Monday, July 18, 2011


I'm sitting here, Sunday night, and watching the old Steven Spielberg film, Always. It's one of those films we widowed people try to avoid, especially in the first year. I'm not in my first year, more like at 22 months, but who's counting.

This is one of those films that I remember enjoying, but never really thought to watch again. So, the details of the film escaped me when I tuned in tonight. A pilot dies, leaving his girlfriend widowed, and is sent back to help guide another, younger, pilot. What the pilot doesn't realize is that he is not necessarily sent back to help the young man become a better pilot, he is sent back to help the young man heal the heart of his widowed girlfriend, through new love.

Interesting timing. As many of you know I have just started dating again. For some it may seem soon, but at 22 months, I find that I need something new in my life. Not surprising really, as most of my widowed journey has been about seeking that which is new. It's not the recommended route, nor is it the easiest route. I'm well aware that my grief remains, and that there is still much for me to work through. But, what I also know well, is me. I know what works for me. At seven months into my grief I was feeling like ending it all. Not the safest best place to have been, and not something I share with everyone, yet something I do share with my widowed companions.

I remember that time as the darkest, and most painful, time of my life. I was grieving not just the loss of my husband, but the complete loss of hope. I had gone through so much in my adult life, especially with all the unexpected challenges of raising my three adoptive children. I realized that through some of my choices, and perhaps through some bad timing, I had remained single throughout most of my adult life. I often laid up alone at night, and wondered what it was like for married people. I wondered what it was like to sleep next to the person I loved every night. I wondered what it would be like to make love to the same person, night after night, week after week, and year after year. At some point in my life, I had actually given up hope that I would indeed meet that person.

Then one April evening, without any real expectation, I met Michael. It didn't take much time to know he was the one. And, it didn't take much time to know what I had been missing all of my adult life. You see, it was almost four years later, to the day, that I sat on the floor of my bedroom, with a choice to make. Succumb to the pain, or wake up the next morning with a new plan. That is when I made a plan to pack up my kids, leave my job, sell my home, and move on. It is what I needed. I knew that ultimately it would be the only way for me to survive. I made a choice that next morning to trust that I wasn't making this decision alone, and that I wouldn't be taking those steps alone as well.

Now I find myself out here, 22 months into this journey, knowing that it is time for me to take another step. I know that I need new love in my life, and that I have to go out and seek it. It is what he wanted for me, and I feel like he is once again here guiding me. Funny, there is no guilt. There is only a smile on my face, thinking about the way Michael's whole face would light up when he was filled with joy, or when he looked at me. I don't see him, yet I feel his smile. I feel the warmth of his gaze. It lights up my life.

This week I will be going on a second date. I'm excited, and I am nervous. I know what I had, and I know what I would like to have once again. I hope to maintain my optimism as I begin this phase of my life. I hope to find enjoyment in the process of meeting new guys, and I hope to remain open to the prospect of new love and romance.

For so long I thought I would never have true love.

For a short time I thought I would always have it.

For a time I thought I would never escape the pain of losing him.

For now, I realize that I will always have him, and his love.

I trust that he knew what was best for me, and that he wants me to choose love.



  1. Wow Dan!
    Such incredible timing for me. I woke at five a.m. this morning. I could not go back to sleep. I went to see the movie "Tree of Life" . It was still running through my head. Incredibly still, I picked up my blackberry and (as I often do) I lay in bed and look at pictures of my husband. Then I wanted to listen to a voice note I made of him singing but because they are all numbered I mistakenly hit another note.
    Barely a whisper.
    I had to replay it.
    It was me.
    A recording of my voice the night I considered taking my life.
    I had hit a wall of grief so big and yes, all hope was gone. I was awake at four a.m. having cried most of the night. I must have done what I had done dozens of times. When it gets dark like that I look at pictures of him and of my children. But this night/early morning came back to me suddenly clearly. My voice almost unrecognizable because of days of exhaustion and grief and sobbing- but somewhere I held on by a tether to life and I recorded the moment.
    What did it say ?
    "I am keeping myself alive"
    I recorded it to hold on, to remind myself how close I had come, to say don't let go.

    I was so surprised to find it. I had forgotten I had recorded it. I am in a different place now. Still grief. But it was almost the same timing as your "thinking of ending it al" . I felt to despaired to carry on.

    but - here i am.


    That movie is a good reminder. About love and loss.
    The movie I just saw is a beautiful one, also about love and loss.
    It has hope. I think that is why I couldn't stay asleep. I wanted the hope to stay with me.

    Thanks Dan.
    Choosing love is choosing to live.

  2. DAn,I was just sitting here thinking about the Adukt love I had for 20 years. Thoughtb about the comfortable feeling I had of acceptance and love. I miss that too! I keep thinking how Iust go through the ackward state of dating until you find the one where that just happens. Do not know if I am ready for it! But you remimd me that I must give it a try or I will never get anywhere.

  3. Thanks for being so open and vulnerable, Dan. It helps so many people. I, too, reached the point where I did not, could not, live any longer with the crushing, all consuming pain. And I have only shared that here. I don't know how many of us really, seriously consider(ed) it, but I think it helps other to admit it. For me, it wasn't a decision that I sat down and rationally made .... it was an instant, a nano second really, when I felt I could no longer stay here and endure the pain of losing Jim. I snapped. The pain was too much and I knew that that horrid black hole made me less of a mother, daughter, sister and friend. I knew that we would all be better off with me not here.
    But "here" is where I am. Still.
    As are you. And so many others.
    And I believe we're here for a purpose, even if it's only to tell others that yes, it sucks and it's horrible, but it does get easier to bear. One day at a time, one minute at a time.
    Baby steps.
    And once most babies start walking .... they are soon running. And happy.
    I hope date #2 goes very, very well.
    And yes, I'm still jealous.