I've Said It Before and I'll Say It Again...
Last night I was on my walk listening to a podcast about moving forward. I know, I know - one of our favorite topics. To reiterate, it was about moving forward and not moving on, which is the phrase we really hate, right?
They interviewed a woman who had PTSD after serving on a jury that sent a man to death row. They interviewed a woman who was diagnosed with leukemia at 22. And they interviewed a widow.
The widow they interviewed did a great job - she provided lots of valuable insight that I agreed with and said what we all think: It doesn't matter how long it's been. We move forward with our late spouses not from them.
I loved how she said that when she remarried a year and a half after her husband passed, it felt like her entire social circle breathed a sigh of relief like, "Thank God that's over" - as if by remarrying that meant she was done with being a widow. I get what she's saying because I often feel like people would feel the same relief if I remarried as well.
But I haven't. And that's what I want to talk about.
It seems like every interview and most books and articles about widows end with them being in a new relationship - like that's the only way someone who has experienced loss will get their happy ending.
I feel like that implies that the rest of us are just dangling out there doing nothing and that we will never be able to wrap our lives up in a tidy little package like everyone else. "Chapter 2" implies a new relationship. So, that must mean a large percentage of us will never get past Chapter 1.
I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT.
This month marks my 12th year as a widow. I have had two "serious" relationships during that time. When the second one ended, I decided there was more to my life than just looking for a relationship. It was hard figuring out how to be on my own, but let's face it - being in a relationship is hard. Being happy on your own requires a lot of adjustments, creativity, and effort but it's been my experience that it's worth it - if that's what you choose.
I am in no way judging anyone who moves into a new relationship after losing a spouse or partner, no matter the timing or the circumstances. I'm just so tired of our community only being represented by people who are remarried. Just because I haven't moved forward with someone doesn't mean I haven't moved forward. It doesn't mean I don't have a full life with meaningful relationships, doing things I love to do.
Companionship is wonderful and who knows? Maybe I'll look for it at some point. But my ability to lead a happy life has nothing to do with who occupies the passenger side of my bed.
Incidentally - that's my dog Max right now.