August 24, 2010

Dinner Conversation

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 8:54 pm by letterstoelias

E:  Mama, what’s a step-sister?

(insert a few minutes of me getting myself mixed up with half-sister)

Me:  Are you asking because of Cinderella? (which, unless unbeknownst to me, she hasn’t seen the movie but knows some of the story)

E:  Yes

(insert a few minutes of me trying to explain how Cinderella got step-sisters, and a few more minutes of me trying to explain ‘step’ relationships without much success and without mentioning a potential future situation for us, until finally . . . )

Me:  It would be like if I decided to get married again one day, and if he had kids already, they would be your step-brothers or step-sisters (she finally understood – why it took this scenario, I’m not sure . . . )

E:  Do you want to get married again?

Me:  I don’t know.  Not right now . . . .

E:  But, do you want to get married again?

Me (a little emotional):  Well, not right now – but, maybe.  One day.  In a few years.

(a few moments of silence. . . . )

Me:  What do you think about that?

E:  I want you to get married again.

Me:  Why?

E:  Because, I would like a new Daddy – I mean, a step-dad – to play with.  And, it would be easier with two parents.

C:  Me too.  I ‘ant a Daddy.

(another moment of silence)

C:  I ‘ant to take apart a puddle!  (puzzle)

E:  NO!

And off they run – into their next moment – while I’m left reeling at the table.

*****

Ok  – the rest I wrote in bits and pieces last night – trying my best to explain something so very, very difficult to explain, and something I don’t even know exactly how I feel about.  I initially planned on trying to re-write it yet again tonight, but figure I’ll just post it as is.

*****

I must admit – I’m a little surprised (and glad) that it took this long (16 months and a day) for the idea of a ‘new dad’ to be brought up.  I figured it was inevitable.  I know they miss that type of figure in their lives – just as I miss having a husband – and I know their want for that in their lives does not take away from how much they love and miss you.  If anything, it shows just how much they love you, because they miss what you brought them so.  It still stings a bit though.

I guess I have to just think of it in the way I’ve tried to think of it for myself . . . .

It was just over a month before you died, when you told me you wanted me to find someone else after you were gone. You hated the thought of me being alone.  I hated hearing it at the time, but I now see it as one of the many gifts you gave me, when you told me that I am meant to be loved.

That couldn’t have been easy for you either – but you were adamant about it, and as with everything else, absolutely sincere – it shows how much you love and care for me, that you would want me to always have love in my life.  Still, at the time my sole focus was on keeping you alive.  I was convinced I could find a way to have you with me, always.  I didn’t want to hear it.  ‘Your’ love was all I wanted.

In the months after you died, I never believed I would find another person I could love just as much as you.  And, even if I did, could I put my heart at risk again, knowing that I could just as easily lose another love?  It almost did me in to lose you – could my heart really survive that again??

In recent months I’ve seen/read accounts of new love happening for other widows who were once in my shoes – believing what I believed – and I guess I’ve opened up to the possibility.  I know that when you have your first child, you never imagine you could love anything as much – until you have your second child.  The love just grows.  I still find it so hard to believe I could find someone to love like I love you – but that’s the thing – it’s not supposed to be the same.  It can’t be.  But, that doesn’t mean it can’t be as great.

The thing about love – it’s expansive.  Finding more people to love does not take love away from those you already love (as I will never stop loving you, no matter what).  The more there is to give the more there is to take – and how can that be a bad thing??  (as I told E when C as about to be born).  As for the issue of the risk involved – It still terrifies me, but I know you were worth it the first time around.  I would take this all over again for your love, in a heartbeat.

I know how good love can be.  Trying to find that again would actually be a tribute to you and how good we had it – which is why I think you told me you wanted that for me, and why I haven’t completely closed myself off to the idea. I would have wanted the same for you.  And, I can see why the girls would want to find that again too.  I know (too well) that life is short, and if something good comes along you need to grab hold of it and love it while you can.  A huge part of me thinks that what we had was so rare – how could it be possible to strike gold twice . . . . but it has been known to happen.

As for actually finding someone – well, that’s another story I guess.  With all my heart – you are still the only one I want (I crave) – but my heart also knows that won’t happen.  If/when the time comes, I don’t know how I would let go of the guilt – regardless of what you told me.  I don’t know how I would handle other people’s perceptions/opinions (as Dan wrote so eloquently about recently).  I’m sure your parents would be ok with it – they’ve enthusiastically told me (on more than one occasion) about a friend of theirs who started dating only 6 months after his wife died, and how it was the best thing that ever happened to him (he’s now been happily married to that woman for years).

As busy as I am, I am terribly lonely.  I miss being loved.  I miss giving love.  But, right now I don’t know how to be sure I am ready emotionally (I guess it’s hard to know until you try . . .?)  I don’t feel like putting the time or energy into trying to find someone (one widow I met at the conference actually made spreadsheet to keep track of the guys she was dating on-line.  WAY too much work for me!).  I don’t know at this point who would find my current situation all that appealing anyhow – it would have to be someone awfully confident to not feel threatened by the fact that I will always love you as well.  The thought of dating with children involved seems beyond tough (though, at least now I know the girls seem to be ‘on board’ for it . . . .).  The thought of dating as-is terrifies me.  You were – what – the third guy I ever dated???  I haven’t been on a date with anyone other than you in over 14yrs.  I’m just a ‘little’ out of practice.  As others often write it so well, Jackie recently summed up perfectly how wonderful it would be to just skip through the dating thing all together and go right to ‘comfy’.  I’d be totally up for that.  For someone perfect to fall out of the sky – then we jump ahead 5yrs.

Perhaps I’m thinking too much since it’s not like I’ve set up a match.com profile or anything – but the girls’ comments caught me a bit off-guard and got my mind going.  It is such a strange thing for me to think about another man interacting with them in that way.  No one will ever be their ‘Daddy’ as you were.  I appreciated, though, that E seemed to recognize that herself when she changed from saying ‘new daddy’ to ‘step-dad’.  I know that, regardless of what they miss and of their interest in someone ‘new’, in order for anything to work it needs to be on my terms and in my timeline.  I am lonely, but I also feel (mostly) content to wait.  I just wish you could find a way to provide me with a little more detail on who/where/when . . .

A big part of me hates even talking about at all (even knowing it’s what you wanted for me).  I hate that I have to consider any of this.  It should just be me, and you forever – but, it’s not.  So.  Here I am.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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15 Comments »

  1. Dan Cano said,

    You know Chelsea, even though it was so difficult in our case, knowing they were going to die, it did come with many blessings. We were able to have those very important conversations, and to help them leave knowing how much we loved them, and knowing what they wanted for us. I guess it comes down to giving each other peace of mind. Dating, or accidently bumping into love, will come in time. As I may have shared before, I met so many young widows and widowers in a past support group who started dating very early. They all seemed to have benefitted from it. Like you, I have chosen to wait. Are we old fashioned? Anyway, it is also something that is beginning to move around in my head. I’m not ready to date, but I am ready to begin meeting new people. I know that there is always the possibilitiy that one of these new people could spark a relationship. If it is going to happen, then that is what I would prefer.

    Lots of love. Dan

    • letterstoelias said,

      Yes – ‘accidentally bumping into love’ – sounds just about right. I thought about including asking Elias for a little help with that in my post, but figured people may think me a little strange for it . . . =)

      Loved your post tonight too – the last line in particular about the 2 bedroom models cracked me up. It’s not an easy road, it would be nice if at least something like finding a spark would at least come with ease. I don’t know when for me either – a part of my brain feels ready, but the other part feels like I’ll probably run the other way if anything came up.

      Thanks for understanding,
      ~C~

  2. mamabearsarah said,

    ahhhhhhh, this was a great, great post. you hit the nail on the head Chels.

    i’m proud of you.

    love you!
    Sarah

    • letterstoelias said,

      Love you too mama!
      ~C~

  3. megan said,

    I have been thinking this lately, too. It is still just viscerally revolting to me to think of being with someone who is Not the man I love. However, I also realize that I am most definitely not in charge, though I do have free will and choice. I so much miss being loved, being a family. At this point though, not only am I absolutely uninterested and not ready, but I know I would only be looking for matt, and – what exactly would someone attracted to me be attracted To? Attracted to grief, wanting to save me or rescue me? – mmmm. No thank you. If there ever is anyone in addition to matt, it will be when I am whole-in-myself again, and that means it will be awhile.

    • letterstoelias said,

      Hi Megan,
      You make an excellent point about being ‘whole in yourself’ before you will be ready to date.
      It’s going to be difficult to not be drawing comparisons of the ‘new person’ to the one who died, that’s for sure. I have no idea how I’d manage to navigate that. It’s all just difficult when the heart wants what it can’t have, isn’t it?

      Thanks for the input,
      ~C~

  4. Debbie said,

    Great post, Chelsea. You’ve done a great job of summarizing a complicated issue. I still find myself doing a double take when I hear about dating, or birth control or second marriages and I realize that all of those things could apply to me. I never thought I’d ever be in the situation where I’d ever have to think of those things again. Ugh!

    • letterstoelias said,

      Yup – hard to picture a ‘second marriage’ when you still want the first. Ugh is right – no more mentions of birth control! Good Lord!
      Love ya,
      ~C~

  5. bridie said,

    Didn’t he say something more like: “I want you to find love, but any potential suitors must be vetted by your very unnecessarily over-protective older sister?”

    In all seriousness, these are huge questions and so complex. Elias and I chatted about this, too. I’m glad you have friends who have gone through this and loved again and can give you a sense of the kinds of challenges that arise in what is really quite a unique situation.

    One of my closest friends (married to another one of my closest friends) found love a second time after being widowed at a young age. It’s not been an easy road (as you know) but they feel SO lucky to have found each other…

    • letterstoelias said,

      You could be right Bri – and I’m sure there would have also been something about unnecessarily over-protective brother-in-laws too. I know one for sure and possibly both will likely have veto power as well.

      It is a unique situation, and not an easy one. As you say, regardless of the challenges – it can be worth it once again.
      Much love,
      ~C~

      • Dianne said,

        Chelsea ~ I shared these words from you with my daughter’s “best friend”.

        “I know (too well) that life is short, and if something good comes along you need to grab hold of it and love it while you can.”

        This is what came out of that conversation: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/101704583.html?tab=video

        Take care Chelsea!

  6. letterstoelias said,

    Dianne – that is absolutely wonderful news! It’s so great to see Lindsay so happy! She really seems like an amazing person . . .

    When did all this happen?? Congrats to everyone from my end. ❤

    ~C~

    • Dianne said,

      The news story was from yesterday! They’ve been going to the same church for about a year, started hanging out in June and began officially dating a week ago! Following in her mom and dad’s footsteps…we knew each other 2 weeks before we got engaged :0)

      • letterstoelias said,

        That couldn’t have all happened just because of my words. . . but I’m thrilled if they had any part of it!

        Do you mind if I put the link on one of my next blog posts?? Lindsay’s attitude reminds me so much of Elias’, and it’s something that I think more people should see. And, by the way – my Grandparents were about the same (he saw her from across the street and said he would marry her . . . and it wasn’t much later than that!), and they have been married somewhere around 60yrs!

        ~C~

  7. Dianne said,

    Josh had talked about waiting a couple of years before getting married. I shared with him my thoughts including your words from experience. I asked him if he wanted to spend however many years doing the things they’d dreamed of doing with the one they loved or continue “planning for the future!” It must have really hit home because it was spur of the moment yesterday while they were filming :0) Just like your Grandparents…when you know, you know!

    We don’t mind at all if you post the link on your blog…Thanks!


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