Saturday, September 29, 2012

My First Date....What about my rings?

With conflicting feelings, I made the decision to go on my first date, on July 4th, in my 15th month of widowhood. I couldn't believe I was actually going to go through with this. I was both nervous and excited. I felt like a little girl preparing to step out in the big world. There was a part of me that was very scared.

I found my manicure set and began pampering myself. I studied my hands. My wedding rings...still on my left hand. I should at least move them to my right. I solemnly switched them. This was a step toward my independence. How interesting that I was changing them on July 4th...Independence Day.

It seemed like the right time to move forward. To me, changing the rings to my right hand signified that I was no longer married, but I still couldn't bear to take them off. It symbolized the love I lived for so many years. I felt that if I kept them on my left hand, it would show disrespect to my former husband and to my date.

I wasn't exactly sure why I wanted to date. Especially since I had been so set against it. I guess part of me wanted that male attention. Phil picked me up and we went to a very nice restaurant. Even though I was bombarded with thoughts of, "I can't believe I'm doing this!", I felt very comfortable in Phil's company. My need for male conversation and attention was met during dinner. It stopped there.

I wasn't sure if Phil expected more but my body language spewed out frigid phrases as: "Don't touch me!" and "Don't even think about a kiss!" He was a gentleman and I believe he read my body language very well. Although the evening had fun moments, I realized I wasn't ready for dating.

My heart still ached for Nelson. Maybe one day I'd be ready, but not now.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Should I or Shouldn't I....Date?

I was 15 months into widowhood. My girlfriends were my source of friendship and socializing. Up to now, I had no intentions of getting remarried, or to even go on a date. My friend Lisa introduced me to a single man and a group of us went out for lunch. I was only interested at this time to have a friendship with a male.

About a month after our group lunch, this man asked me to get together for July 4th. At first I agreed, but as the day got closer, I cancelled. That would've been too much like a date! I couldn't do it. What do other widows do in this situation? I decided to read about other widows' experiences with this topic.

I read about a widow that was 30 years older than me. It was interesting to find out that she did not rely on the Lord like I had, but instead used resources such as support groups. I realized that regardless of how we each worked through grief, we still had similar feelings.

This woman told of one of her first dates on July 4th, in her 15th month of widowhood. As she nervously prepared, she yearned not only for finding a male friend but also to have more physical contact. I was also going into my 15th month and how coincidental that I could go out on my first date on July 4th. I really just wanted some attention from a male and have a male friend. Nothing more.

The following day, I called my "male friend" and told him I'd get together with him for July 4th. "Great, let me take you out to dinner." I accepted his offer. Suddenly, I felt this would be more than just a friendship dinner. It was going to be a date. Should I or shouldn't I? It was a little bit too late to back out. There was something inside me that felt excited about it. I couldn't believe I was going through with it!

Life quickly got more complicated. I recently said I didn't want to date. No one was ever going to take Nelson's place so why would I even date anyone. But I also liked the attention I was receiving from this man. What was so wrong with that since we were just friends? Couldn't we remain friends? So if we were just friends going out to dinner, would this actually be a DATE??? Any comments?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Just Wanted a Male Friend

Is there such a thing as having male friends when you're a grieving widow?? I guess it depends if that male is satisfied with only being a friend. As simple as this concept seemed, it felt more complicated. Having an enormous void in my life, from my husband's death over a year ago, I didn't want any committed relationship but a male friend would have been nice.

My new friend, Lisa, wanted to help. She had a single man in mind. In a vulnerable moment, I agreed to meet this man. The day landed on "Memorial Day", and it was a memory I'll never forget. We decided that both our families and "Phil" would meet at the pizzeria. This way, it wasn't actually a date.

My daughters, Jessica, 8 yrs old, and Nicole, 7 yrs old, intuitively knew something was up. Throughout lunch, they kept a close eye on me. Phil had a great sense of humor like my husband did. I liked that. But he wasn't as tall. I realized I was comparing Phil to my former husband and knew this wasn't fair to Phil.

"I had a good time, Phil," I said as we walked out to the parking lot. "It was nice meeting you." Nicole pulled on my arm towards our car to end any more conversation. Jessica glared at me while she fastened her seatbelt. "Mom...you're never going to marry again!" Nicole then added from the backseat, "And I'll kill anyone that tries to marry you!" As I replied, "He's just a friend."

Poor Phil...our first victim. A little over a week ago I said I wouldn't date anyone. I only wanted to meet Phil to become friends. But why did I want a male friend? I wasn't sure, but meeting a new man was kind of exciting.

I had started new relationships with girlfriends and decided it would be nice to have some guy friends. This I thought would satisfy a void. And could I stop with just being "friends"? I was hoping I could. Can any other widows relate?

Saturday, September 8, 2012

New Awakening in Grief - New Friends

Once I accepted being a widow and life would never be the same, I knew challenges were on the horizon. I was focused on my loss for over a year, feeling as if I was in a thick fog, and could only see a few feet in front of me. Now the fog was lifting and I could see different scenery. One of my first experiences was making new friends.

Lisa and her family moved in across the street from us. When I told her my widowed stories, she empathized with my loss. When I spoke about Nelson to my other friends that were grieving him also, I felt his absence.With Lisa, she just listened to me and felt sorry that I was a widow.

New friendships began to feel good. It signified my life as an individual and brought more independence to my life. I couldn't rely on Nelson to keep the conversation going. Besides, Nelson had been the life of the party. My new friends never experienced that so it was easier not to have to fill those shoes.

Lisa thought I should be dating since it had been over a year. I didn't feel ready for dates but I did contemplate male friendship. Was that possible? Nelson was my best friend, so I never needed any other male friends. Of course, my girlfriends' husbands were my friends, but I wouldn't call them up on the phone to chat.

I was still content with just my girlfriends. My social life increased as I accepted more get togethers with new and old friends. This was a huge step. The first year of widowhood I preferred to be around familiar friends in small gatherings. Now, as God placed new people in my life, I saw the value in new friends.

Having new friends, meant new adventures. It was a way to keep moving through grief. God brought me new friends for different reasons. My new friend Lisa had an agenda. She did not want me to remain single. Read more next week when Lisa talks me into meeting my first male friend. Do other widows have friends like this?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Look How Far I've Come. What Next?

Since this past January, I've shared with you my first year of widowhood. Which also meant, living through the hardest part of grief. It was all about me and trying to see through the fog that had engulfed me. It was like, I couldn't really see where I was going. I made some wrong turns, went off course, (sometimes waaaaayyyyyy off course), got back on track, then stumbled on my way again.

Looking back, part 1 of my journey was over. It was similar to walking through the thickest part of the forest and I was beginning to see light filtering through the trees. I still had a ways to go as I continued on. I had to make a new life in part 2. This required accepting I was a widow. Hated that word! I preferred to think of myself as an independent woman that had an agenda to pursue.

In pursuing new goals and dreams, there were new awakenings that caught me off guard. I began making new friends but ran into problems when I not only made new girlfriends, but wanted male friends, too. This became very confusing. So then began new experiences of dating, a vulnerable situation, new male relationships, and what to do with my rings.

And just like I had no idea what to do in the first steps of being a widow, the second part felt just as foreign. Please continue my journey with me as I figure out where I want to go in life. How do I make new dreams? What kind of goals is God leading me to? What are my new priorities in life? And how do I reach the completion of grief and go beyond to find abundant joy and purpose?

I do confess that by this time, in my second year, I'm trying to follow God's plan for my life. And where I end up, I couldn't have been happier or more purpose filled. You'll soon find out that I've written a book and I'm currently in the process of getting it published. Again, it's all in God's timing.

Stay tuned next week for the beginning of part 2 of the new challenges I had to face. You can also type in your e-mail address (see blog's right side) and automatically get my blog posts e-mailed to you every week. Also, please join my site if you're able to. This shows me who stops by and reads my posts. That means a lot to me:)