Disclaimer: I have never really liked the term "widower"... to me it sounds like they are the makers of widows. I don't like it. Despite my distaste for this word, I will use it for lack of other option.
I befriended a widower. Well, he befriended me.
It came right after I declared to the Universe (and social media) that I am open to relationship. Then with a little red notification I had a message from him. A man I had never met before. Connected through our losses. We wrote back and forth.
It felt like flirting.
I think it was.
It was weird because I had not flirted with anyone since Jhonny.
But it felt good. It felt good to get that little flush feeling and to snoop around his pictures.
He has a nice smile.
He is cute.
He seems friendly.
We set plans to meet for dinner. I was excited and then suddenly I wasn't.
I was terrified.
I was sad.
I didn't know which restaurant to go to because they all reminded me of Jhonny. Some I haven't been to since he passed. Some I have been purposely avoiding. But any one of them would be perfect for dinner with a new friend.
So I picked the one that felt the least charged.
Then our plans fell through and I was relieved.
I didn't anticipate these dinner plans to bring up so much pain about Jhonny.
"Maybe I'm not ready," I thought.
We continued to communicate.
Still friendly but I began to notice that I was not the only resistant one.
He admittedly had his own hang ups.
Two people who never expected to be in the situation in which they currently find themselves.
Two people who had long ago expected that at this time in their lives they would be in their marriages working through marital life.
Instead now they are making new connections based on unfortunate commonalities.
So where is this resistance coming from? I have made many new friends since Jhonny passed. Why is this one different? Is it because this is the first one that felt kinda like a date? And what about his resistance? Was his coming from the same place? I really don't know about him. And why did I jump to potential partner mode? Why didn't this feel the same as all my other new friends from the last year?
As I ask these questions I am reminded how a few months ago I was thinking that my next partner would either have to be a friend of Jhonny's or a man who has lost his partner. I imagined that either one of these qualities would be the only way this man would understand me. This would be the only way he can be there for me in the way I need. I'm not saying this is true, it's just a thought I have had.
Then suddenly I find myself talking to a man who lost his wife. So why am I questioning why this felt like a response from the Universe? Of course it felt like a response from the Universe! The timing was impeccable.
"But wait a second!" I cried, "not so fast!" That was when I panicked and our dinner plans fell through.
As I said, we had continued communicating and it became more and more evident that I was not the only resistant participant. So what did I do? I tried to overcome both of our resistances by becoming overly eager. I wanted to talk to NOW. Well, go figure that didn't work. Not only did we not talk, but for someone who believes in radical honesty, something about my behavior didn't feel all that authentic. It didn't set right. So I stepped back to reflect.
Then one night as I lie in bed I realized my resistance was never to him.
My resistance was to what he represented to me: Moving forward.
In moving forward I would have to face where I had been, what I have lost, and why I am moving forward. And while something in me wants so badly to move forward, that doesn't mean it is easy.
And then there is my eagerness which was also not really about him. Instead it was a distraction- a distraction from the resistance that I was trying to overcome. Because as I distracted myself from my resistance by eagerly trying to overcome it I quite effectively distracted myself from what I was resisting. And neither resistance or distraction make anything go away. The pain of a new layer of grief would inevitably have to be felt in order to move forward.
To move forward I would have to continuously wade through feelings of grief. I couldn't just put it behind me. This reminds me of a quote from the article "Everything Doesn't Happen for a Reason" that circulated last year after Jhonny died. It says that "some things in life are not meant to be fixed. They can only be carried."
And that is what I think I am learning all over again, on a new level. This loss, this grief, and everything that comes with it is not something I just get to set down. Instead it's something that I learn to live with. It's something that nobody can ever possibly explain to me. Its something I have to experience for myself. Something that will weave itself through each part of my life whether I want it to or not. So maybe what I am learning is to just
let it weave.
Let it weave with all the other parts of my being and allow myself the opportunity to stand back and be astonished by the life it helps to create for me.