I love TV shows, movies, and books with widowed characters. I did not realize how many there were until I lost Boris. A few weeks ago I started watching The Unicorn. It is about a man who lost his wife to cancer. He has two daughters and close friends who are also main characters on the show. It is light-hearted and funny. It is an easy show to watch as I am winding down for bed or to watch while I fold clothes or clean. One episode struck me the other night and I have been thinking about it ever since. In the show, it is about a year after his wife died and his friends are all trying to get him to start dating. He meets a woman that he really likes and they start spending a lot of time together. She comes over one evening and they are drinking wine. When he leaves the room, she begins to play the piano in his living room. You can see the emotion on his face and he tells her that his wife used to play that piano every evening and he tells this woman a bit more about his late wife. After a few moments, he is crying. She then says, “you’re not ready for this, are you?” And he replies that he is not ready and that he is sorry. Well, by this time I am sobbing as I give up on folding clothes and sit on my bed in a puddle of tears. So, they end things and they are both sad because they liked one another.
After this scene, I could not help but think, “wait, why can’t he cry about the piano and still be ready to date this woman?” I began wondering how anyone widow/er knows if they are ready to date someone new. Seeing someone else playing that piano might always make him cry. And, I feel like that is okay. Do we really have to be unemotional about the loss in order to be “ready” to have a connection with someone new? I realize it is just a TV show and this was part of the plot that will probably eventually lead to a person he does end up falling in love with, but it just struck me and I wanted to reflect.
A little over a year after Boris died, I created a dating app profile. I went on a few dates and even multiple dates with the same person, but I always kept it very lowkey and casual. I deleted the app after a few months. It became annoying and I also met someone that I enjoy talking to and spending time with, but the timing of a relationship just isn’t quite right. Then, a pandemic hit, I had to move in with my parents, and things became even more complicated. I still talk to him and see him every 2 months or so. I enjoy his company and maybe one day it will be something more. But, I know I will still cry when I read old cards from Boris and my heart will still flutter when certain songs come on the radio. I will still have moments or days when I break down in tears thinking about his absence. I do not know if that will ever stop happening and I feel like I can still open my heart to someone else at the same time.
I do not have much experience dating. Boris was my first kiss and my first boyfriend. And, I have not had a real relationship since he died. So, maybe I am naive to think that I would be ready to date someone else. I’d love to hear from others and get your thoughts and experience. Are we ever really “ready”? And, can we still achingly miss our partners while opening our hearts?