Facing the Truth


He’s dead, Jim,” Dr. Leonard (Bones) McCoy (2227-?) chief medical officer on the starship, Enterprise

During the first year, when I was trapped by responsibilities I did as best I could to keep hopelessness at bay and anger to a minimum. But I longed to live life again. To be happy. To set goals and reach for them. To be out in the world and experience things again. Certainly I would have preferred to have had Will by my side, but that wasn’t the reality. He was gone, and I was still here.

Why do some of us see the world for the possibilities it holds for us as opposed to some sort of solitary confinement to be outlasted?

My husband’s dead. I don’t expect phone calls. He isn’t going to turn up in the kitchen one morning when I come down to get breakfast for my daughter. Although there are moments in the beginning when there is a Twilight Zone feel to this, I have a difficult time with widowed people who are further out than I am and still talking about grappling with the reality of their now. They talk about “diverting” themselves with projects and dating and getaways. How does one “divert” grief? It hangs on you like a too large coat, smothering you almost with its omnipresence. I guess what most annoys me about statements like these, and it is annoyance because I can’t empathizewith it  and it is for the rare one that I feel pity, is that they refer to life as a distraction. Living is a distraction? Reality is a time filler on the way to the grave?

Reunification seems to be the goal of many widowed people. While it is a nice thought, I am not so sure that it is the reality that awaits any of us when this life is over. I often have the feeling that Will is farther and farther away from me all the time, and that he is moving forward in much the same way that I have. A dear friend of Rob’s told him that he shouldn’t worry about the configurations of the next life in terms of our earth bound relations. The next plane is not bound by the rules that reign here. I don’t worry about it much myself, but I wonder how I could ever give Rob up. He is too precious and too much a part of me now.

A common question of the widowed is how do you make room in your heart to love another? There is a feeling that a broken heart is just not capable of being repaired to a point where this will be possible. The thing is, though, that your heart isn’t really broken. It still beats. It still feels and aches and has love to give. There is just no one to ease the ache or accept the love anymore. Fear is what holds us back from loving again at some point. Those who have trouble reconnecting with their ability to love and risk not being loved in return more than likely had difficulty with this before they married. I know that when I first tried to date I fell back into the bad relationship habits of my life before Will. It was as though I had forgotten everything I had learned from him and with him about relationships. It was only when I stepped back and acknowledged what I was doing and made an effort to put the lessons of my marriage into practice again that I found my footing and ultimately was able to build a relationship with Rob.

Often I hear widowed people say that though they are in a new relationship, or open to one, they will never love someone else as much as they loved their late spouse, or be loved as comparably. I just cringe. I love Rob as much as I ever loved Will, and I feel as loved as I have ever felt. Beyond that I can’t make any other comparisons. It is not possible and it’s not wise. “That was then and this is now.” Mark says that to Byron in the S.E. Hinton novel of the same now when he is asked why things can’t be the same between them. In the novel it is a rather cynical and very hard assessment of the reality experienced by these teen-aged characters. The two boys had survived hard childhoods and yet the severing of their near-familial relationship was one of the most difficult challenges either had faced yet. Life is hard sometimes, but reality must be acknowledged for what it is. Life is not static. It is ever changing, and it’s direction is only marginally ours to control.

I can’t imagine who I would be were it not for Will. I can’t imagine a future without Rob. My truths.

2 thoughts on “Facing the Truth

  1. I left a comment on your post “How do you know if a widower is in love with you”. As you probably remember the thing is that I haven’t heard yet these magic word of confession from him. My boyfirend is really caring and open to my needs. There is nothing wrong with his behaviour in the relationship. We speak about feelings, emotions, engagement, attachment and use other synonyms but deliberately avoid telling the notion “love”. Provided that his actions could be considered as demonstrating his love I keep wondering what’s the reason it’s so difficult for him to say that word. It is because he still considers love as the biggest thing reserved for his deceased spouse? So he feels not entitled to give it to anyone else? Or maybe it is because the marriage was not so good (I have known both him and some ppl form his family and friends for several years) so he feels hurt by LW and is afraid of living again?

    1. My father (who was never widowed) rarely told my mother that he loved her. He came from a family that just didn’t do that. He thought his actions should speak for him.

      Unfortunately, not all of his actions spoke “love” and that’s the trouble with relying on actions alone. That’s why it’s important to say the words.

      You can guess at his reasoning but you will never know unless he decides to tell you why, and you can’t know that unless you ask. Even if you do, he may not give you an answer that explains anything meaningful from your point of view.

      As I have said before, only you can decide if this is a life you can live with. If nothing ever really changes all that much, would you be okay to stay. Tomorrow is a promise that might never be a reality. It’s best to stick to the now and decide “is he who I love “as is” even if he never changes or the relationships never changes”.

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