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This room is for those who have lost a spouse and need support or who can provide support to those who have.

Saint Paula is the patron saint of widows and Saint Stephen is the patron saint of deacons
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How strange is it for you to be single after many years of marriage? For me, I just uncomfortable with the idea of online dating, yet I am lonely and I know that I have the capacity to love between the holes of my heart. I am extremely active. I find that men my age usually aren't or that they are broken in terms of having gone through nasty divorces and wanting me as an option. When they realize that my moral compass hasn't changed, we end up becoming great friends. In the military community that I still live in, I am considered old. Most men my age have retired long ago.

Is fifty all that old? I just feel like I straddle two worlds. A world in which there are widows/widowers who are much older, and then the military world where I am considered old. I don't know the games, how to date, or how to even send off available vibes. It scares me. I am wary now which does not help. I also walk the walk of a very public grief journey which means that whomever I am involved with will have to understand that I did love a military man well for 23 years before he was killed. I just wonder if there is anyone strong enough, committed to their faith, and who can laugh at the ludicrous nature of my life?

As I go to the states to visit my children, parents, and friends for the summer, I am thinking about these things because people are trying to "fix" me up or convince me to party with them. I am not that girl, but I am just so unsure of where to start and whether to trust the online thing. Maybe that is a terrible thing to vocalize on an online site, but most of you know that I joined for this group and we have been way too quiet lately. Advice?

06/11/2012 new

(Quote) Linda-756196 said: How strange is it for you to be single after many years of marriage? For me, I just uncomfortable...
(Quote) Linda-756196 said:

How strange is it for you to be single after many years of marriage? For me, I just uncomfortable with the idea of online dating...

--hide--


The last time I tried meeting someone online was in 1985, so you are not the only one feeling a bit awkward.

I also know what you mean about the age thing; I'm 58, don't feel old, and yet many of the people my age I bump into at church or in town do seem to act and to think of themselves as "old." I don't what "old" means except in the context of the old saying, "...old is someone who is twenty years older than you." That has always seemed about right at every age. I remember that at twenty, someone who was forty-five seemed impossibly old. Now forty-five seems quite young.

And yes, the abruptness of suddenly being single is quite odd. After a year I'm finally settling into that notion, somewhat reluctantly, but we have no choice, do we? I have been reading the posts about divorced vs. widowed, and there certainly is some qualitative difference between the two experiences.

06/17/2012 new

Except for the military connection and the length of time we have been alone, Linda, our stories are much the same. I was pretty "straight laced" before marriage and after 34 years of a good marriage and 5 1/2 years alone, I don't see how I could possibly all the sudden be comfortable with going to bars and pursuing a man. I am of the "pursued" generation and I am just too old to change. My daughter told me that she had read that it took 1 year for every 8 years you are married to find balance in your life. While all opinions, both expert and lay, are not absolute, that seemed to be the formula for me.


I live in a cabin on a mountain range and I can remember nights when I found myself screaming so loud and so long that if anyone were close they would have run in to save me from what they thought was an attacker. Fortunately the worse times were in the winter and the snowbirds were not around. As awful as those times were, in retrospect, I found some relief from those horrible crying spells. Feeling lost just doesn't do what I went through and to some degree what I am going through right now. If I were younger, I might throw caution to the wind, but with age comes wisdom, so I am cautiously tip toeing through this "dating" process which I much prefer to refer to as "new friendships" process. At this time in my life I need friendship and if God blesses me again then I will happily look forward to "dating." But, I would probably prefer to refer to that new blessing as "strong friendship" process. I know exactly what you mean about being skeptical of this process. I think that is a healthy viewpoint.

At 58, I also find myself in the "in between" world. Most widows are much older. I feel like a bit of an odd ball and I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb in groups. We had a wonderful church in Sparta before some pretty radical changes. So I, along with many others, travel to church. Fortunately, so many of us remain close and I am so fortunate that my church family has been so caring. But after a while most people just assume we get over our loss and move on. And in their defense, I never knew what this kind of loss was before it happened to me. What so surpised me when I woke up from the fog was how I had circled the wagons and only lived in my grief for a while. I have always thought of myself as a caring and unselfish person. But for years, just making myself keep going was all the energy I had. Recently, I decided to befriend a new widow who is much older than me and, not surprisingly, it has helped me probably more than it has helped her. And, now I am enjoying CM more. I think widowhood doesn't change our basic personality...we continue to approach issues in our own unique ways, but I also think finding out that our emotions, fears, and thoughts are much the same as others who are living our experience helps us to find balance in our lives. Your posts have helped me. I applaud you for reaching out. This is one area that has always been hard for me.



06/17/2012 new
Elizabeth, I think that since I was thrust into a potlight I never wanted in any manner, I have adapted. At times, I wonder if Phil would even recognize the woman I have become. I am stronger and more resilient than I ever thought, but I am lonelier than I ever thought possible. I had a very, very close family when this happened. Now, it is like the fun got sucked out of our family. Four of five of my children are military; I think they are dealing with the loss of their dad the best they can. We just never thought it was possible--a teacher who basically wore a suit to work every day and who was putting the communications in place for the hospital? We told our children to pursue certain jobs and to join the AF because it was safe. I have a pediatrician, nurse, family therapist, and the youngest was going to be a lawyer before this happened (now he wants to do OSI and deploy). That day ruined a lot of people's innocence, but that day impacted my family and it continues to impact us. I long for what we had--the laughter and the joy. Any how, I am in the process of looking for a job stateside because I do feel really alone overseas and I work for an administration that seems hellbent on me either speaking out against the conflict, ignoring my military roots, and moving on (ie no dedications, no military affiliations with gold Star Wives and generals--and I do not care about rank). I am praying that I can get a transfer and move. I am applying for whatever is open federal service. right now, that is TX, NM, VA. I do love TN, but... I have not been able to go to any support group. Living and working at a small military base means that I am the only widow. I will go this summer. I do have online access and this is the reason I joined CM last fall. Now, I do hope to find the fairy tale again, but I am wary. The first person I took really small baby steps with, trusted, was a cheater. I do not know the rules, but if the rules have changed that much since 1988, then I think I will stay single. Laugh. Any how, I really appreciate your honesty. I appreciate connecting with widows and widowers because you are walking my walk. You get it. You are my heart.
06/17/2012 new

I appreciate your honesty, too, Linda. I have three children. The youngest is a son, age 33, is in government service and was in Germany when his father died. My middle daughter is 37 and was here with her father and me when her father died. My oldest daughter is in the Air Force and was in Germany when her father died. Of the three, my middle daughter has been able to cope with the loss of her father far better than the other two. I think it was because she was here. She was actually holding his head while the ambulance drivers were readying the ambulance. While it has devastated all three, she, oddly enough, has managed the loss better...at least from my perspective. I may be way off base. The other two seemed to go through horrible periods of regrets and anger. Our family has been like a ship without a sail. Unfortunately, I don't think we will ever get back to the fairy tale that it seems now was our family. I was sheltered and coddled. David said on several occasions one of the things that separates Catholics from Protestants is their love of women which starts with the Blessed Virgin. But, it seems to me that without my husband I had two choices...toughen up or be taken advantage of. After a while, I chose to toughen up. I do think if I am ever blessed by a loving husband again, I could easily be far less tough. It does wear me out sometimes. One of the things I have learned in life is that the strong who have no ethics or morals will gladly take advantage of the weak. I've tried to use that knowledge to avoid pitfalls and try very hard not to become cynical. I liken widowhood and widower hood as a gauntlet. If you ever stop, you will be eaten up, so it is better to keep moving and look for the end of the tunnel. You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders, Linda. I enjoy your perspectives. Today is a hard day for my family as I am sure it is for yours. I smile when I think of the wonderful Father's Days of the past. Somewhere deep down I am a bit mad. But as I look out at my beautiful Tennessee mountains, I am thankful for the time God gave us. The night before David died, he said he had such hope...I am hanging on to hope and God. I absolutely hate being alone, but I am trying very hard to believe that God has a purpose even in loss. I’m including this world of the unknown life as a widow in the passage “All things work for good for those who love God…” Hang in there, Linda. If you end up stateside, I would love to have you visit me in Tennessee.

06/17/2012 new
Interesting. You are the first person to acknowledge that today might be hard. It is. I loved that Phil was a good father. We made such a good team. We raised our five children and then we were in the process of adopting two more when he deployed. He wanted to come home safely before we finished the process. Not one of my children is talking about the horse in the room. They were all so close to their dad. Since four are in the military, he was thier mentor. I like hiding in the shadows and being the strong family support. I was thrust into a very public place due to my family and Phil's story. I know that God is using the story. the remarkable thing is that I felt the nudgings of the Holy Spirit. I ran and I wrote. I blogged every day and I know that it will be my book. I am in the process mof editing. It is also interesting to see how falling into my faith has made a difference, but looking at how deep the pain ran, I am again thankful for the faith that carries me. I would love to meet you. Federal service is fickle. I am praying that God puts me where he wants me. I am ready to join the land of the living and to stop hiding out,...if that makes sense. I do not know if I will ever even have a date again, but I fall to my knees and praise God each and every day for my life and for a man that loved me well for 23 years.
06/18/2012 new

(Quote) Linda-756196 said: I do not know the rules, but if the rules have changed that much since 1988, then I think I will stay s...
(Quote) Linda-756196 said: I do not know the rules, but if the rules have changed that much since 1988, then I think I will stay single.
--hide--

I have joked from time to time that we aren't smarter as we get older, but rather we just get better at recognizing what we don't know. When I was young, I often did very stupid things without much forethought. For example, in college, I often stayed up late, drank too much, and woke up feeling awful. But somehow managed not to notice, "Gee, when I stay out late and drink too much, I feel awful the next day," and would go out and do it again a week later. Fortunately, I did figure that one out even before I left college.

I always hated dating. I never understood the rules. I learned how to date by making many mistakes.

I do not think the rules have changed. But dating was a lot of work when I was 22, 27, and 31. Arranging dates, going out, trying to figure out if she liked me, trying to figure out if I liked her, and wondering when was the "right" time to call back was exhausting. But I was young! And ignorant! Hope always sprung eternal! This time will be the one! And my code will run without errors this time! (sorry, old computer programming joke).

Now, we know. We know exactly how much work it will be to make dates, to go out, to try to figure out if she likes me, if I like her. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

And unfortunately, I fell in love with my wife at first sight. Absolutely true story. She saw me, I saw her, and that was it. Our first date was our last date, because we knew, the moment we saw each other. Now, the back story is that we had both suffered with bad dating decisions with other people for many years, so we had lots of practice with the wrong people. As far as I can tell, most people don't have that experience. I have no expectation that I will have that experience a second time.

I believe serenity comes from having no expectations. It's kind of a Buddhist thing, not be attached to anything, including to be not attached to the outcome of a date. I eventually figured out that going out with someone and having no expectations about a second date and having no expectations about any kind of relationship developing was waaaaay better than sitting home alone on Friday night. So what if we did not "click." But I had a pleasant dinner, maybe we saw a play or a movie, we laughed a bit, and that was okay. No expectations.

But this is work...no doubt about it. Just replying to little notes and emotigrams is work. But that's what dating is...it's another form of work. Somewhere you have to leave room for God to work, as I do believe God helps them that helps themselves. We have to take care of ourselves, exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, take care about how we look....I'm tired already.....what's on TV....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



06/19/2012 new
(Quote) Andrew-865848 said: I have joked from time to time that we aren't smarter as we get older, but rather we just get bett...
(Quote) Andrew-865848 said:

I have joked from time to time that we aren't smarter as we get older, but rather we just get better at recognizing what we don't know. When I was young, I often did very stupid things without much forethought. For example, in college, I often stayed up late, drank too much, and woke up feeling awful. But somehow managed not to notice, "Gee, when I stay out late and drink too much, I feel awful the next day," and would go out and do it again a week later. Fortunately, I did figure that one out even before I left college.

I always hated dating. I never understood the rules. I learned how to date by making many mistakes.

I do not think the rules have changed. But dating was a lot of work when I was 22, 27, and 31. Arranging dates, going out, trying to figure out if she liked me, trying to figure out if I liked her, and wondering when was the "right" time to call back was exhausting. But I was young! And ignorant! Hope always sprung eternal! This time will be the one! And my code will run without errors this time! (sorry, old computer programming joke).

Now, we know. We know exactly how much work it will be to make dates, to go out, to try to figure out if she likes me, if I like her. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

And unfortunately, I fell in love with my wife at first sight. Absolutely true story. She saw me, I saw her, and that was it. Our first date was our last date, because we knew, the moment we saw each other. Now, the back story is that we had both suffered with bad dating decisions with other people for many years, so we had lots of practice with the wrong people. As far as I can tell, most people don't have that experience. I have no expectation that I will have that experience a second time.

I believe serenity comes from having no expectations. It's kind of a Buddhist thing, not be attached to anything, including to be not attached to the outcome of a date. I eventually figured out that going out with someone and having no expectations about a second date and having no expectations about any kind of relationship developing was waaaaay better than sitting home alone on Friday night. So what if we did not "click." But I had a pleasant dinner, maybe we saw a play or a movie, we laughed a bit, and that was okay. No expectations.

But this is work...no doubt about it. Just replying to little notes and emotigrams is work. But that's what dating is...it's another form of work. Somewhere you have to leave room for God to work, as I do believe God helps them that helps themselves. We have to take care of ourselves, exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, take care about how we look....I'm tired already.....what's on TV....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



--hide--
You know, Andrew, maybe that is what is scary about putting myself out there. Things happened so quickly. I never regretted it. I detested the dating games--all in or all out for one date or 20 dates. It just clicked for the two of us. Was it always easy? Heck, no. We were dirt poor for many, many years. We chose for me to stay at home and we had more kids than every one, or so it seemed. We were treated like trailer court trash because of income and number of kids, but meantime, we worked harder than anyone I have ever known. We dug ourselves out and bonded in the process. Do I have illusions that it will happen again--differently. I want the fairy tale again, but it won't look or feel the same. I am different from that girl--the one that loved and was loved well. I had to change. I have realized that there are needs and wants that I never even knew I had before Phil died. Between the holes, I am seeing the capacity for "maybe". One day I will tell you the promise that God gave me. It is huge. I believe that modern day miracles are possible now. I may not know when or how I will have the fairy tale again, but I know that I will. In the meantime, my moral compass hasn't changed--laugh. I think relationships are doomed when the expectations are too high initially--one step at a time. I think the heart and soul know. Good night, my friend. No TV--a little overwhelmed by being stateside in a city that is never quiet!
07/01/2012 new

(Quote) Andrew-865848 said: The last time I tried meeting someone online was in 1985, so you are not the only o...
(Quote) Andrew-865848 said:


The last time I tried meeting someone online was in 1985, so you are not the only one feeling a bit awkward.

I also know what you mean about the age thing; I'm 58, don't feel old, and yet many of the people my age I bump into at church or in town do seem to act and to think of themselves as "old." I don't what "old" means except in the context of the old saying, "...old is someone who is twenty years older than you." That has always seemed about right at every age. I remember that at twenty, someone who was forty-five seemed impossibly old. Now forty-five seems quite young.

And yes, the abruptness of suddenly being single is quite odd. After a year I'm finally settling into that notion, somewhat reluctantly, but we have no choice, do we? I have been reading the posts about divorced vs. widowed, and there certainly is some qualitative difference between the two experiences.

--hide--


I agree with you, Andrew. When someone our age says they are old, I think "Whaa...?" I'm not old...I'm at the "perfect" age. wink

07/04/2012 new

Were single in name but in our roles and responsibilities. When does a single man go shopping with a 13 yr old daughter for a swim suit? It's an awkward singleness.

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