Sometimes the thing you most want doesn't happen.
And sometimes the thing you never expect to happen does.

- Love & Other Drugs

I met someone. It came as a total surprise. Mutual friends knew how devastated I was Sunset. Photo by Bet Zimmermanafter Doug died suddenly. They did not think I was going to make it. They wondered if it might help me to talk with someone who had survived a similar loss.

PS lost his wife two and a half years before I was introduced to him. He loved her as much as I loved my husband.

When PS and I were first introduced, I asked him the same question I ask most widows and widowers - What helped you? I was so lost and desperate to figure out how to deal with Doug's death.

PS said that books on dealing with grief were helpful. He offered to share his collection. We met again at a little tea house and talked about the books and loss. Each time I finished a book, we met again to discuss it. As we spent more time together, we found something that went beyond loss.

We started dating about six months after Doug died. It seemed too soon to me and many people around me. I was still knee deep in grief. However, I didn't have any control over when I would meet such a person. Perhaps I met him exactly when I needed to. He certainly pulled me from the wreckage.

I don't know where our relationship will lead, but it has been amazing so far. I do know that meeting him has made me feel that life might be worth living. And that I am grateful.

Some people tell me that perhaps Doug, or the Universe sent PS to me. They know how much Doug and I loved each other, and realize that Doug would probably not want me to suffer. PS certainly is uniquely qualified to understand what loss is like - he has been there himself. He has been ever so patient, thoughtful and comforting. And FUN. I laugh again! And find myself actually looking forward to things again! I never thought that would happen. So many things I thought I knew for certain have turned out to not to be....

Not including PS in this blog has felt incomplete and disingenuous. I talked with PS about writing about him and "us." He is a private person and I wanted to respect that. He actually thought discussing what we have found would give other widows and widowers hope. To know that llife does not have to end when you lose your spouse. That lightning might strike twice. Although I think this is unlikely to happen unless you can open your heart again, and be willing to risk loss again.

I was naive enough to assume that everyone would be HAPPY that I was lucky enough to find love and joy again. Many people were. They are glad that I am not lonely, that I have companionship, help, or maybe they are just grateful that I am not as hysterical as I was. However, I quickly learned that not everyone felt this way. That is one of the reasons I was reluctant to blog about this. There are other reasons too:

  • My own guilt ( I was raised as a Catholic, and their specialty is guilt.)
    • Even though marriage vows are supposedly "until death do us part," I thought that marriage to Doug was for forever. Getting involved with someone else felt like betrayal, especially because I don't actually believe Doug is dead.
    • I feel guilty about being alive or feeling any form of happy again. (More on guilt)
  • Fear of upsetting others I care about.
    • People who knew and loved Doug might feel that my seeing someone else dishonors his memory, and demonstrates that I did not love him enough. I know in my heart that it would not have been possible for me to love Doug more than I did, but they may not know that.
    • Some people will think it is too soon. In our society, widows and widowers are "supposed" to wait a year - or better yet, two or three. Some people believe that if you REALLY loved your spouse, you will never get involved with anyone again for as long as you live. It sounds so much more romantic.
    • Friends and family are still dealing with losing Doug. Seeing me with someone else is a painful reminder that he is never coming back.
    • This website is a tribute to Doug and is also about loss. How dare I talk about another man, or about gain on it?
  • Misunderstanding
    • Some people who have not been widowed may think that the purpose of getting involved with someone new is to "replace" a lost spouse, or "fill the hole" their death left behind. They do not understand what it is like.... Doug is irreplaceable. I will never stop missing him. The hole in my heart will never heal completely. Instead, I have learned that it is possible for a heart to grow and create a new place for someone different. Or that a new love can build a bridge over the crevasse that remains.

Despite these concerns, I decided to try to have the courage to "come clean" and share the best thing that has happened to me in the worst year I have ever experienced. And hope that others will understand. If they do judge me, maybe they can find it in their hearts to forgive me. And if they cannot...that is their right.


July 11, 2011



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