Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One of THE Most Difficult ....

                                                                  photo from here
.... Posts I've Ever Written.

Something has changed.
And I wasn't even aware of it until 2 days ago.
Which is kind of freaking me out, because this change was huge.
So huge that it stunned me when I realized it. Literally.
And then I wondered how I felt about it.

I felt horrible and yet a little relieved at the same time.
And I kept this change to myself, thinking I could never admit this.
Not to anyone.

But then I read Dan's post and I commented to him that I am committed to being honest with all of you.
Yet .... even as I type this .... I wonder if I'll have the courage to hit "Publish Post".

Because although you are all some of the safest people I know .... and we almost always
connect with one another in a way that we don't with those on the "outside", I question
whether anyone will "get" this? And I wonder if you'll think what I first thought .... that I
am a horrible person for feeling this new way.

So .... I'm taking a deep breath and just jumping in. Because really ..... I can NOT be the only person widowed person .... who has experienced this.

Most of you know that I began a relationship with someone 2 years after Jim died. The first man that I met in my "after". We dated for a little over a year and then broke up a couple of months ago. It was very difficult to do, but we both knew it just wasn't working, even though we loved each other. And so we ended the "relationship", but not the friendship.
And we've both moved forward, though I haven't met anyone since .... and I don't think that he has, either.

Anyway, things have been going along well ..... until this past week. I have found myself thinking about him, wondering how he's doing .... wondering if we could make it work if we tried again, having learned a few things. Not making plans or anything really ..... just wondering. You know, wondering about the "what ifs".  Knowing that I'm the only one who's doing the wondering, so of course it won't work.  And that's OK.

But then a couple of days ago, on Easter, I started feeling blue. We'd had a good morning ... gone to church, had lunch and then my oldest son headed back to college. My middle daughter had left early that morning. And the blue started growing darker. I hate it when they leave. Then I started crying as I wandered though the house. I thought it must be that I was missing Jim, especially on a holiday. But then ..... out of the very dark blue ..... it hit me:
It wasn't Jim who I was missing. It was the other man.

I could not believe that thought was in my brain. I can't believe that I'm typing it out.... .... here .... for everyone to read.
And know.

So yes, I was .... and still am .... stunned by that change in me.
I mean, I know .... with every fiber of my being ..... that I still miss Jim. That I'll always miss him. And will always love him.

But to feel a change in the missing of him ..... feels horrible .... and yet positive at the same time.

How could someone who's lost the love of her life .... her first love, the only love she knew for almost 27 years ..... miss another person, a different person whom she loved for such a short time ..... more than she misses her husband? What does that say about her love for him? That it's fading? That she's forgetting him? That she must not have loved him enough? That she's a horrible person widow?

No, that is not what it says.
Not at all.

After the first moments of shock and panic wore off, and in the time since then, and yes.... even as I've been typing these words .... I've realized that it says this about my love:  Jim and I loved each other so much that we felt more secure with ourselves. We knew that we were worthy of being loved. We knew that we deserved to be loved .... and to be loved well.
All because we loved each other.
We loved each other very, very well.

Because he loved me the way he did, the way I needed to be loved .... I am able to love again.
And I will love again. Hopefully.   And I will be loved the way I need to be loved.  Hopefully.
And that turns something that I first thought was horrible .... into something that is positive .... and very good.

And all because .... of Jim.


  1. More and more, I just keep telling myself that whatever I feel; love, lust, longing, it's all good. I want to be in the land of the living. Back when I was chronically single, before meeting Michael, I used to say that I wanted passion in my life. Passion does not necessarily mean sex, but love, pain, needing and fulfilling.

    I too, would prefer that I fall in love with someone new, and that it will last. But, if not the first time...

    I think it's such a good sign that you are having those feelings for someone alive. Not that I want us to forget our husbands, or the love and life we had, but to keep craving that type of love and life. Before moving to San Diego, a neighbor came over to say goodbye to me. She wanted me to know that when I first moved to the neighborhood, I expressed a desire to love, and to be loved, in spite of the growing number of children I was collecting. She wanted me to know that by loving Michael, and him loving me, it was proof that I am worthy of that love, and that I am capable of that love.

    Like our children, one love does not eliminate the ability to love another, nor does it take away from that prior love. Maybe I'm just into pain, but I cherish the idea of loving another, and even feeling the pain of loss with a new relationship. It will remind me that I am alive.

  2. Before my beloved passed away, he told me that he wanted me to go on to love someone else, because I was too loving to be alone. It was the greatest gift he gave to me- since he was so committed to our relationship, but he knew it was not fair to expect someone so young to stay alone.Shortly after he died, it was as if he kept sending me the message to move on, because I kept hearing these two songs on the radio, Already gone, by Daughtry and, Couldn't have loved me better by Kelly Clarkson. And the phrase you can not have a relationship with a dead man-kept running in my head. He was a practical guy so it would be just like him to be doing this. Of course at that point I wasn't ready, but recently I have begun to date and have heard these songs more than I have in a while- feels like encouragement from my late husband. Really would like to thinks so. As Dan says as long as we live always miss them, but that does not mean we should not move on. Life is for the livng, so your post gives the rest of us hope that we really can find new love!

  3. Janine thanks for sharing and no you are not the only one! I'm right there with you! A lot of what you've said I've felt too and I am holding onto faith and hope that its a good thing that my heart can handle all these feelings and continue to be open to new love!

  4. You both are so right! I have the same feelings about my ex-fiance. I also wondered about how I could not be missing my husband like I was missing my almost husband. Then, I came to the same conclusion as you...the love my husband and I shared was the real deal, and its power is allowing me to continue living and loving. Here's to all the wonderful and terrible emotions of the living.

  5. I think you have "accepted" that your husband can no longer be with you, and that someone else can. "Acceptence" is much harder than moving on.

  6. HooRAY for being alive, again, darlin'. That's what you are... free to feel what you feel.

  7. Janine thanks for your honesty. I so understand how you can miss Jim and at the same time miss the relationship you had after Jim died. I think the message here from everyone is that we are still alive and that relationships are as natural as breathing.

  8. Yes, Thank you for the honesty. It is funny we never question that we can love deeply more than one child but we always wonder if we can or should or ever could love more than one person. Just like our children are not the same and will never be the same - we love them deeply anyway.
    I think it means - you can feel again, how wonderful! to feel love, to feel the loss of love, to know grief, to know that there is room in ones heart and life for new love. It does not diminish your love for Jim, it only shows the openness of your heart that you have dared to believe again.
    How precious that is, hold tightly to that change.
    Life is always moving us and changing us - I love what Dan also said about wanting passion - the passion to know what it is to be fully alive with all of its glory and pain and all of our great contradictions.

  9. aaaggghh! Janine! Just today, for the very first time since matt drowned, a handsome man sat down at my coffee shop table and flirted with me. It was awkward in so many ways, Deeply uncomfortable in so many ways, and I felt horrible afterwards. All of those thoughts like - have you really forgotten matt already? You can just pick on up and carry on?

    The fact that I had smiled and flirted a bit was just stunning to me. And horrifying. And also stunning. And horrifying. And so to come home after a decompression session with a friend to find you writing about this, well - awesome timing. I don't love that you also can get whipped around by these things, but I so appreciate the validation of it happening.


  10. Good for you! I so wish I was at that point, but I am not. Allow yourself to have feelings for someone that is alive. It means you too are alive! How wonderful for you....and yeah, I am a little jealous. I can't wait until I reach where you are now, and I know I will someday.

  11. Janine, you were brave to write that post and I "get" how it must have been the hardest post to write. You know, my best friend from school said to me when I confided in her about seeing an ex boyfriend for some "fun" ... "do whatever you can ... whatever it takes ... to feel alive ... to rejoin life" and she was right. I think we are all doing great actually .... even trying to do so. It means we are choosing life and love. I love you - you are so selfless publishing this post for us - it gives a very important perspective xxx

  12. Janine... I believe that there is more than "one love of your life." You are courageous and honest enough to believe that, I think, and I love you for it. Congrats on missing "someone else." You are woman, damm it, who deserves (and will) find another love.