Maybe it's because so many guys have called me "courageous," but as soon as I utter the word "widow," I sense I'm being seen as a living saint and that my marriage was flawless, which of course isn't true.
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But he also helped me understand how alien and incomprehensible my situation must seem to someone who has not lived with such a loss.
I've been dating for almost two years now--some guys lasted just one date, others for months at a time.
And one morning, when I left the hospice to feed our cats and make some calls, Frank died.
A chaplain led me by the hand to her office, and I sank to the floor, crying, deeply sad--and guilt-ridden--that I had not been with him at the very end.
Although I decided to wear my wedding ring for a year after his death (as a respectful gesture to Frank and to keep unwanted male attention at bay), six months in, I felt ready to date.
I had started to miss companionship, the everyday pleasures of having a man in my life.I asked questions in oncologists' offices and took notes.I cried on the phone to impassive health insurance bureaucrats.They hadn't, but I still felt comfortable discussing it with him.Perhaps because it didn't feel like a real date, only a hastily scheduled get-together, I felt none of the pressure that goes along with courtship.The path that led me from wife to widow had been long, crooked, and painful.