to date. I’ve said that a lot. I meant it every time. But had I set out to do so I wouldn’t have thought out the necessity of the man being someone who couldn’t merely handle hearing about Jim, but would ask questions about him and our family, take care of me when I go low, and tell me that he knows that the mourning isn’t going to stop, that it’s part of who I am, and he wants to be with me anyhow. Perhaps even because of it all. Because all of this further toughened me, and I guess that’s kind of appealing. (To a total lunatic.)

Who in the world would want to sign on for this? I’ve said I’m great—I even kind of mostly meant it—but could I possibly be that great? Even though he’s not shy about telling me why I’m a catch, I’m still baffled about why Jason wants anything to do with me. This. Isn’t. Easy. And it's weird.

A bit ago, I told a mutual friend that I’m seeing Jason. She knew Jim and me as a couple as well. At the time I was really struggling with being okay with dating. Was I dishonoring Jim’s memory? My friend’s response was comforting, “If Jim could have hand-picked anyone for you, it would have been Jason.”

He is a yoga student. Obviously that’s how we met. (Like I was going to meet someone any other way.) Jason is also a bowhunter. My boyfriend kills big shit and does it well. I’m a vegetarian. He likes whiskey. I’m a teetotaler. When it comes to the outside stuff, the stuff that doesn’t matter (say, meat vs. no meat, alcohol vs. none, and elective interaction with the outdoors vs. an outright aversion to Outside), we have no business working as a couple. When it comes to the inside stuff, the stuff that matters (values, respect, fun, support, and attraction), he’s given me a companionship that results in stuff I didn’t know I could have again: respite, contentment, and even something like—gasp!—Happy. 

I never asked what I did to deserve Jim dying. I don’t think that way. I have thought plenty about people I wish would have died instead of him, but I don’t remember asking, “Why me?” It just never seemed productive. I have asked what in the world could I have done to deserve having Jim at all. How could I have been so lucky to be his wife and enjoy the amazing life we had together? And now here, despite the horror of incredible love lost, I again find myself in good fortune. 

Truthfully, I’ve been in good fortune this whole time. I’ve known it too. I’ve said so. The amount of support my friends and family give me is more than I’ve known what to do with. They love me. They love the kids. They loved Jim. Of course, love him still. But for there to be someone new in my life giving me support purely on the merit of who I am now, not for who I was before Jim died or out of love for my late husband, is the kind of good fortune I don’t really know how to react to. 

So I’m not going to try to understand it. I don’t have the brain power for that. More significantly, it could be that I don’t need to understand; I just maybe need to enjoy and be enjoyed. I’m unendingly appreciative of—and astonished about, really—Jason’s fortitude regarding the shit I’m in. He eases the heaviness. I get to be comfortable about letting myself keep grieving, and I get to enjoy the privilege of a singular someone to go out with, to stay in with, to try new things with, and to just sit. I might think Jason’s crazy. I might even routinely try to talk him out of being with me. But mights aside, I know I’m again—I’m still—lucky.


Señora H-B said...

You just made my day. Thanks for sharing this journey of yours!

Misti said...

This is good to hear! I wish you the very best!