Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dating vs. Children...What's a Widow's Priority?

I finally got to the place, in my second year of widowhood, that I felt ready to date. I had broken the attachment I had with my late husband. I found someone that I was interested in and felt some happy moments. We first met at a party and from there, our friendship grew from our phone calls. When he asked me out for our first date, I took some time to think about it. This was a big step.

Once I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be in a dating relationship, I was ready to go out with this new man. I think he sensed my hesitation in the beginning. We had to reschedule our first date due to bad weather for a boat ride so I patiently waited for the next opportunity. The day finally came. He asked me to go out that following Wednesday night for dinner and a boat ride.

Oh no! That was my daughter's, birthday. I recently felt that I had been taken care of my children's physical needs of being fed, clothed, and involved in activities, however, I also felt I'd been depriving them of their emotional needs. I already planned that I would be spending the day with Jessica on her birthday.

I couldn't believe I waited so long to go out with this man, and of all days! Why Wednesday? My heart sank. "I'm gonna have to pass. I'm so sorry. Can we do it next week?" A silent moment passed. "I'll call you back." He never did.

Our timing was off. I may have felt ready to date, but it couldn't be my priority. My daughters needed me. They didn't need their mother giving attention to a man; they needed their mother giving attention to them. I had to rebuild a relationship with my children before building a relationship with a new man.

I'm here to tell you many years later, that raising children on my own was one of the hardest jobs I've ever had to do. I was able to build such strong bonds with each of my daughters that we are very best friends today. If I hadn't taken them as my priority, to let them both know just how special they were, I'm not sure they would have the self-confidence and joyful spirit that they have today.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My Broken Bond in Widowhood

My heart had belonged to Nelson. It yearned for no one else as if still attached to my former husband. And then one day it happened. I met a guy and felt an attraction. For the first time in over a year, I felt a bit of excitement when talking with another man.

Our friendship started to slowly grow as we had more phone calls in getting to know each other. Toward the end of one of our phone conversations, this man asked me out for lunch. At this point I panicked. Oh no! I don't know. I was scared. This would be a big step. I told him I needed some time to think about it.

Days passed without a phone call. A complex fear began to grow in my life. I lost my appetite and had problems sleeping. My heart struggled against my mind. I could not resolve the battle within me. I didn't understand what was holding me back. Was it because this was the first attraction to another man? I felt as though my heart was trying to escape from my hold.

I allowed myself to feel happy with this new man. Suddenly, my emotional bond with my former husband broke free like a rubber band stretched to its limit and then snaps apart. In one way I felt severely depressed about the finality of my loss and in another way my heart felt freed to love again.

Once our phone calls started up again, I was ready to see him. We made a date to go out for a boat ride. The day arrived along with a downpour of rain. We had to cancel our plans. Disappointed, I waited for our next opportunity. I was ready to start a relationship with this new man. It was as though I had broken the attachment with my former husband in my widowhood.

So where would this lead me? Was I really ready for a relationship? Would this fit into my life with children and career goals? I really didn't know, but it felt exciting. For a moment, I felt happy. I wanted to savor the feeling that I hadn't felt in quite a while. Stay tuned.....

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Widow's Time to Surrender

I had come a long way in my widowhood. As time marched on in the second year, I had a new awakening. I heard in church one Sunday that a church friend's husband had died that week from a sudden heart attack. How sad. She's going to be a young widow like I am with 2 children. I finally understood why everyone was crying for me when Nelson died. They were not only sad for his death, but they were sad for me, too. At the time I didn't get it. I was in God's cocoon and couldn't see my future.

I felt like I broke out of my cocoon and transformed to a young butterfly. The pain was finally subsiding. I had accepted my loss and felt ready to make future plans. I needed to search my options for the coming year. I sensed there was nothing holding me back. My confidence was high. And just like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, there were heights I could reach that a caterpillar could only dream of.

I began to consider that college would be a smart choice for a new career goal. I had been a hairdresser and then a substitute teacher at an elementary schoool. I had taken one Spanish class about 20 years ago which was the extent of my college background! But now, I wanted a career to help people that were struggling with pain. I knew what that felt like. Perhaps obtaining a counseling degree. I was fortunate enough to have family and friends that provided me support in my grief.

I was at a place where I had to make new dreams and goals for my life. The ones I had were shattered and destroyed. But what if I started on my way with new goals and the same thing happens? What if I invest years of time into something that never materializes? I was 36 six years old. We're talking years of homework and sacrificing much of my social life. Would it be worth the years of effort?

Then I wondered, where did God want me to start? You would think I would have gotten it by now. I believed God was in control of it all. Why did I think or even consider that I could do it on my own. I had begun to realize that if I'm living in God's will for my life, everything goes smoothly and I feel His peace. When I'm going against His plan for my life, things don't work as well. This was not an easy lesson to learn. But I realized that it was time to surrender.

And WHY should I surrender? Because I knew if I prayed and listened carefully for God's direction, he would not lead me astray. I knew that whatever He had planned for my future He would give me the strength to do it. If I went against His will, there would be consequences. And afterall, my dreams and goals were already shattered once, why try to do it my way if it wasn't going to work anyway. Might as well surrender to God and find out what He wants to do with my life!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Don't Be a Vulnerable Widow Like I Was

During my first and second year of widowhood, I trusted most men that knew my former husband. I assumed the last thing they would ever do was disrespect him or me. I felt that Nelson's friends were my friends and we shared a connection. Little did I know, there were men, that knew my husband, and would wait for a vulnerable moment with a widow.

It happened to me one evening at a friend's birthday party. I knew everyone there and most of them had been Nelson's friends, also. I wasn't ready to date but I did enjoy the conversation and attention from other males.  My first mistake was trying a new drink that made me a little tipsy.

Caught off guard, a sympathetic friend, that knew Nelson, sat next to me. While we talked, he casually touched my shoulder and arm now and then. It seemed very innocent and I didn't think too much about it. But then, he touched my leg! Oh no! I didn't feel that was proper. I froze. Maybe it was an accident. He was married!

It happened a few more times. I felt it was inappropriate but I couldn't say anything to him. There were people all around us. How much more obvious could he be? I excused myself to the bathroom. When I stood up, I quickly grabbed the chair to catch my balance. Whew! I shouldn't have had that drink.

When I exited the bathroom into the dark, master bedroom, he was there... silently waiting. As he approached me, I slowly processed what was going on in my fuzzy mind. He clenched my arm. I pulled back. He tried to quietly convince me that I wanted and needed him. HOW DARE HE! I jerked away and escaped his hold relaying the message that I wasn't interested.

I bolted out of the bedroom. How could he think he'd get away with that? I should have said something on the first improper touch. That was the one and only time that ever happened to me. So widows beware!! If anyone else has a story to share that might help a vulnerable widow, please share.