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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Adjustments

I had never lived on my own before Bruce died and I knew that it would take some time before I got used to the emptiness of my solitary life.  I have adjusted.  While it is true that I come home to the cat's meows and Bebe's barking-it is far quieter a place since Bruce has been gone.  There were many changes post loss. For example-the idea that there was no "honey do" list to be completed by another.  If I did not pick up the dog food - no one else would. 

So three years plus later, I turn the handle and walk into the house and am not struck by the absence of my spouse. I am used to the quiet and the control that I have over my space.  And the question emerges-will it always be this way and will I be able to adjust back to the presence of another.  It takes work to adjust.  My entree into the dating world has taught me that.  It is exhausting to figure out the code and to decipher the signals.  How much do I want to put in the effort and what is the return?

I am tentative.  I enjoy the intimacy, and the affection.  I enjoy the company and the idea that there is someone out there who has at least a preliminary investment in my companionship.  But this is hard work.  There are emotional ups and downs and I am totally distracted by my feelings and thoughts.  I have a hard time thinking where all this will lead and I am trying hard not to go there-to just take what comes and enjoy what I can.

More later.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Filling the Void

Coping with my loss has been like filling a huge hole in my front yard.  I have images as I write this of the burial site-a coffin sized pit that needs to be filled.  Such is the void that opens us before us.  Some of the women that I have met fill the hole with projects and activities.  Some venture on trips, or join new groups.  I am not sure what I did to cope with the emptiness for the past 3 years.  Perhaps, there were times that I refused to be proactive, instead hell bent on confronting the loss head on as if the sooner that I immersed myself in ti-the sooner that I would be "over it".

It does not work that way.  My newest attempt to fill the void is about dating.  It may be that being exposed to a new male in my life is just another attempt to "fill the void"?  Can someone step in and become that significant other?  This too is an adjustment and like many of the things that confront me after the loss-it is so much more complicated than it seems at first glance.  So I have been "out there", dating and opening myself up to a male companion.  Emotionally - the terrain is extremely bumpy.  I am so labile-first beside myself with excitement and delight and then down in the dumps and sad.  
And also confused.  Where do my issues end and his begin?  So much baggage and none on wheels to ease the burden.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Dance

I have read lots of books about and by widows and they usually are wrenching accounts of the adjustment to life without.  In some cases, I have been enlightened after reading the book by the current status of the women formally known as widows.  Joyce Carol Oates was remarried as her book about being a widow was being reviewed.  Kate Braestrup has a blurb about being remarried on her book jacket. 

Even the "Widow's Camp" is run by women who are now married-and still they call themselves widows.  Not sure I understand how you can be a widow and also be married.  But the point of this entry is that I have not read many accounts of how you let a new man into your life.  There are so many challenges and this is yet an additional layer to the grief experience. 

We are all so colored by our past relationships.  In my extremely limited experience on the dating circuit - there are some "types".  Disclaimer here-again "limited" is true and I am also aware that most people should not be put into a "type box".

There are the widowers, who are anxious to fill the void left by the wife that was plucked from their side.  They have not quite gotten the "living alone" and "caring for oneself" piece ironed out.  The man that I met was still unsure where his wife put the can opener and she had been dead for a year.  He was so excited by the potential "next" out there that he wanted to book a 4 day trip to the Grand Canyon, a place that his wife refused to go to.  He also was ready to sell the house and move into mine!  We had been dating for two weeks.

There are the divorced men, jaded about their past wives and not quite sure why they are dating at all.  They seem a bit hostile and angry.  The terrain there is like a minefield and I was never confident that what I said next would not remind them of what their ex did and said moments before the split.  Hard to get past the anger and the hesitancy here.

There are the guys who are in their 50's and 60's and never got married.  Not sure about them-and about how time seemed to get past them and here they are still single and available.  I dated a man who still drove his mother's Camry.

And then there is my emotional state.  I crave attention and affection.  I sleep with a dog who although sometimes licks my feet is also not particularly loving.  She barks and demands.  Nothing much in the way of affection there.  Also I was under the impression that I could find someone who was ready for the adult me-all grown up and insightful about my needs and inner self. 

But I guess we are somewhat damaged by what has occurred before-and in my case, the fact that I am dating 60 year old men also means that there are physical issues that complicate the climate.  Most have high blood pressure and back issues.  Most are fighting the battle of the bulge although describe themselves as incredibly fit and athletic.  They are flawed, emotionally and physically.  Not sure it is worth the struggle but it is yet another hurdle to get over.  I will hang in there.