I was married to a widower. They had been married for 14 years and then she got sick. Cancer is an ugly thing … kidney cancer is one of the worst. She was 38 when she died and her boys just 4 and 8.
For 7 years I tried to make it work but living in a shadow, or simply thinking you are, can be tough. I had chosen divorce. My previous relationships ended because I wanted them to. His ended because something beyond their control snuck up and snatched it all away. Big difference.
A few times comparisons came into play…some in my favor, some in hers. She made more money than I did and I was often reminded of that. She had expensive taste in suits, but paid for them herself. I was younger, perhaps a little more vibrant, and didn’t smoke. She said no motorcycles, ever, for the boys … and when he bought Chad a motor bike I tried to honor her argument but didn’t win. Somedays I felt guilty because my happiness was because she had lost hers…
Therein lies the problem. I think. Guilt is a tricky little bugger …. Sneaking up on you and robbing you of happiness. As adults beginning new relationships we inevitably have pasts, often referred to as baggage. Change the word baggage to memories and “because they died” to “because they lived” and I think there is a better base to build on.
In the end I swore I would never date a widower again. I thought that was bigger than anything I am equipped to handle.
Here I am, a few years later and one more big relationship down, and I hope I’ve learned enough to know I can’t put rules that large into place. If I do, I could be denying myself the thing I’ve been fighting for all along.
We collect moments throughout our lives. When we care about someone I think it is natural to be jealous of a day you weren’t there, or to feel a sense of loss in something you know you will never experience with someone simply because of where you are in your lives. What I’ve learned is you have to let the desire to experience new and be in the present overpower that.
When you care about someone you will wish you could have been there on their worst day ever. You can’t rewind the clocks … can’t say what if… if it’s already happened that can never be.
What you can say is from this point on I will be there for the best days of your life…and that’s okay. Maybe had I thought this before I wouldn’t be where I am today … but today, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else…and that’s okay, too.
Funny how that works.