My therapist suggested that I consider starting to date. My logical brain could not map out how we landed there. Three and a half years into my widow journey, dating is not a foreign thought. I stopped wearing my wedding ring six months after Raymond’s (my husband) untimely death. It became hard to deal with the perception of being married. For me, continuing to wear, or not wear, the ring did not mean that he was not in my heart anymore. It was a confusing thing for me. People that did not know me, assumed that I was a happily married woman with a child and I would be immersed into conversations or comments that would trigger me. The reality, at that time for me, was the opposite of the perception. I was widowed, sad, and single parenting. Every day, I would drop my son to school, go to work, and come home to an empty place that I didn’t know. Home was not always comfortable; pictures of the three of us in our happy family unit became unbearable. I can look at those pictures today and smile but having those family pictures all around my home just hurt me because that is NOT my life. The truth is those pictures no longer existed. And those pictures stay the same. Everything around us is changing and moving, but those pictures stayed the same. The longer my widow journey goes, the further away I am from the life in that picture.
Dating sounds appealing because I have an immediate need in that area of my life. Companionship does do your soul well but now that my dating eyes have been opened, I see the world very differently. I have a lot to figure out in this arena but I will be open to the idea. I may be ready for the attention that dating brings but I have so many things to learn about myself to know if I really can be in a long term relationship. I have a four-year-old so I watch a lot of fairy tale stories. I’ve met many single women in my age demographic that is looking for that fairy tale story... their Prince Charming. Given that I had the life that I wanted, it’s weird to be considered on the market when I’m not looking for what I already had. For some of us widows, we have gone from single, to friend, to girlfriend, to wife, to widowed, and after a couple of years that is just seen as single. For me, I am not in deep search for my soulmate because I had found my soulmate, so how do I enter a new relationship when I feel that that department has been fulfilled?
So this part of the journey will be a learning experience for me and it appears that it will include a lot of trial and error. I will be taking it slow but the biggest thing I encourage is to get out and have fun. Dating or not, my plan is to make the best of this life I have.
Melissa is in the process of rediscovering Melissa. She is in her journey of “the new normal” since her husband's sudden heart attack and now single parenting. She currently works as a certified process improvement and development expert. She taps into her professional experience and applies those tools into daily life.
Grief is a process but moving forward is an opportunity. Her hope is that in sharing her journey, that she may be able to help not only other widows but any person undergoing a transition in life. As a blog contributor for Black Women Widows Empowered, Melissa hopes to provoke thought, share ideas, encourage, and empower you. Personal blog coming soon at MelissaPLPeoples.com and you can also find her on Instagram @melly_plp