I lost my partner in a tragic accident two weeks ago. Though not legally wed, we had exchanged rings, had even started calling each other "husband'. We had not yet combined households, but discussed with excitement the prospect of owning a home together. He was 45, and I am 49. Our paths had criss-crossed our whole lives before finally meeting and falling in love. I had recognized him from the gym at the intermission of WICKED in 2011 and went up to introduce myself. Unbeknownst to me, he had already noticed me in the gym, and when asked if he knew me, had stated to his workout partner, "No, but I am gonna." We had just seen WICKED together this time, holding hands the entire performance only 3 weeks before he died.
We were both in agreement that it was the greatest love we had ever known. Even the littlest thing, like holding hands during a movie was an intense sharing of intimacy.
I had spent the majority of my life alone, and was quite happy to be that way. Now the prospect of spending all the days of my life without his presence is a pain few seem to understand.
I know people mean well, but I find myself feeling anger when people try to tell me that I will experience love again.
Wow, Tom - so sorry, and what a sad story. Steve is right - loss is loss, doesn't matter if it was 2 days or 30 years. Until you go through this process, nobody can prepare you for what it's like and the long often blunt journey it is. None of us are OK after this happens - or rather, I think the notion of "OK" is changed forever.
It's taken me about a year and a half to get to the point where I feel complete again; sure, there's a loss, an emptiness, but there's also a realization that while part of us might be broken or changed on the face of it, we realize that our lives go on. I"m dating again and I'm fine with it, but as times goes on I realize I'm not in the market for another husband - just not ready, it's not about how anybody else measures up. In fact you find that different people appeal to different aspects of your personality. I think two of these folks have fallen in love with me which is sad (for them) as I'm just not there, mentally. Which - so I'm told, though I don't believe it - is when you can fall in love again
At this point in your journey, you need to worry about yourself, focus on yourself, and let the process unfold. You'll never not have his presence; he now lives in you. This is something nobody outside of this group understands (I'm sure it would freak the heck out of a potential date) - but the heart is infinitely elastic if you let it be.
Use this site, as well. It was a godsend for me in the beginning, and I still feel the pain of every new person who joins yet I believe that because they have reached out, they too will get through it and find their center, what matters, and figure out how to get back into life.
One thing I learned is that when people ask "how are you", all they want to hear you say is: I'm fine, thanks for asking.
It's not about making others feel comfortable it's about you. I think what helped me accept and start moving on was that I never held anything in. I cried in public, I made people uncomfortable and could be a jerk--but not holding anything in was the best thing I could have ever done.
I almost feel guilty for getting so much comfort at the expense of others pain. Richard, I love that you used the word "elastic", because Jason's favorite musical was Mary Poppins, and one of the songs about dreams states that they are made of "strong elastic".
And Steve, I know exactly what you mean about people asking if I'm OK.......
Mark, I know exactly what you feel when people say we will love again. I was not with Jason because I didn't want to be alone. I was at a place where I didn't need another person to make me happy when we met. That made the love that Jason and I shared such a special one. And without even realizing, they ignore that "specialness", if that makes sense.
I am deeply sorry for each of your losses, and grateful that you chose to share your pain with me.
That's what this group is for. And even if members find it painful, or perhaps feel they are reliving their pain simply by revisiting their experiences - it helps A LOT to be able to talk about it. We all try to hold this in, mostly because nobody around us understands what we're going through. This group is different - it's OK to vent, share, despair, rail, and grieve. We have all been through this process at various stages. It's one thing for folks to say "you'll be OK, it'll get better" and quite another to be able to interface with people who are going through it, and have gone through it - and are empathetic to what you are experiencing and will experience. It's OK to ask "why me?" and sadly there's no answer, except no one is here because they want to be.
When this first happened to me, I found a site - actually a running blog - written by the husband of a man who lost a lengthy battle with cancer. The blog detailed what the husband went through during and afterwards. Ultimately he moved, he fell in love again, he remarried, and he ended his blog. I was a bit aghast - all that angst and grief, all the blackness of "what do I do now?" and then two years later he was in a new city and a new life?? It seemed so rapid, almost cavalier, but I do now understand this journey is a finite one. Eventually the pain goes away, the memories become more lustrous, less vivid, new experiences begin to fill the void, and we heal. That probably doesn't help a lot right now, but in a few months when you re-read some of these posts (which won't be nearly that painful, it will surprise you) you will see how you, too, are healing and moving on.
I was what you might call a late bloomer. I was closeted until I was 30, one of those self haters that gradually opened up. I held out telling my family, though. It wasn't until I met Jason that I finally finished the coming out process. It was Jason that made me WANT to be out to my family.
Still I find that I am not comfortable telling anyone how deeply I miss the physical intimacy. As a expression of love sex turns into something spiritual. I miss the feeling of his arms around me, the smell of his hair when my arms were around him, the feel of his touch as his hand wrapped around mine while we were watching a movie...the gentle kisses on top of my head, the feeling of his foot rubbing up against mine as I lay falling asleep. The permanence of this absence feels overwhelming at times, and this is the closest I've come to saying these things out loud.
I was in the closet until 40! When I did tell people, folks were generally supportive, but at that point I didn't care anyway.
You will miss the physical connection - and it will be a while before that fades - it's almost like he's still there on the couch sometimes, except he's becoming more and more transparent. I did find that it helped making some subtle changes - rearranging things, changing some décor, etc., so my environment was more reflective of me than us. You have to get past the feeling of guilt - "this was important to him.." there's no more him. Now it is about what's important to you - hard question, because you can't say "it's important to me because it was important to him." It might be something that outside of him, you wouldn't have done, or liked, or whatever. This is all about coming back around to you.
It's been 18 months since my spouse passed; I still remember his eyes, the feel of his skin, even his smell. I no longer smell his cologne and think of him - it took a while, though. There is a certain loneliness to widowhood, but I think it's part of the natural detachment we all go through. The odd part is that when you do start dating people again, and you can open yourself up (that's also a gradual process) you do find that while some of the reasons you fell in love with Jason apply to others, but you also find things in other people that Jason didn't fulfill.
And nobody else you will meet, or date, or even just become friends with, will ever know Jason. I know it sounds trivial but it's like getting a new pet when a cherished one dies; that new pet has its own needs and doesn't know or care a whit about your former pet. I think that's also one of the harsh parts, that moving on is also forgetting and even abandoning what was so cherished.
Gosh, that sounds awful, doesn't it? It's not meant to be - but at a point in the future as you move down the path of the rest of your life, you do make a decision for life or for death - just that you're reaching out and trying to deal with the pain now means you're choosing the life decision. It ultimately means Jason becomes something (not someone, remember he is only a memory) which is cherished and treasured but not a part of your life - rather, a part of what made you, you. If you've lost a parent, the experience is very similar. But it seriously does get better, especially if you let it.
Wise words, Rich, but I must admit that I'm not ready for them yet. At this point I feel like I'm suffocating, and that someone else understands is like getting a gulp of oxygen after pulling a plastic bag off my head, and I'm desperately gasping to catch my breath......
Tom, it's day by, frankly. Steve is right - if a friend asks "are you OK?" and you're not, tell them so. I'm pretty sure I stretched a few of my friends to the limit but it helped. And I hope you have a pet (we had cats - or I should say, now I have cats) - they are a lot of comfort during this time. And they were perfectly OK with curling up in my lap as I sniffled trying to watch TV that I couldn't have cared less about. And don't give up - it really does get better.