In Denial? NO WAY! (Post #4)

 

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“In Denial?  No Way!”       Post #4     Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower

I’m not quite sure where it originated…this spirit of ‘I can do it myself, thank you very much.’   It might be in my genes with maternal Scotch-Irish influence, and reinforced by my paternal German heritage . . . or vice-versa.   But wherever it originated, I’ve got it bad.  So when it came time for grieving the loss of my wife, once again I thought I could handle it by myself.   After ‘Ruby’ died, nighttime routines always included reading in bed, and the subject of the books?  You guessed it.  ‘Grieving’ – and I read a bookshelf of ‘how to’ guides.

So what does all of this have to do with dating, you ask?

Well, numerous books on grieving addressed the topic of loneliness.  But was I lonely?  No Way.  I felt pretty comfortable by myself!  My adult children, grandchildren, church family, relatives, friends … all helped to fulfill any need for companionship which I may have had.   I had NO pangs of loneliness to pierce my heart.  And so IF and WHEN I arranged a date with a woman, it certainly wasn’t for the reason that I was feeling lonely!  Ya gotta believe me here!  I WASN’T lonely!   (ah…. well…. maybe just a little)

Dating for me started almost 2 years ago as I type this blog.  And I’m embarrassed to say, holding a magnifying glass above my emotions at that time would reveal ONE LONELY MAN.  In fact, to be honest with myself, I was in denial about me being in denial!  I WAS INDEED LONELY.

The worst times always seemed to be Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.  And that’s only logical, as those were the times when Ruby and I spent more time together.  So – to compensate for my feelings of emptiness, incompleteness … OK, OK… feelings of LONELINESS, I’d arrange a date for one or more of those days.

And it wasn’t uncommon for ‘Beth’ to be my date for Friday, and ‘Cindy’ to be my date for Sunday evening in the same weekend.  But lonely?  At the time I would have adamantly denied it.  Who me, lonely?  I DON’T THINK SO!   Who me, in denial?  NO WAY! …………..  Yes way.

The DIY books were helpful.  The grieving group I attended for 6 weeks was helpful.  And certainly, friends and family were helpful.  But living without your spouse is so much like living in a vacuum; or maybe in a black hole; or maybe on a deserted island.  There could literally be hundreds or thousands of people around you, but you still feel alone, forsaken, empty, incomplete, like something is missing; and that something, of course, is your spouse.

I SUPPOSE I LEARNED that dating in the early stages for a widower is primarily to compensate for those lonely feelings.  After all, for the first 8 or 9 girls I dated as a widower, I stopped dating them after 3 dates.  I wanted companionship, not commitment.  My kids would ask, “So, Dad, what number date is this for you with ‘Denise’?  Number 3????”  They correctly concluded that date would be my last with her.   {NOTE:  Not all made it to the 3rd date.  For example, there was Francis, who I stopped after date #1.  She reminded me too much of my mother … by the end of the date I felt haunted!}

And now, looking back on those early months of dating, I’ve learned that LONELINESS can be so powerful that it can BLIND you to what and who God wants in your life!

Now that you’ve finished reading this post, I’m sure you have some thoughts on this topic, and I’d love to know what they are.  Feel free to post your comments, whether you disagree or agree with what I’ve learned.  I’d be indebted to learn from your thoughts and experiences too! 

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2 thoughts on “In Denial? NO WAY! (Post #4)

  1. I lost my wife of 35 yrs to cancer in Oct. 2012. I could not have ever imagined the amount of pain that can be inflicted through such an earthshaking event. I am thankful to see, through your blog, that I am not alone in the insanity that results from such a loss. My wife was a strong, confident, beautiful woman who was always there to encourage and strengthen the weak, including myself. I, on the other hand, would do the same for her. Starting from scratch, we spent a lifetime learning to become an inseperable team. We built our farm, our family, she had her private school that her students and I built, we had our plans for the future. Now the school house sits quiet-books still on the shelves-certificates, plaques, pictures, still on the walls. All in such deafening silence. All our plans are out the window and life is at a complete stand still. I’ve mentioned to many of my friends that I feel like I have been dropped onto another planet-a world unrecognizable, foreign, and harsh. Even the sky, on a summer day, takes on an Autumn hue. I have felt that trying to begin dating would be a disaster at this point and would be so unfair to another woman because I WOULD be comparing them to my late wife. So I wait. And wait… I wait for an opportunity to enjoy a walk on the waterfront, a stop at a coffee shop, a day-hike in the mountains, or a snowball fight with someone who enjoys spending time with someone she understands is wounded and just needs company. Unfortunately, the few that I have made attempts at getting together with, act like I just proposed and they’re not ready to get into THAT kind of relationship. Huh? What kind of relationship? All I asked was if they’d be interested in getting together for a walk. In a comment, in one of your earlier posts, a woman demanded that “no woman should ever marry a widower”, Well, in her case, she’s right. She should never marry anyone who might need her to help them up when they are down, to feel compassion for anyone but herself, to become an integral member of a TEAM, where both side look out for the needs of the other. Of course a widower is going to be carrying his memories of the past. Of course a widower is going to always be in love with his late wife. He didn’t ask her to leave. She didn’t drive him away, but I can tell you that while his late wife is still on his mind, doesn’t mean that she is still taking up residence in his world. She’s no longer there. He has a huge, empty house in his heart, waiting for the right person to inhabit. To demand that no self-respecting woman ever date or marry a widower is cruel and selfish. She might as well say, “spare the world the trouble of having to put up with you and just put a bullet through your brain”. So I go on, waiting, praying for that special someone. An unselfish ray of hope. She’s out there. Wherever she is, God has made us for each other. I pray for her protection, for good health, and for her heart to be able to look beyond herself and beyond my current, temporarily broken, helpless self, and see what I used to be, what I can be again. A hopeless romantic who wants to live again, to laugh again, to love again, but right now, all I need is a friend.

    • DW, I couldn’t have said it better myself. There IS someone “out there” for you. And God WILL bring the two of you together. Look for a post in the VERY NEAR future that will explain my hope. Bless you, DW, for writing this powerful response.

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