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Moving on….

A week from now will be the one year anniversary of my wife's passing. An awful lot has happened in that one year.

My oldest daughter gave birth to our second grandson, Jeremy, six weeks later. Sue desperately wanted to see her “second perfect grandchild” arrive, but she just couldn't hang on that long.

About two weeks after Sue died, I found out my youngest daughter, then just barely 17, was pregnant. Her baby was born November 2nd, and after an initial decision to give the baby up for adoption, she suddenly changed her mind and decided to keep her daughter. Babies are wonderful things, but believe me, I'm way past the point in my life where a baby in the house full time is even remotely considered cause for joy. I don't get along well at all with my youngest daughter, and that bothers me a lot. She's not home much lately, leaving for days at a time, and I think (hope) she is planning on moving out soon. I know her boyfriend and her have been looking at apartments, but I doubt they can come up with the required funds. Maybe some day we will reconcile; if it were only the “baby thing” I might believe it could happen soon. At this time, I'm really not willing to write about the worst of her other disappointing behaviors.

I started getting our little vacation cottage in Northern Michigan ready for sale, now that retirement plans aren't going to go as expected, and discovered significant structural issues that need major repairs. I can't stand going to the cottage, because it represents a future that will never be, so I've hired a contractor to fix the structural issues, and have virtually no opportunity to do any progress checks. Work has been slowly progressing for 6 months now, if I can believe what the contractor tells me over the phone.

There are numerous other issues I've needed to address, which I'm sure is true for the rest of you here as well, but that's not really where I wanted to go with this post. Overall, I'm in the “looking forward” mode at this point. On the positive side, my other “still at home” daughter has been a source of pride and a pillar of strength for me. At 19, she is extremely mature, a good student in college, has won a full academic scholarship, works as a customer service rep at a bank part time, has a great boyfriend with an equally great family, and she knows where she is going both personally and professionally. And she likes spending time with dad, even if it's just a Sam's Club run or a bicycle ride. If it weren't for her, I know I would not have made it through this past year. I've grown very much closer to her, and wish I could figure out how to replicate the joy with my other one. Unfortunately, “It isn't going to happen.” would be my assessment.

Shortly before the Holidays, I made a decision to try and proactively start socializing again, but decided to wait until after the holidays to act on that decision. I suspect this is relatively “soon” by most standards. Maybe it's the engineer in me. (It's not the need for someone to get my beer for me, as was suggested in a previous thread several months ago… ☺) But I truly believe that “grieving” does not need to end before “moving on” can begin. I signed up for one of the online match services, specified my “match” criteria, and waited for the “hits” to roll in. One of my “must have” criteria was that my match also be widowed, because I really felt that “matching baggage” being carried into the relationship would help. After only 40 or 50 prospective profiles showing up in my inbox, I finally made contact with one, and after several rather long email exchanges, we had our first “date”. It is now almost two months later, and I can't imagine how things could be any better. We are extremely comfortable with each other, can talk about any and everything, including our first spouses, for hours. Or we can NOT say a darn thing for long periods, and still be comfortable. We have enough common interests that we can always find something to agree on to do…. But we have enough divergent interests that we can also almost always find something “new” for one of us.

I have no idea where this relationship is going. When I started looking for social interaction again, a pre-conceived notion was that I was looking for a wife again. I'm not so sure that's the first objective any more. I really like this new person in my life. She has been widowed for 10 years, and has been through many of the pitfalls. She has offered to help me get through pieces of the process I don't even know exist yet, with just the sincere promise of “Whatever happens, happens. For now, just enjoy what life can offer.”

And so that's what I plan to do. And I'll be happy to do it with her, for now.

I'd really like to get a sense from others here about their experiences in moving on, whether it is “dating” or “building a new life on your own”, or something entirely different.

Ralph
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My oldest daughter gave birth to our second grandson, Jeremy, six weeks later

I must've missed that event. A belated mozel tov to ya Ralph.


About two weeks after Sue died, I found out my youngest daughter, then just barely 17, was pregnant. Her baby was born November 2nd, and after an initial decision to give the baby up for adoption, she suddenly changed her mind and decided to keep her daughter.

Holy smokes Ralph! What a fall you've had. It was hard enough for me entering the first holiday season as a widower, but to have this turmoil amidst that. I. can't. imagine!


I don't get along well at all with my youngest daughter, and that bothers me a lot.

Wow! I venture that's something hard to admit. And...must have grief issues of its own. Again. I can't imagine.
(((Ralph)))
I hate to admit it, but I'd probably have a bleeding tongue from holding back a bajillion, "what would your mother think?!?!"'s from flying out of my mouth.
Yeah, I know that's not a productive think to be saying. But unfortunately, that would probably be a thought that would be passing through my mind. A LOT.


Not meaning to detract from this, but this brings to fore an anecdote.
After counting all the toes and fingers, I had this wave of terror sweep over me. "I'm the father of a girl!!!"
As we sat gushing - OK mostly me doing the gushing as my wife had been through about 18hrs of labor; well she was gushing as much as an exhausted post partum mother could. I looked at my wife and told her that it will be her job to teach and deal with all the things that come with puberty and beyond. I expected to be in blissfully ignorant belief that my daughter was a virgin until my 1st grandchild was coming out the chute. Even then, I reserved the right to remain in denial if I chose.

Enter widowhood, I realize that I needed a Plan B. So I came up with the strategy of figuring, as a result of becoming a parent late in life, that I will just become senile. Said senility will progress in severity concurrent with DD's entry into puberty.

Well, your woes have really shot down that strategy. There are aspects to this plan where I might not be able to stick my head in the sand.
Hmmm...sticking to this theme of my denials, I'm just gonna have to deny this realization as well. At least for now.
But can I place reservations to get your consultation in about 3-4 years.
<fingers crossed that I'm wrong about this being needed this soon>


I suspect this is relatively “soon” by most standards.
Good for you Ralph!
BTW, what standards? I say that there are no applicable rules or schedules to widowhood.

Just to give you some reference. I participated in an online young widows' group with just over 20 members. All but 3 of us were dating by the end of year 1; including 2 pairing of members - 1 resulting in a marriage, the other in cohabitation, within that 1st year. There were 4 more remarried by the end of the 2nd year.
I recently lurked in on the spinoff group, of the original young widows' members, created to keep the widows' board from becoming to clique-y for new folks to come in. 5 years later, all but 4 of us are now remarried. Several had been through multiple broken engagements.

This has turned out to be a longer post/reply than anticipated. So I'll have to defer my personal dating experience when I get another block of time to sit still. Short take is that it wasn't till after my 3rd year that I made my 1st foray into dating.

At any rate, your dating situation sounds like a good thing. She sounds cool!


Take care Ralph,
Keith
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Keith,

Thanks for the kind words and for sharing some of your own experiences. Looking forward to the next installment...

Ralph
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I don't know much about the dating game after widowhood. For many men, one year is absolutely not too short a time to seek out companionship. So IMO you are not rushing things at all. I am sorry about your daughter.

My youngest was a real problem. Now she is finally grown up at almost 40, LOL. We learned that part of her problem was depression. Once she got on prozac, her life improved. She has a nice marriage, no children.

I wish you lots of luck. You will find that over time, the grieving gets less even though you never forget your missing loved one. But people can love more than one person.

Birgit
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