Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Am I Turning My Husband .....

.... into a saint?

After really sitting down to think about it and to honestly delve into the recesses of my mind (which was an exhausting trip, by the way) .... I think I can honestly say ...... no.

I know, as do we all, that we tend to remember more of the good times after someone dies.  I also know, that many people seem to develop a severe case of "selective amnesia" when it comes to the dearly departed.
But as far as thinking Jim was a saint?
Ummmmmm ..... nope.
No how.
No way.

He was a very good man.
But he was human.
He was a good father.
But he was human.
He was a wonderful husband.
But he was human.

I can say, without a doubt in my mind, that we had a great marriage.  And I never took it for granted.
I have "journaled" my prayers to God on and off over the years.  I have a collection of books that I've kept.  You could open any one of those books and turn to any page and there's a 99% chance that it starts with a "thank you" for placing Jim in my life.
I knew how blessed I was.

Did we have a perfect marriage?
There's no such thing.
We went through some rough times.
Believe me, with 6 kids there are bound to be rough times.
But the older we got, the better our marriage became.

We grew up together.  Heck, he was 23 and I was 22 when we married.  We met when we were 20.
After 27 years of being together .... we had a great thing going on.  The kids were starting to head out and we looked forward to spending more and more time with each other in the future.  And to traveling.
And marriages.  And grandkids.
And then ..... well, you know.

The relationship that I'm in now is not like that.
We do not know each other, inside and out.
We did not grow up together.
We both have kids, houses, bills, jobs, etc.
We both have dead spouses (now that's a WHOLE 'nother post!).
Life is not fun and carefree the way it was when Jim and I met in college.
We had loads of time to focus on each other.
I don't have that now.

The feelings are not the same.
And, having been in love with only one man before this .... I have nothing else to compare it to.
So most of the time ..... I have no idea about what the hell I'm doing.
I don't know how "love" the second time around is "supposed" to feel.
And then there's the age old question:  "How do you know that it's love?"
Hell if I know.
I used to know, but I don't now.
I'm guessing that the answer is still the same ..... you know when you know.

All I know is that this time around .... it's hard.
Very, very hard work.
Sometimes it would be so much easier to just say "Forget it.  I do NOT need this in my life."
But then there are the times when it's really great to be with someone who loves you.
And it's nice to just be able to hold a man's hand again.

Someone asked me the other day how I could be in another relationship when I still love Jim so very much.
I boiled it down to this:  I think that you have to make a decision.  Do I want to keep my heart closed, and keep only Jim's love locked inside of it?  Or do I want to take a chance .... and open it up JUST a crack ..... and maybe let some new love slip in?
I vote for the crack.
Maybe one day I'll be able to open it up fully.  I don't know.
I have no desire to get married again.
Not today.  Not ever.
That may change ..... it may not.
But right now ..... this day ..... I'm ok with it.

I will continue to live for this one day.
I will try to enjoy what each day brings and get through any waves that one may bring.
I will try to keep my heart open as much as I can .... to experience not only love, but life.

Am I trying to find another Jim?
There's no such thing.

Was he a saint?
Not by a long shot.

But he was mine.


  1. beautiful, inspiring honesty x

  2. Even after 10 months of being without my husband, I still find him to be a saint. Others who knew him well can't understand how I feel this way but I just do. After 28 years of marriage and kids moving out, we were ready to spend all out time together and enjoy weddings, grandchildren, etc. just like you. I admire and respect you for opening your heart to another relationship and pray that one day I can do the same.

  3. I can relate to what you are saying,especially the part about things getting better as we got older and looking foward to the kids leaving home and time for us. That is the part that I feel most jip of! My marriage was rockier when we were young, but grew to a great relationship. I think we finally got it! Then he got sick, but that made it even stronger, because he knew that I truly loved him when I stayed through the loss of looks, sex and all of the rest of hell you must go through once your other half develops cancer. I have been thinking about dating, because I am lonely. As far as still loving lost partner, there really is no threat to the present love, because their is no competion with a dead man! People do not understand this, because they have not experienced it! I know my love for them will be different, not better or worse, just different, because I am older and wiser than when I met my husband!

  4. A friend recently told me that the you know it's love when there's a difference between a man you can live with and see yourself being happy, and a man you can't live without.
    That criteria doesn't work for me because I did love my husband and I've had to learn to live without him.
    I have been able to find joy and happiness again, and it isn't the same as when my husband with me, but it's a new and different experience.

  5. Patti,
    I thought I could never live without Jim. Then he died and for 2 years I didn't want to live without him. Seriously, considering-getting-the-hell-off-the-earth not wanting to live.
    Now, 3 years down the road, I know that I can live without him and I'm wanting to live again.
    But as for finding another man who I'd feel that way about .... I just can't imagine it happening. Not twice in one life time. Maybe I'm selling myself short. Or, maybe I'm older and wiser (like Anon #2) and know that love this time will be different. So I look for a man with whom I can be happy. Am I settling? Or just being realistic? I wonder ....

  6. Janine, what a courageous post! I believe that. . . .my husband has only been gone a little over two months, people ask will you marry again?
    I truly think no, never.
    I know what I had, I know it was rare. . . . and I know it will never be that way again. How could it be? We fell in love as adolescents, three children, five grandchildren later. How do you explain the woman you are now to a man who can only see the finished "person"? Our husbands new us a young women, mothers, lovers, career women. . . the development of that is who we became. Last December, my husband and I were sitting by the fire knowing this was our last Christmas, he looked at me and said "i love the woman you have become so much" - it is that. . . piece - the becoming that transforms a relationship and makes it unique. But opening ones heart to love is what makes life worth living . . to share what is uniquely us, maybe not ever the same but if we are lucky all that love we were given can not be lost but be transformed and carried on. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Peace

  7. Janine,

    No, we are not just "settling".....we love being loved and loving....because we have experienced what we have experienced, as hard as it has been and is. Yes, it is very different, a different man, different circumstances, but it is love.

    I want the man I now love, to know the love that I had before and can still give...because it is what he never has had and his love is something I want to receive, yes, again different, but oh, so good!....Do I make any sense?

    I always appreciate your openhearted posts..In fact your post was in my thoughts throughout the day.
    Thank you....

  8. Don was mine! I have no desire to be IN love again...I've been married to the teenage sweetheart and divorced after 17 years when I couldn't take the nightmare anymore...THEN I met Don and a whole new world opened up...I believe I would give my soul away for 1 micro second of seeing! I don't mind being single for however many years I have's OK...I've never been on my own, in my whole entire life...I went from parents, to 1st husband, to 2nd husband...I like being alone now at this age. It's my last chance to figure out who I really am...well try anyway *smile*

  9. Good evening my darling daughter. What a beautiful and heartfelt post this was. You are an amazing woman, and I am so proud to call you daughter. I love you so.

  10. Janine, at getting close to 2 years this post was really good for me to read. It gives me hope that someday I can open my heart again to someone else. I've thought about it - but it's so scary and like you said, Dave and I knew eachother inside and out. That comfortableness isn't going to be easy to find. I thank you for speaking out about it.

  11. It's been about 2 1/2 yrs since my husband Jesse passed away...

    Thank you for sharing your story; I am 32 w/ 3 kids and recently I thought I should date and get to know people, but doing so has made me think of Jesse again; it makes me sad all over. I wonder if I should open my heart again or not...