Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How Long Is Long Enough?

How soon is too soon, when I'm so lonely...?

How long before people can watch me, looking for that elusive 'someone else' and be OK with that...?

I'm young, I'm not even thirty yet. I'm not particularly hideous... my husband always told me I was beautiful.

So, how long? Six months? Twelve months? Twelve months might feel 'proper'... but even is that long enough, when I'm still half in love with a dead man?

And if I did... would that even be fair? How difficult would it be on that someone else? Could I find someone who wouldn't mind when I mentioned his name, who would hold me while I sob?

I remember having a conversation once with Tony... if you were to die, he asked me, would you want me to move on and find someone else?

 Yes, I say, without putting much thought into it, acting on instinct at the thought of someone I loved so dearly hurting like that. Yes, please, as soon as possible, find someone else. Life is not meant to be lived alone.

I ask him the same question, reciprocated, and the answer is hesitant. Yes, I suppose. But not too soon. A few years, at least, to get over me, or I'd be devastated.

That conversation, a memory against the clutter of our garage, the smell of cigarette smoke... it sticks in my head some days like a splinter under skin. I knew, as I heard it, that if the worse did happen- never dreaming then that it would- then my husband's wishes may not be followed.

Because I get over a broken heart by moving forward, I suppose.... I've never been one to dwell.


I realise how far I've come when I see I actually have control over some things now.

I can choose not to drown in warm salty flashbacks of my happy Purple Life anymore. I feel them coming on, and I can shut them down.

Most of the time. Occasionally, it's not that simple; and it's generally a visual or olfactory sensation that sets it off. Photos- not the ones I see every day, the ones on our walls, but the forgotten moments in time that are frozen on my hard drive; a happy, painful proof of life. Or it's a smell... Hugo aftershave, engine oil, baby shampoo in a warm, late afternoon bathroom.

These things take me back in a wave of emotion... blissed happiness at the memory, a stinging bite of pain at the truth... and then the disbelief. Always the disbelief.

How did this happen to my life?

And sometimes, these days, the answer is calm and simple.

It doesn't matter. We're surviving it anyway.

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Catherine Dabels said...

You need to go with your gut. If you're ready then you're ready. But how will you know you're ready? All you can do is try. Move forward and see how it feels. You'll know if it's too much too soon. There is no set time to mourn a loss like this. You are the one still on this earth so you are the one who needs to keep living.

Being Me said...

I think I'd plan not to plan. I know you have to ask the question, by doing so you are trying to establish a benchmark.... but because grief is so personal and unique and death is so personal and unique, the etiquette rule books for stuff like this - living, continuing stuff - goes out the window IMO.

As your first commenter has said, go with your gut, all you can do is try. xx

Anne said...

The trick is to not ask for permission. No one, not even Tony--perhaps especially not him--gets to tell you what to do with your heart. It's yours. Try not to break it too often.

Camila Belle said...

Lori Dear

Sorry that you are hurting. I feel some of your pain. You need to take your sweet time finding that special someone no matter how long or how little and when you do he will need to understand that you will always have a place in your heart for Tony.

K said...

No one has the right to tell you how soon is too soon (ok maybe the next day might be a bit too soon!) but you know yourself the best. If you think that you are ready then great, if you think it's too soon then it's too soon. Regardless of what other people think or say. They have no idea how they would possibly feel unless they were put into your shoes. They are not, and I'm sure there are many people in your same situation who are ready. I don't comment much at all but I do read whenever you post, I think you have done a great job at working through things, talking things out etc. No one will ever be perfect, we all carry baggage from our past, it's knowing what happened in the past and learning from it is what makes us better.

Go for it

Jane said...

There are no rules. When the time is right, the time is right. xxx

edenland said...

You are so beautiful, inside and out.

You just Keep on Truckin' Lori Lou.


Just Jennifer said...

Just getting caught up with your posts again.

I cannot answer your questions. I cannot judge how this feels for you. I doubt I would be pursuing dating before a year was up, but that doesn't mean you can't.

I'm more interested in the last thing you said: "It doesn't matter. We're surviving it anyway."

I am always one to ask WHY? I want to know, to understand! But I'm learning that you just can't sometimes and you gotta move on anyway.

I really love your authenticity, Lori.

Shelley said...

Its such a personal decision that only you can make. Do what feels right not what you "should" do. The right person will understand and respect your past.

Kristie said...

I guess you just have to be open to what the universe throws at you. You might find someone perfect to just love you and hold you because you are you - who comes with a heart that loves her family, her kids, her husband who has died, but still has room for love.

Hearts don't run out of room for love. They just grow bigger. You are not out to replace Tony at all... you are just wanting to nurture you..

Toushka Lee said...

When my boyfriend died when I was a teenager, I moved on pretty quickly and my dad said mean things about me to my mum. She probably shouldn't have told me, but she did. I know he didn't understand what I was going through. When my friend lost his partner and moved on pretty quickly I was shocked. But remembering dad's cruel words, I smiled and congratulated him on his new relationship. they have now been together 6 years.
Only you can decide when is long enough. It will never be long enough for some people, but they don't have to go through that same loneliness.
When you find someone that can hold you while you cry and is ok with you talking about Tony, then you know you've found someone good enough.
Tony sent you a house with a train view - maybe he'll send you a man too.

Sarah said...

I say like a lot of the others, let it be & it will happen when it's time. You can't choose that time & I don't think it's fair to hold out for what was a hypothetical question when someone can come along now that is a perfect match but you "can't" do anything about it because of this abitrary answer.

I have no idea if that makes sense, but I'm hoping you can decipher it ;)

Anne said...

Years ago a mum I knew lost her husband to a brain tumour. After 6 months she began seeing a new guy (he was newly divorced). They each had two young children. People said it was too soon when they married 6 months later. It is now probably 12 years later and they are still happy together. So do whatever feels right!
Best wishes

Kylie Ofiu said...

Lori, I cannot imagine the pay you are feeling and how hard this must be for you.
My mum died of cancer when I was a teen and she had discussed this with my dad. If she could, she would have had someone there instantly to help him grieve, take care of him and ease the pain, as well as help with us 5 kids. They were young, she 37, dad 38 when she died, so obviously he could not live the rest of his life alone.

She passed in the July and Dad met my now step mum (I call her mum) in the November of 2000. They married in June 2001.

I am happy for my dad. Many people thought he moved on too quickly, that he should have waited and said all sorts of horrible things about him and my step mum. It was hard for them, but they felt it was right and that is all that matters.

Some people need to move on to get over someone. I don't think you will ever truly get over someone when the marriage wasn't a break up, but a death and it takes a strong new partner to accept that, but they are out there and you deserve to find happiness and someone to share your life with again.

Don't worry if people judge you. None of us are. We love you and just want the best for you. I hope you find it soon. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Like others I don't think that this is something you can plan, I personally believe that we are part of a larger plan that we don't have too much say in. Call it destiny if you like. But I wouldn't worry my head over what other people think, they have their own destiny to worry about and should butt out of yours. You will probably find someone when you least expect it.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Only YOU will know when its time to move on.

Jen said...

There is always going to have an opinion on other peoples lives whether that be in the negative or positive but their opinions say more about them than the person they are talking about. You are a beautiful person Lori who had true, wonderful love which was ripped unexpectedly and cruelly from you. It is understandable that you would be wanting to look for that same type of love again. I cannot imagine the heartache and loss you must feel not only for Tony but your relationship and who you were in it. I didn't know Tony but I think he would be proud of you and how you are surviving and doing the best for your kids and would want you to be happy, whatever form that comes in?. :).

Toni said...

How long is a piece of string? This is one of those questions that doesn't have one right answer.
I do know this -- that even while you're so lonely and really need someone around, until you can honestly put Tony in the past and allow Someone New into your future, you aren't being fair to the New Guy or to yourself.
The New Guy shouldn't have to compete with a dead man.
So when he doesn't have to, that's when the time is right.

Melissa said...

Everyone is going to have an opinion, but no one's opinion matters but yours. You have to do what's right for you.
And no it probably isn't fair that you'll always love and grieve Tony, but life isn't fair and any man that chooses to be with you will have to accept that.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Lori,
You sound so lonely. But trust me, love will find you again. You're not being denied love and you're not being judged.
You're not un-worthy and you're not invisible. In the words of the Diana Ross song "You can't hurry love."
By the way, how long did it take you and Tony to find each other?
Tell us your story.
Mrs. C

Livi said...

I think it's entirely up to you; what feels right to you. No one else has any right to judge, we deal with things as best we can.

ros said...

My husband and i have that same conversation. He tells me that he would want me to find someone else to be happy with...and then next breath that for him, I'm it, he would never want/need another relationship. I tell him that I would want him to find someone (lovely and kind) to be with, if not for his own happiness then at least so my children grow up with a mum of some sort, with that love and care of another parent.
As for me, I don't think you can plan ahead or judge a situation till you've walked in those shoes, so I don't know how long would be right and I don't even think planning for it can happen cos it kinda depends who comes along. Maybe he'll arrive within a year and be the 'next one' or maybe it'll take longer. Maybe it'll be another 'big love' or maybe it'll be a good 'companion'.
(My friend's mum's 1st husband died of cancer, leaving her with 3 young children...his best mate supported her in every way and eventually their friendship grew into love, they had 2 more daughters together, all the kids see him as 'dad'...that was the story of that particular lady...everyone has their own story and it's not fully in our control.)
I hope that for you an amazing man comes along somehow, one who will understand your story, love your kids, take away the loneliness, make you happy...and whenever that happens, sooner or later, I hope that noone dare judge you cos frankly, it's noone else's business.
I often think as I read your words and some comments that so many people in this world have so little empathy and judge far too easily situations that just aren't their business. It makes me want them to walk in your shoes for a few days and see then what they say and how they judge. THEN they might see things a little differently.
I personally still think you're amazing not to be sitting in the corner rocking and anything you do above and beyond that is commendable.
And I wish you all the best.

Kristy said...

I agree with the comments about following your gut and knowing when it's right. Although this post is tinged with sadness, it is beautifully written and gives great honor to memory.

Anonymous said...

NO matter how long it is, the first few meetings with other people who are used to seeing you with Tony, may be odd. That doesn't matter as they will get over it.

Also, I think you will always be half in love with Tony. People die, love doesn't.

Emma said...

It's the right time when you are ready. This is your life and not anyone else's. I'm sure that some part of you will always, always love Tony and the right man will completely understand that xx

jacqui said...

I see others have already taken my answer...you'll know. It will feel right because it will be the right time. Nobody can answer 'when'...not even you. Until you just know.

Chantelle {fat mum slim} said...

Just keep on keeping on, and if it feels OK, it's OK. A counsellor might have better advice, and help through the process.


Corinne – Daze of My Life said...

My grandmother lost her husband, father to her four kids and love of her life in her 20s. She later remarried a wonderful man who adored her.

She had a great life with him and loved him, but still remained 'in love' with her first husband until the day she died, 60 years later. Her eyes would always go dreamy when she spoke of him, though there was a touch of anger that he had left her.

I remember her once getting upset as she dreamt her first husband had come back to life and she said was utterly confused who to be with.

I think you'll know when the time is right, but I'm sure there will be a part of your heart that will always belong to Tony.

Annabellz said...

You will know... you deserve someone to hold you and love you. Let time take it's course and let it all roll...

Lisa said...

I am a second wife.
I remember the days when Nickname's gut-wrenching sobs were triggered by a song, or something, and all I could do was hold him.
I remember the 'looks' from his family when they first saw us together - especially the day that Nickname loaned me one of FirstWife's jumpers to wear.

We still have photos of FirstWife in our house, because they're good photos, not as a shrine. And I still wear some of FirstWife's clothes, though they're very ratty these days.

Nickname and I have been together for 21 years now.

Friends and family have their own emotional timetable, and it will always be 'too soon' for them - until you show them that it's not.
It's your call.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Before forgetting how it is to live with someone, you may want to be in a relationship. You will know and so will the man with whom you fall in love. It’s totally up to you when that may happen. I wish you a calm summer.

Oldie said...

Hi Love,

Loneliness is a State of Mind.

If you think it, if you Believe it, then that will be the experience you create.

The answer lay in the first statement.

Where is the Mind focused?

Fulfill yourself first instead of seeking a replacement beside you.

An old saying about Parenting.. "If you are not right for yourself you cannot be right for anyone else"

When we work on becoming Whole within ourselves, other whole people enter our world. Until then we find others who BELIEVE they are only half and thus missing out on fulfillment.

You are faced with a decisioin.. follow the crowd along the wide open path or forge your own path in an amazing journey.

But I am a crazy old fart and many will vehemently disagree with these simple perceptions.

Be well

Donna said...

It is for no one to judge and only for you to decide. I can see both sides of the story, as my best friend is going through this aftr losing her Mum to cancer. Her Dad began seeing a woman after 6 months and everyone was shocked as it seemed so soon for someone who was so utterly in love with his first wife. But he tells it well - he is so lovely, and he now knows more than ever life is too short. Why miss out? Why wait? Grab everything you desire with both hands. Tomorrow is promised to no one x

Andrea said...

If your posts are anything to go by, you have come such a long way. There is more laughter in your voice and the trauma seems to ease a bit.

My husband's (I keep forgetting he is - got married two months ago) aunty lost her husband of nearly 50 years earlier this year and is completely adrift,she has lost her compass, adrift as you have been - I pray for her to make the progress you have. And to re-find her life the way you are.
hugs. take care.

Shellye said...

Lori, no matter how long you wait before setting out to find someone to love, someone is always going to have a hateful comment. I think whenever you're ready is the right time, and I will support you 100%.

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