Monday, May 3, 2010

Toasting Alone

Tonight I toasted my youngest son's confirmation with me, myself, and I. The ceremony was really beautiful, we enjoyed a lively lunch with our family to celebrate, and at the end of the day I felt peaceful and content. So, I popped the cork on a bottle of champagne, and toasted to a joy filled day.

As I poured my solo glass of bubbly, I laughed at myself for opening the bottle just for me. I also struggled with a slight sense of melancholy since I was once again reviewing the highlights of the day alone.

One of the things I missed the most after becoming unwillingly single was having someone with whom to share the "look." You know the says "Did you just see that?" or "I am so proud of her." or "This is the most fabulous concert ever!" or even, "That kid is in so much trouble!" There are so many messages that effortlessly pass between two people commited to sharing the ups and downs of life together. Every once in awhile I see a look pass between strangers that indentifies them as partners, and my heart aches a little with the tenderness of the moment.

I have to admit that figuring out if I missed having a life partner, or if I specifically missed having Phil as my life partner was not easy to do. The idea that both could be true didn't occur to me. For years I knew that my heart longed for daily companionship, but I couldn't figure out how to acknowledge that need without the disloyalty alarm sounding. For awhile I ignored my desire to find another partner. For an even longer time I pretended that being alone would be fine. But after awhile lifting my glass to the heavens became so lonely that I stopped toasting.

My greatest fear in entering a new relationship was that others would assume that I am now fixed. Phil's death, and the aftermath that followed, seemed diminished somehow if I wasn't actively in pain. What I have discovered is that loving one man doesn't replace the love I have for the other, that being alone for the rest of my life because my husband died doesn't work for me, and that what other people think was never under my control anyway. So for the record, I am not fixed. But I do look forward to toasting life's wonderful moments with the new man in my life, and I am pretty sure that there will be a time when we both tip our glasses to the heavens.


  1. That look...

    Can I ever just give that "proud of what my baby just did" look to the hypothetical new man in my life, and have him share in the pride and admiration of my beautiful lovely children? My heart breaks for them losing their real daddy - the man bound to them with genetics - who is SO PROUD and thrilled to watch them grow and learn to make themselves in the world.


    I hope...

  2. *sobbing* with this post, Michele... thank you for sharing your heart... I can sooo relate to the feeling of "disloyalty" and worrying too much about what other people think (mainly my 5 adult children)... This month marks the 1 year anniversary of 'My Rick's' death... and coincidentally, there is, SUDDENLY, (and without effort or provocation) a new man in my life... nothing romantic (yet!... and not sure I'm ready for that direction), but a wonderful 'renewed' (as he was a friend from when I was 16 years old) friendship is beginning to develop. We've talked on the phone 3 times in the past week and a half, (for the first time in 30 years) to go walking (HIS suggestion, and significant) this past Sunday (got rained out and we had to walk indoors at a local mall... which was HIS 'back-up plan', also significant)... we have plans to go for a walk again on Friday... It feels really wonderful to look forward to his calls, and to look forward to seeing him... so WHY do I feel sooo damn guilty??!! (Now for the "significance"... Coincidentally, [or is it?] the VERY FIRST date that I went on with 'My Rick' [TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO] was a walk (initiated by HIM) that got 'rained out' and we ended up walking indoors at the exact same mall (HIS 'back-up plan')... There are no coincidences, right?

  3. Denece, what a beautiful experience! I believe that our former spouses would want us to be loved, appreciated, and happy in their absence. So much of the guilt we feel is our own struggle with finding a way to understand that one love allows us to love another. Love grows, and expands the heart. Wishing you much love many forms.


  4. Denece,
    Three months after Larry died, I met the man I will marry this fall.
    It was not coincidence that we met. I truly believe he was sent to me (I call him my angel).
    Enjoy what you have now, it is normal to have the feelings that Michele explained so well, but we (widows and widowers) cannot grow if we choose to worry about what is "right" or what others "think".
    Yes, Love is HUGE! Our hearts were made to hold loads of it. I never would have believed it, if my world had not fallen apart two years ago.
    Best to you...

  5. Michele and Enid... I cannot express my sincere gratitude, enough, at your words of encouragement... this new man makes me feel 'hopeful and happy'... feelings that I thought I might NEVER have again... I KNOW that 'My Rick' wants me to feel those things... I just need to 'let go' of my guilt, I know that too! Blessings to you both! ~ DeNece