What needs to be said?

April 21, 2010

It s crazy how much stuff is out there for people dating widows and widowers- books, articles, websites and even movies about it. The focus is predominantly on those dating someone who has lost. Being a young widower, I am in such a small demographic. When you think widow or widower, you think of someone past middle age with children that are out of the house. Women are four times more likely to have lost. I have no good data, but I’d be willing to bet that widowers my age with children Linen’s age make up less than 1% of the population.

Most of the stuff in those books, which I find funny, is common sense. There is some amusing stuff out there. “Room for Two” “Three Hearts” (Sounds like poker hands… wonder what a relationship of two widows would be called) Whether its “10 steps for [this]” or “7 keys to [that]” or “How to know when (s)he’s ready “ or “What holidays to celebrate…” Am I wrong to find most of this stuff frivolous and absurd? Shouldn’t it just be what it is? Life is full of loss, but healthy people have healthy relationships with other healthy people, regardless of background.

Now, more than ever, I am happy to reveal myself- scars and all. I just wonder how accommodating to be. I have dealt with the demons of grief, full time for over a year. It is the other who is slapped in the face with how to handle someone who has lost. If I were a woman dating a widower who lost a beautiful young wife who was a personal trainer, amazing mother, treasured wife, and most importantly genuine follower of Christ; I would wonder about comparisons. This guy lost his wife in her prime. She will never get grey hair. Her skin will never lose its firmness. She will always be remembered for her strengths and her weaknesses have long been forgotten. She remains, in his mind, fossilized. Beloved. It almost seems like too much work. And, he has a beautiful two year old daughter that looks just like her. How can I even try to be something, anything to her?

There is no comparison. There cannot be. I recognize the trap and unfairness, not only for the other but for me. I am happy to talk about it, not just here but any anywhere with anyone. But, what needs to be said? I am more prone to err on the side of not saying enough because the thought of this seems better and more familiar than the other side of the pendulum. The irony of this whole blog thing is that I am not an open book. I want to be and I think I have mistaken honesty for openness. Perhaps this mistake is among the smudges on the right half of my Jahari window.

I feel like I should wear a sign; “ITS OKAY TO ASK, REALLY.” Because, I just don’t know what needs to be said. It’s funny, I don’t feel exposed at all writing this- maybe I just want to talk about it. I want to know what questions there are. Maybe there aren’t any- but why the collection of stories about it?

Let me step over generalizations for the sake of truth and say that men aren’t very good at being honest with themselves and diving deep into the issues of hurt, weakness and insecurity but I recognize this as a bad practice. I have grabbed my grief monster by its ears and we have yelled in each other’s face. I know that I am better for having done so. I do not hide and will not hide from this, but I don’t want loss to define me. I know that I am so much more than someone who has lost. I have learned to be a great father to a beautiful little princess. I have learned to be a better friend. I have always been honest, but I have learned to mix that drink with some gentleness. God, I still need work on that one. I feel myself digressing from my purpose. I know that I will date again and I am beginning to feel that attraction. God made women beautiful after all. Maybe I answered my own question early on… healthy people have healthy relationships and I’ll know what needs to be said and when.

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2 Responses to “What needs to be said?”

  1. Yes, you will know. We all know well that the worst can and does happen. We need to remember that the best happens, as well. And it will/is happening for you and your child. Promise.

  2. Fran said

    I love reading your posts.

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