Monday, October 10, 2011

Bedroom Conversations

Day 118 Photo  - Contentment

I have never reposted anything here, as I prefer to speak in the present, yet I wanted to share something I wrote on my own blog a few days ago. It's something that is still very much on my mind, and something that is likely on the mind of those around me.

Funny how lying on a bed can bring about soul searching, or heart wrenching, conversations. My bed is no different. It has been host to many discussions in the past, and continues to host myself, and various people I love, as we explore our intimate thoughts and feelings.

Earlier, after coming home from work, and getting out of my work duds, I was lying alone on my bed, looking at Michael's urn, and feeling a variety of feelings. I wanted to smile, and I felt like crying. I'm in a good place right now, and yet my grieving continues. As I began to bury my face into the pillow, and allow myself to give up control, there was a knock at my door. It was my 13 year old son, who asked if he could lay on my bed with me. We lay there, in silence, with my arm across his body.

"Dad, can we talk?"

Yes, Remy, whatever you want to talk about.

He wanted to talk about my developing relationship with this new man in my life. He expressed, as well as a 13 year old boy can, how conflicted he feels about how quickly things appear to be moving for this person and me. He said that it is clear that I am happy, and he is happy for me, but what must Michael be feeling right now? Before I could answer, he said that he knows that Michael would be very happy for me, because Remy knows that Michael wanted me to be happy, and to love again. Yet, Remy wanted to know, "Don't you think Michael might be just a little bit mad?"

It's been two years, two very long years. And yet, it also feels like it just happened yesterday. In the two years that Michael lived with his death sentence he would speak of my next boyfriend, and what my life might be like. I would ask him not to talk like that, but he never would stop. He was very clear with me. He wouldn't be happy, if he knew that I wasn't happy. He wanted to die knowing that I would find love and happiness once more. He believed that I deserved that.

One day, long ago, my older son Dante was having a conversation with Michael. He told Michael that he worried that I wouldn't survive after Michael died. Michael told him, in his usual humorous way, that he certainly hoped that I would be heart-broken, and that I would miss him, but that he had no doubt that I would survive. After all, Michael was there with me when I went through many a trial in raising my kids.

Today, while lying there with Remy, I reminded him that we are all so capable of loving. I love him with all my heart. I love his brother and sister with all my heart. I love Michael with all my heart. And, I can love someone new with all my heart.

One love does not negate another.

Tonight, lying in my bed, I spoke with this new person in my life, his name is Abel, and we too spoke of Michael, of Remy, of Dante, and of Arianne. We spoke of my journey as a widower. We spoke of my heart-break and healing. We spoke of the time needed to grow into love, and we spoke of how we can carefully navigate all this while being mindful of younger minds and hearts.

This has become a part of my nightly ritual. The nine o'clock hour arrives, I pick up the phone, I call him, we talk, we listen, we laugh, and we smile.

I have the ashes of my husband to my right, and I have the voice of a new love interest to my left. Is this balance? Is this chaos? Is this right? Is this wrong? Will it last? Will it not? Will I be happy? Will I be sad?

There are no easy answers, but then, I'm not looking for easy answers. I'm looking, and planning on, more work ahead. I'm expecting struggle, and I'm expecting ease. My life is a journey that I often have little control of. At this point in my life, I no longer seek to control it. I choose to experience it, and to embrace as much of it as possible as it unveils itself to me.

I consider myself gifted by this new person in my life. I am experiencing hope once again. I'm feeling like I have much to offer, and I feel like someone is extending a gentle hand my way.

After an hour of intimate conversation, it was time to say goodnight. There was a longing there, which we both verbalized. It gave me a feeling of anticipation when I will have this person before me once again. I rolled over on my bed, and looked up into the brightly lit night. I thanked Michael for his love. I thanked Abel for his open heart. And, I smiled.


  1. What a future awaits your family, Dan, it sounds just right to me. Two years can be a lifetime or a moment... "Be here now" resonates.

  2. beautiful. thank you for the monday morning tears of hope. i hope i am where you are, someday.

  3. Thank you. I have no children who ask these questions, but I ask them myself from time to time, although not as often as I might have expected. Just shy of a year from my husband's death, and completely unsought and unexpected, a wonderful, kind, caring man entered my life and refused to leave. His compassion has helped me around, over or through every difficult moment, every bleak and dark time, and I came to believe early on that G sent him to me ~ or would have if possible. You've expressed so beautifully what I believe ~ that our capacity for love is infinite, and one love never cancels another. In fact, learning to love G has taught me so much of what I need to know to love D. It's all a miracle, really.

  4. Such bitter-sweet thoughts. I have been widowed for five years now and am happily in a new relationship that I never conceived could happen. I'm looking at it similarly to having my second child -- I could love a new one without taking anything away from the other child. As parents, though, I realize that we "get" to have a new spouse -- our kids don't "get" to have a new parent..... We can't fix that. We just move through it and learn new lessons along the way. What a journey!

  5. Perfect, especially as we seem to be walking this new road at the same time. Your words could be mine .... which is nothing new, is it?
    Love and hope .... for all of us.

  6. Beautiful - the gift of having loved so deeply is that we know how.
    Dan, like you my husband talked about "after". He told me to love again, to choose someone kind, someone who would understand my artistic nature. All things that he wanted for me. When I once sobbed "I can't ever love again" he cried harder than I did. Believing that he was leaving me behind with this curse because he died. He pleaded with me to be open to love, that life could be too long and too lonely to be without it.
    It is a gift when someone comes and realizes your grief and is willing to walk the slow walk to something possible -
    love, it is all we have got.
    Dan, so happy for you.

  7. To Dan and anon's helpful to me to read about your conversations about "after" with your spouses. My husband was ill with various afflictions for six years, but the last two were the hardest because he lost his ability to communicate. By the last year, he would rarely utter anything that was understandable. So there were no last conversations for us, no meaningful words. During our marriage when we would discuss various things, he would often say, "I just want you to be happy." But no instructions for "after." So, in reading what your spouses said to you, I try to imagine what he would have said to me, and I try to put myself in your place. A loving spouse knowing that they could not control the future, but letting you know that they were more than OK with you finding someone else, and they did not feel betrayed by that. That is a great gift that you were able to hear these words, however painful they were, because it was their way of saying you have their blessing. So thanks.

  8. Wonderful comments from each of you. I love these conversations, each of us sharing our experiences, or giving encouragement to each other.

  9. My husband also told me to find love and life again after his passing. We had many years of ill health proir to his death and during that time the conversation often came up. At the time I could not conceive of every moving into another relationship. Now almost a year after his death I am on the brink of moving forward to do just that. It is early days yet and even if things don't work out I know my darling husband would be happy for me. It is what he wanted and in moving forward I am honouring the love we had and the memories we built.

  10. Even though words might never be spoken with your spouse regarding moving on into another relationship, if they truly loved you they would only want you to be happy someday. And I think we would all agree that love and happiness go hand in hand.

  11. Thanks Cathy. It really helps.