I ran into an old friend, Joe, who retired about two years ago. He was widowed about five years ago, and recently re-married this past summer. (This is a different "Joe" than the one I blogged about earlier from church).
I remember when Bobby was dying, Joe came and sat with me one afternoon and let me talk out my feelings. He just listened, and it was really good for me because he knew exactly what I was going through. His wife, Leslie, had also passed away of an illness, and he assured me that after Bobby passed away, that he would always be a part of my life. He told me that he still spoke to Leslie, three years later, every single day.
Since his retirement, I don't see him any more, but recently ran into him and congratulated him since I heard he had gotten remarried. The woman he married, Amanda, is a casual acquaintance whom I've met a few times through others. When I congratulated him, he told me how happy he was being remarried to Amanda and that everything was wonderful. I hugged him and told him that I was so happy for him, but remembered what he had told me two years ago, so I asked, "Do you still talk to Leslie every day?"
He smiled, "Of course I do."
This made me smile. Not because I'm running out to get married tomorrow (or anytime in the near future) but because it made me happy to know that no matter how happy he was with Amanda, he wasn't forgetting Leslie. But in my usual style, I blurted out, "Amanda doesn't mind?"
What he told me next really surprised me. "Of course not. Amanda doesn't expect me to forget Leslie, ever. I still have Leslie's pictures up in the house, along with Amanda's pictures and other family members. We remembered both Leslie and Rita at the ceremony at the church." (Rita was Amanda's sister who passed away).
I told him that I thought this whole situation was awesome. He thanked me for the well wishes, just as Amanda joined us. I gave Amanda a hug and congratulated her, too. They looked like they were still on their honeymoon.
I chose to include this story on my blog because there is so much written online about marrying widows and widowers and it is not necessarily in the best interest of the widow or widower. Much of it is all about the feelings of the second spouse, and doesn't take into consideration that the widow(er) is still more than likely in love with the late spouse. There are even books written about not marrying widow(er)s unless they completely purge the late spouse from their lives and heart.
In my humble opinion, it takes a very special person, and a very mature person, to love and marry a widow(er). This person has to realize and accept that he/she will never be the only one in the widow(er)'s heart, yet also be secure in knowing that if the widow(er) truly loves him/her, it won't take away from the relationship. If someone cannot handle it, then they need to get out of the relationship. Furthermore, if the widow(er) cannot commit to you or the relationship, it has nothing to do wth the widow(er) status...to use that old cliche, "He/she's just not that into you," and the person needs to get over it and move on.
I'm not dating. But I can tell you that if I was dating, I would not be comfortable dating anyone who wants me to purge Bobby from my heart; his memories from my every day life or his name from my lips. He has a permanent place with me forever. But since I cannot speak from experience that this works and works well, try reading any of these, where the late spouse lives on while the marriage with the current spouse is both happy and thriving.
- http://hylamolander.com/category/blog/ (you have to scroll down, as Hyla has started to blog about other things in her life besides widowhood).
- I thought this was pretty good, too, (although most of the comments afterward go against everything I believe in): http://youngwidowsandwidowersblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/simple-rules-for-dating-widowwidower.html