Since becoming widowed, I have been told, in essence, that the second year of grief is more difficult than the first. I have heard it said so many times that I felt there must be some truth to it. I’m only a few weeks into my “Year Two” and probably unqualified to really weigh in on it, but I’m going to, anyway.
So far, I wouldn’t label this year as “more difficult”, unless difficult by this definition means lonely. I’ve spoken before about my dry spell (yes, sorry, this is going to be one of those posts – it’s not exactly a pleasant topic, yet I’ve always spoken (much-too-) openly and let you (far too deeply) into my world) yet here I sit in an absolute drought.
I’m not talking strictly about sex, although that is obviously a big, looming void in my life right now. But I am seriously missing intimacy and simple physical contact, as well. I’ve also spoken of that before, too. Although I hug my children (and kiss them good morning and good night) as often as I can, it just isn’t the same. And it really can’t be, can it?
I’ve found myself more nights than not sleeping on my husband’s side of the bed with my arms and legs wrapped around a pillow or two, assumably seeking out the warmth and comfort I used to find there. That is, when I sleep.
Sleep has become almost elusive again. Despite a rocky start last year, I had been on a fairly good streak there for awhile. Although I don’t sleep anywhere near the way I used to, recently I could easily catch 5 or 6 unbroken hours, and often a few more. Lately, though, I wake somewhere around 2-ish unable to go back to sleep the way I would have in (what seems to me) the distant past until shortly before the time my alarm goes off.
My husband was the one who suffered from insomnia through the years. I would tease him, bragging that I could sleep anywhere, anytime. And I could. Years of long-distance car rides as a kid taught me to grab a nap whenever possible. Well, be careful what you say, because it may just come back to bite you.
Perhaps I was able to sleep so soundly because I was safe in the knowledge that A was always protecting me. I never had to be on my guard. He willingly took that role on himself; it came naturally to him.
During the daylight hours, he often walked around so lost in thought or planning what came next in our lives (and scanning the horizons for predators, much like a meerkat) that I would make fun of the creases between his eyebrows, telling him to stop scowling because he could hold a quarter in the wrinkles. Well, these days when I venture a look into the mirror, I’m starting to see those same creases between my own brows. Again… be careful what you say.
Everyone used to be so intimidated by that look, though. Which might have been a good thing because people generally left us alone. I now find this somewhat ironic, since alone is sometimes the last thing I want to be these days, yet I have no idea how not to be. Does that make as much sense outside my head as it does in it?
Because A and I got together so young, I never struggled with the dating scene that so many people have had to deal with. I never had blind dates, no laughably horrendous series of first dates with no hope of second ones, no bad breakups – none of these. Thankfully!
But also because we got together so young, I have virtually no experience on what to do if and when I do dip my toe back into the dating pool someday. The last time I had to go looking for someone, I didn’t actually have to go far; my “dating scene” was homeroom. And my future husband actually came looking for me after I bumped into him at a high school football game.
So my experience is essentially nil. Add in how shallow everyone says the dating pool is, how high the bar has been set for love thanks to a romantic, committed husband, and my own socially awkward, neurotic, quirky self, and the odds aren’t exactly in my favor to find someone new. IF I choose to find someone new. Heck, I can’t even bring myself to change my marital status on Facebook to Widowed because I don’t want to aaccidentally lose that connection with my husband’s account! (See how I go round and round with this? This is just a peek into my scattered, unsure mind. Is it any wonder I’m kept awake at night thinking about “stuff”?)
I’m starting to wonder if it would even be worth it to find someone new. I keep hearing horror stories from other widows who have dated so many losers, many of whom are only looking to bilk them of any money they might be hoarding, or thinking they’ve struck gold with a lonely woman in a dry spell of her own, so they don’t even have to make any real effort towards romance. And it seems few try.
Then again, by the time I’m actually, really ready to date and I might find someone who could be interested and that interest is possibly reciprocated, and it gets to where it might actually happen, I’ll be so out of practice that it might be better off to leave things alone. Major dilemma.
What it all boils down to is this: Although I’m really hating my lack of physical contact, I dread doing anything to change that in the near future and have to resign myself to the fact that if and when this drought ends, I either pity or envy the man who brings the monsoon. ‘Cause it’s going to be memorable either way…
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