First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement. This whole 'dating' thing - while a step in a good direction - has been very nerve-wrecking and emotional for me and I've been anxious about sharing it. Because of the way news travels on the internet these days, I wanted to make sure word got out from me, in my words, before it came out from someone else. And that came at the sacrifice of getting the chance to really share it, in depth, with everyone I wanted to. But the response has been very positive and I'm so thankful that people understand my heart and support this new step in my life. Thank you.
This is the first thing I've done since Jeremy died that is solely for me. It was hard to officially step out into a new world outside of widowhood, it's been my identity for so long. And while it's for me, I oddly feel Jeremy's blessing of approval on it, as if he had some say in the decision. Maybe he did. I'm okay with that.
This is all new territory for me. I have no idea how to navigate this, and I never in my life imagined I'd be standing in this place. Luckily, dating for me at the point is not like it was when I was younger. I've seen the best and worst in life, I've got a family to protect. Steve and I, in all the crap we've experienced, have at least one luxury: cutting through a lot of trivial stuff and getting to important matters. We both know what we need and want for us and our families. We both know what works and what doesn't. We've been able to share a lot of deep and meaningful pieces of our lives early on because that's just where we're at in life. This 'widow dating for the 21st century' as I've jokingly referred to it as, is quite bizarre. It's oddly strange and healing at the same time, while opening more wounds that I have to nurse in between. Like everything else in my life the last 15 months, it's been a roller coaster. A good one, but emotional nonetheless.
What I've discovered since Jeremy died is that I believed a lot of myths about death and love that I didn't even realize. I believed I'd never survive living without my husband, without my best friend, without my lifeline. Yet, here I am. Still breathing.
I believed that finding happiness was somehow disrespectful to my grieving and to Jer's memory. Even though in theory it's easy to say that Jeremy would want me to be happy, it's hard to really feel that way. It's like that old bit where an angel is on one shoulder, while the devil is on the other: the angel is telling me that joy is from God and is okay because you loved, while the devil whispers doubt and guilt in my ear, telling me that if people see me happy, they'll forget my loss, they'll forget my love. And yet, through relentless nudging from Jer's presence and prayer, and the patience of those around me, I'm discovering the real truth in understanding joy more because I've experienced deep loss. It's a work in progress.
The next has been the hardest for me to de-myth. I used to think I could never give my heart away to someone else, because it would compromise what I shared with Jeremy. I thought widows who never remarried were ones that loved the deepest and could just never love someone like that again. This is a myth that could only be broken by experience for me. What God has revealed to me is that what Jeremy gave me was a gift. He taught me how to love. I promised myself long before I met Steve that if the opportunity ever came for me to have a second chance, and I wanted it, that I would give all the love I can no longer give to Jeremy. I owe that to my children and to Jer because otherwise it'd be a waste of what he's shown me to be true in life: Love fiercely, there's no other way to do it. I can love deeply because I have been loved deeply. It's still a struggle to really accept this as truth, but I have no other way of explaining it outside of God shaping me and opening my heart to see that there is room for more. It was His timing, not mine. It's His healing, not mine. It is His plan, not mine.
So, I'm trying to make the best of the time I have left here. Using the lessons of life and loss and love that I've learned in life to bring healing in some way, to someone. And the image of Jeremy waiting for me with open arms and eyes filled with pride for using what he gave me for good is one that keeps me going every day.
I'm making my way to you, baby. Little by little, I'm picking up those pieces of truth that you have been leaving for me. My goal has been and always will be to make you proud. To honor your life. To pay forward the love that you have shown me in my relationships. It's not an easy path to take, and so many parts of me still want to run and hide and rock back and forth in my misery. It's hard to look forward when you ache for the past. But because you have loved me, I have no other choice. Because you gave me such beautiful children, I have no other choice. And because I am making my way to you, no matter what, I have no other choice.
Facing all this has been overwhelming and has made me miss you so intensely. I wish I could see your face and hear your voice, just to tell me that everything will be ok.
I love you always and forever.