“You, Too” (Post #26) Lessons Learned by a Dating Widower
I’ve JUST returned home from visiting a friend and his wife in a local nursing home. I’ll call them ‘Dick’ & ‘Jane’. ‘Jane’ has been battling cancer for over a year. I just got the word today that she was admitted to this nursing care facility after they learned from doctors that she has only a few days to live. After seeing her just about 30 minutes ago, I’m in shock. I’ll be surprised if she lives 24 hours.
And ‘Jane’ is only 38. ‘Dick’ is a mere 36. I’m not making this up. I truly can’t believe it. I feel so horrible for ‘Dick’.
My ‘Ruby’ was 60 when she graduated to Heaven. I almost feel guilty that she made it all the way to age 60!
This grave reminder of death claiming the spouse of my friend is forcing me to remind you; that if you are currently married and remain married, you or your spouse WILL face the same questions, the same struggles, the same heartache that I’ve described in the previous 2 dozen+ posts. GUARANTEED. One of you WILL die before the other. Or if your marriage crashes in a divorce or annulment, BOTH OF YOU WILL lose each other. (The ONLY exception is if you both are tragically killed in the same calamity.)
Yes, you, too, WILL travel the same grieving journey, and will MOST LIKELY deal with similar dating issues. It’s just a matter of time.
You, too, will struggle with handling the grieving struggles simultaneously while deciding if you want to date/love again. It will either be YOU or YOUR SPOUSE that will be taken first. It will be either YOU or YOUR SPOUSE that will be left behind.
Unless you never marry . . . you, too!
I can read the minds of some of you who are reading this post. You’re starting to skim the text in this post. You’re starting to live in denial. You’re beginning to think “well that won’t happen to me for a long, long time, so I don’t need to worry about it now.” Dick is 36!! Did you hear me?? 36 !!
First of all, you who are still married, ya gotta start talking together with your spouse about the “when it happens…”; NOT the “what if it happens”. ‘Ruby’ and I were blessed with years to talk about it after she was first diagnosed with cancer. We talked about what we wanted at the memorial service; about cremation; about finances; about the cemetery headstone; about DATING (I hated that discussion); and about other sundry details. We didn’t discuss all of those topics at the same time, and we discussed them when it was appropriate; NOT, for instance, when she was sick from getting chemotherapy.
I admit, some of those topics were painful to discuss. But in retrospect, and after ‘Ruby’ had passed away, I sure was grateful that we had.
Second of all, those of you who are still married have to begin living like next month is your last. ‘Ruby’ and I might have been married for 38 years; and we might have had a wonderful Christian marriage . . . but regardless, I wish I had told her more frequently that I loved her. I wish I had demonstrated my love for her by doing more of the cooking & more of the housework. I wish I had held her more. I wish I would have taken more time just to talk with her. I wish we could have traveled more together. I wish we would have just taken more walks together. I wish . . .
When you DO lose your spouse, you will then (AND ONLY THEN) know what I’m talking about. When you start the dating ‘game’ again at age 60 like I did, then you will realize how good you had it with YOUR ‘Ruby’. No matter HOW WONDERFULLY BLESSED YOUR MARRIAGE WAS, you’ll begin (all too late) to make your own “I wish I had . . .” list for yourself.
Don’t ask (it’s forbidden to know) what end the gods have granted to me or you, Leuconoe. Don’t play with Babylonian fortune-telling either. How much better it is to endure whatever will be!Whether Jupiter has allotted to sink you many more winters or this final one which even now wears out the Tyrrhenian sea on the rocks placed opposite — be wise, be truthful, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes to a short period.While we speak, envious time will have already fled: seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the next. Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Carpe Diem! You’ll never regret it.
5/2/2013 UPDATE TO THIS POSTING: ‘Jane’ passed away just last night (the night of 5/1/2013) after her struggle with cancer. Please be in prayer for her 36 year old husband ‘Dick’ and their two young children.
5/3/2013 UPDATE; EMAIL RECEIVED FROM A FRIEND: My wife, ‘Ruth Anne’, suddenly became ill and when I took her to the hospital I had no idea that she would never come home. After that point we had no opportunity to talk together. From what I was being told I believed she would get better but it didn’t happen.
We were both in good health and I thought we would have fifteen more years together.
I also have a regret that I did not tell ‘Ruth Anne’ more often how much I loved her and how special she was. We also had the goal to do more traveling. I can think about the special things we did together.
I am so thankful we had no issues between us to have regrets. We were always very open with each other.
Thanks for giving me the opportunity to cleanse my mind.