It is February. CrabbyCancerMan always hated the winter. It was the cold and the lack of sunlight, but I think also that he could not go swimming in a place that did not smell like chemicals. He loved the water.
I went to visit his grave the other day, just because I missed him (I miss him all of the time, but sometimes I just need to visit in person, the thinking about him is not enough). There was about a foot of snow on the ground, and since he has a flat marker rather than an upright stone, I couldn’t see the exact spot where he lies. It was a big field of white, with no footprints (it had just snowed the day before). His grave is right by the path, which had been plowed. So I stood where I thought he was, took a moment for myself to reflect on this cold, solitary moment, and then tossed a small stone (it is a Jewish tradition to leave a small stone when visiting someone’s grave) to where I thought his stone would be. It felt like throwing a pebble into a pond, but I did not see any ripples. It just plopped into the snow.
Every day, I meet new people, and they do not know about this whole other life I had with CrabbyCancerMan before I met them. I’ll start telling a CrabbyCancerMan story (about our struggles with finding the ideal toaster, or the time created order out of chaos in our fish tank), and it will come up that he died, and their expression of sympathy will disrupt the story I am telling, and change the focus from being about whatever I was trying to say to being that I am a Woman Who Has Experienced Great Loss (WWHEGL). And when they learn, they will say “I’m so sorry for your loss,” and I know they are sad for me, but sometimes that is not what I need them to focus on, and I do not know how to respond.
I’m dating. He’s a very nice man, and things are going in a wonderful direction. He is very understanding about my emotional journey, and values the love that I have for my husband as an important part of my life, and therefore, should we continue (which it is likely that we will), will be a part of his life, too. He inspires me, makes me feel strong, makes me laugh. He has many of the wonderful qualities of CrabbyCancerMan, in a different way. Dating someone else does not diminish the loss I feel, but the loss I feel does not diminish my growing feelings for this man. What a fascinating paradox.
I’m still figuring this dating and mourning thing out. It feels strange to post about going out on a date, because I feel like I’m flaunting my happiness to those who are still grieving (even though they have told me they are happy for me). I feel strange about posting when I especially miss CrabbyCancerMan because I don’t want to make the VeryNiceMan’s friends uncomfortable (yes, we are at a point where I am friends with some of his friends on Facebook, as he is friends with some of mine). Sometimes I want to post both thoughts on the same day. Sometimes I want to post them within the same hour. Everyone has told me that they understand, and it is okay, but I still keep myself from sharing either of these thoughts.
Valentine’s Day is on Friday, and tonight as I write this, I am accepting to myself – yes, CrabbyCancerWife, you can have two valentines.