A little over 6 months ago, at the end of April 2019, two months before my 15 year-old daughter Julia died by suicide, and 2 years after Mike my husband died, I met a man on a dating website. He’s called Medjool, after my favourite kind of dates. Big, chewy, tasty, sweet. Yum.
Since there seems to be some kind of annoying gender difference whereby (many) single men prefer women who are quite a lot younger than them, and since I was only interested in meeting a man (approx.) my age, this Medjool was the only Medjool I met. He didn’t seem to share the common belief that prospective female partners should be 10-15 years younger than him. As it happens, I am 6 weeks older than he is.
I had one date with one Medjool. I had planned on having quite a number of Medjools but this Medjool was the one and only. As it happened, there were other women on the dating website interested in him, and Medjool was juggling not just me but another woman who too was dating just him. It took Medjool a little while to figure out – openly and transparently – that he needed to make a choice, which he did some 6 weeks later. Two weeks before Julia died.
Julia wouldn’t have liked the news but I am sure it was not a factor in her decision to take her life. I had planned to tell her and her older siblings just a few days into July, when the four of us were to be in Munich together seeing Elton John in his final tour. Julia never made that concert. She died 5 days before.
Medjool chose me.
I am reminded of Meredith in Grey’s Anatomy who, at the end of Season One (I think), expresses beautifully to Dr McDreamy “Pick Me. Choose me. Love me”. I loved that scene, though never for a minute felt it would apply to me in my lifetime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st2jamNWcJM
Fast forward a few months, the full impact of Julia’s death is still impossible for me to fathom, though I am immensely drained and sad and my heart aches for her.
AND I experience many moments of joy every time I do something I love, with someone I love. Such as Medjool. Or a friend. Or the dog. Or by myself.
Much of life remains exceptional, despite the heavy, brutal, rapid-fire losses.
I am able to be present for much of my joy, grateful for all that I have, basking in this new love with Medjool. A second crack at loving and being with an exceptional man, the quality and calibre of Mike, who loves and admires me in ways so reminiscent of Mike’s ways.
Just two weeks ago, in a quiet, intimate moment, I said words that I had no idea were about to come out of my mouth: “I love you like I love Mike”.
Simple. Honest. Truth.
I love you. Like I love Mike.
Both And: I love you. And I love Mike. Both of you. Medjool and Mike
Both, And, and Despite: Despite losing Mike, Despite losing Julia, Despite the fear of losing another child, I choose to love you, Medjool.
Number Two. Not Second Best. Not First Best either. Just Number Two.
I am grateful.
Thank you, Medjool.
And thank you, Mike.