All photos my own, taken this week in the French Pyrenees
I could write tons of letters of encouragement to my Widbuds, or indeed Grieflings of any fragrance or flavour. Whether it’s about putting one foot in front of the other; trusting that one heartbeat or breath will follow another; finding the wherewithal to write and deliver one eulogy then another; learn and say words to say to friends who say clunky things like, “Things happen for a reason”, or “I am sure he is in a better place”, or “You and s/he must have signed up for this in the spirit world before being born”, or “You must have learned so much about compassion by now”, or “I don’t know how you do it – you must be so strong!”, or “Think of how you can integrate this into your professional life”, or “bla-di-bla-di-di-bla-dah”. I’ve written a lot about that run of the mill stuff already.
No. This letter of encouragement is specifically for Widbuds who had amazing partners, who know love, who know what it feels like and means to be wholly seen and supported and loved for weeks-months-years (I know Widbuds who lost partners barely after meeting the amazing person… the loss, I have no doubt, is just as immense as those losing a spouse after 60+ years of marriage).
This letter of encouragement is for those who feel, “S/he and I had the real deal. I am scared that that was it – that I won’t get the real deal again”.
This letter of encouragement is for my Widbuds who WANT to love and be loved again. Who believe that they are worthy of love, capable of loving and deserving of being loved. For my Widbuds who, yes, had something extraordinary, but have a sense that maybe, just maybe, there is someone out there who is not just residue at the bottom of the barrel of quality people, but somehow a gem of a person who is ripe for the picking. As close to perfect as we want someone to be. For you. Right for you. As right as you were with your Number One.
This is for my Widbuds who barely dare that there might be a Number Two out there for them. Not a Second Best – not ever a second best – but a Number Two. Someone your number one would gently nod their heads to in acknowledgement, respect, love and gratitude, and say, “Yes – good choice – I am glad, so glad for you. Truly. We did good. We had it good. And now the two of you can have it good too”.
I have found a beautiful Number Two. He is my Medjool. The one and only date I went on when I found the courage and time for the shark-infested waters of online dating. For me it was plain-sailing. For him less so, but he came around to the unshakeable belief that I was a good choice.
I know I have been lucky. Truly fortunate. I know that Medjool and I are am amazing fit. That we will make it work for as long as we both have on this planet. I have no doubt, just as I did not have a doubt with Mike. I know what gold/diamonds/love looks and feels like. And most of all, I know that I deserve this love, if only because I know how to love and I am worthy of love. I learned how to love with Mike, through loving him and being loved by him. And it stands to reason that of course I can love and be loved by someone else.
Who knows how long we have. Who knows if one of us might be struck off a bicycle or fall down a mountainside or be in a car accident or be a victim of random violence or have a sudden and inexplicable heart attack or be making love and have a stroke. Tomorrow. Or even today. These things happen. To people of any age and level of fitness. I know people who have had each of these experiences. And some. In their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and of course, in their 60s, 70s and 80s and older.
I hesitate to give advice but I can write or respond to questions about what happened for me. I do know that even when Mike first died, I knew that in time I would look for and create a new relationship. I was 50 and 12 days old when Mike died, and again – without any expectations of “time left”, whether just a few years or a few decades, I knew I wanted a new relationship. Not to replace Mike. Not to take his place. But just to channel my love. The love is there.
I believe in love. I love love. I love intimacy. I love exchanging bodily fluids. I love learning new skills. I love being challenged on my opinions. I love sharing my life. I love exploring new ideas.
And I love being loved. Being admired. Being a primary reason for someone else’s happiness and well-being. Being an instigator for new adventures in another person’s life.
I was not scared to meet someone new. I was not scared to kiss someone new. I was not scared to get undressed or scared to have sex with someone new. I was barely even scared to fart in front of someone new. (Seriously – that is probably the scariest thing, but the fear wears off).
I said I wouldn’t give advice, but I realise I have some, and it comes down to two things:
1 – Believe that you are absolutely deserving of another powerful, loving relationship or partnership
2 – Educate the hell out of the prospective partner early on in terms of what widowing means for you and how you will keep your Number One alive in your new relationship, and reject anyone who doesn’t seem to have the capacity to embrace him/her
AND none of this means the pain of the loss(es) go(es) away. All of this new love and joy and intimacy exists side by side of the lost love and joy and intimacy. So often the joy is so unbearably in contrast to the pain. The swings and roundabouts, the contrasts feel so extreme. How to hold the range of emotions. How to live with death and grief and love and life every moment of every day?
It can be heavy and sad and frustrating. And there is deep joy and gratitude, appreciation and excitement.
I love Medjool. And I love Mike.
I love Mike. And I love Medjool.
I miss Mike with all of my heart and every fibre of my being.
And I revel in my love for Medjool. The joy, intimacy, new passions and interests, the love, the life and experiences and opportunities. And so much more.
And I love Mike.
Long may I love and be loved by these two extraordinary men.
I truly am, and have been, blessed.
So – to my Widbuds – love is out there for you. I am sure of it. You have known love, you know what it is like to be loved, and you have love in you to give. To give to someone else. To share with someone else. To create more magic in the chapter that you still wish, and that you will always wish, hadn’t been inserted in your life.
You have it in you. Go babe. Go sweet Widbud. Be fearlessly loving. And lovingly fearless. I am cheering you with all my heart.