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I am now over 8 years out from the most horrific day of my life, when my best friend, life partner, love of my life, passed on March 1st, 2009, 8 days after his 50th birthday. We had met in our mid teens, fallin in love almost immediatly, and were inseparable from that point on. We shared over 30 years together and were in process of planning our retirement in a few years when Mike was diagnosed with stage 1 colon cancer out of the blue at a regular, 6month checkup. Although colon cancer is now 98% curable if found in stage 1 or 2, sadly Mike fell into that 2% that didnt respond to treatment, and in 3 months, despite the best treatments, his cancer spread fast, and he was stage 4 and no hope at that time, for a cure. We were told we had a choice. No treatment, he would be dead by christmas in 8 months, or, horrible difficult chemo therapy and hope for 5 years and a discovery of a cure during that time. Sadly, he passed 15 months after diagnosys.
I didnt think i would survive his passing. I was 11 months into my 46th year when he passed, we had worked so hard on our life together, overcame such challenges together, fought so hard for the life we both wanted together, faced such unfair odds, the cards stacked against us, with zero support from family, the companies we worked for, our neighbors, government, all against us back then, but we had a dream, to build a life together, be productive members of society, and to eventually gain the respect and honor we deserved, as a loving, commited, same sex couple.
I grieved very hard, isolated myself for the first 2 years. In my 3rd year out, i started to step out of the darkness a bit, open the blinds, let the sunshine in so to speak in my life.
I started to have moments of wanting to live, create a life without Mike here, so on. Mike had many, many conversations with me, as he felt his end approaching. He shared his heart with me, in short conversations, as i could stand it, without running from the room in tears, or screaming at him, "dont you give up"! He shared how much he loved me, wouldnt change a thing about his life, was so grateful he met me so early in life, what a life we had!, "what would i have done without my little crazy spitfire" to keep me in line, love me so much, put up with all my shit"! He also told me he wanted me to move on, have a happy life, get repartnered, follow my dreams, dont hold myself back in anyway because of him. He would love me forever, and always watch over me. Love me even more from heaven.
Despite me putting my foot down, and ordering him not to pass, he did anyway!
After years of grieving hard, in my 4th year, i had decided to sell our home, clean out all of my life of all the clutter, kept just a few very special things, and some pictures, and donated the rest, lock stock and barrell. I took months, on my own, to go through every thing in our home, as i said goodbye to everything. I wanted so much to start fresh, for me, i knew, i had to do it this way. If i was making a decision to live, start over, give myself the best chance possible to create something new and wonderful for myself, i couldnt have anything in my new life, to anchor me to the past. As i went through everything, on my own, i saved all his cards, love letters to me when he was in military, overseas, anniversaries, put them in a box. When i was all done, i planned to light a fire in the fireplace, take a day to read each one, grieve my loss, be grateful for our life and love, then burn the cards and letters, leaving those behind in the house we shared. I wanted to make a dramatic statement to myself and life, that i was putting a period to my former life, grief, pain, letting go of Mike, in gratitude, and ready for a new adventure. Even though it terrified me. Within a few days after my burning ritual, i met Chris. Thru a bunch of very weird, later discovered coincedences. Long story short, we ended up falling in love, and 8 months later we were moving in together. Chris is a wonderful guy. I love him very much, cant picture my life without him. We have now been together over 3years, approaching our 4th anniversary. He has been such a blessing in my life, brought so much laughter, joy, fun back into my life. Has helped me overcome my grief in so many ways, brought the joy of the holidays back into my heart, and the list goes on. But the thing is, when the lights go out at night, or when im out in my day, sitting at a traffic light, thinking, my heart is still missing Mike, still aching for him. He is still my hearts main focus, that trumps everything out. I knew going into this, that it would be impossible for anyone,ever to compete with Mike. Our tremendous life, love, history, im still very involved with Mikes family, and they all love chris and have welcomed him with open arms into the fold. I knew i would just have to allow myself to love two men, if ever re partnered, and many times before chris, just couldnt ever picture that happening. But its really tough, wanting to be a wonderful partner to Chris, return his feelings, excitement, joy at our shared experiences, new adventures, but everything is just a little bit less shiney, less joyful, less special to me, because im wanting mike there too. Maybe this is just the natural process, that everyone goes thru after a death of a loved one, or maybe an unwanted divorse, maybe im doing just fine, but it sure feels dishonest, or like im having a secret affair behind chris's back a bunch of the time. I have been completely honest with chris and shared so much of everything with him. He has shared my grief, been to mikes grave with me, been wonderful, but i dont think he knows how often im somewhere else for a moment. Hoping someone else is going through this, and can offer their perspective. I have told chris that i feel bad for him at times, offered to end the relationship so he can have someone 100% his, and not broken. But chris doesnt want this, loves me, admires me, wants to learn how to be a better partner, so on.

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Comment by Steve on May 26, 2017 at 10:44am

Hi Danielle and Happylilycat.  Thanks so much for your thoughts, and heart felt words.  I truly appreciate them.  I'm so grateful for our site here.  I don't think anyone else would understand these situations, but us.  I do try not to feel guilty and try to just let go more.  I know Mike will always be in my heart, but I wish I could let go of him more, feel less connected to him, in my new life.  I know this is some part of me that still holds on, I know Mike wanted me to let go and move on when I could.  

Thanks again,

Steve 

Comment by Danielle on May 26, 2017 at 7:59am

Gorgeous post, Steve. The heart wants what the heart wants, isn't that what they say?  It sounds to me like you've done all you possibly can, to be honest with yourself and with the man beside you now. And he's made his choice, he's staying right where he is :) You have nothing to feel guilty about.  I think Barbee hit the nail on the head with what she said - Don't beat yourself up. But at the same time, never stop being so beautifully honest with yourself. 

Comment by happylilycat on May 26, 2017 at 5:11am

What an absolutely beautiful tribute to your Mike.  It moved me to tears, and I needed a good cry this morning, so thank you for that!  I also appreciate your searing honesty about how complex your relationship with Chris is, and it's good to hear that you can talk about that with him. 

Comment by Steve on May 22, 2017 at 9:57pm
Thanks so much Barbie! Really appreciate your reply. I try to do just that, i know you are right, its just tough because i see how hard Chris tries, and i feel bad, because i know he feels like he needs to compete, even though i have told him he doesnt. We will keep working at it. Thanks again, hugs to you
Comment by barbee on May 22, 2017 at 5:31pm

Steve, I think you express very well what it means to lose someone after so many years. It doesn't matter if it is a same sex or opposite sex relationship. I was married for almost 50 years and now am in a new relationship with a wonderful guy who also was widowed. There is no way at all that either he or I can forget the person we loved all those years. Nor would we want to because they helped mold us into the person we are today. Yes, your heart still has Mike in it, but you seem to be giving Chris 100% of the rest and he seems to be accepting of that. Don't beat yourself up and over-think this. Enjoy the love and life you have now.

Comment by Steve on May 19, 2017 at 12:55pm

Hi Diane, Thank you so much for your reply.  I have to say, how much I appreciate you and our long time correspondence here.  I feel such a warmth for you and It always is such a sweet treat to see your posts, replies, so on.  I hope that we do get to meet in person one day.  You have been one of the many, wonderful lights for me, in this sometimes dark journey.  Please take care of yourself.  ((((hugs))))) Steve

Comment by Patience (Diane) on May 19, 2017 at 12:17pm
Dear Steve, I admire you so much- and wish I could help or offer advice or thoughts that would be helpful! I still can't bring myself to even date- except for a couple times where I felt very out of place and not comfortable with the whole situation! And Wayne actually told me that he wanted me to "find someone else!"
But your posting here is a great idea- I hope someone can shed some light ... ((((hugs))) Diane

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