Megan had not only given me permission to "move on" again once she was gone, she had outright demanded it, years before she died. She refused to take my heart with her, leaving a hole in me that could never be filled. This is why, in the deepest pit of my soul, I believe she has brought someone new into my life in the best way possible: unexpectedly.
By random occurrence, I have met a new woman. I wasn't out looking for a date, or even looking at women as something desirable or needed, when she just happened to sit down next to me at a bar where I was hanging out with some mutual friends. I was completely numb at the time, with no desire to interact with anyone, so I was just gritting my teeth and trying to act "normal" by making small talk.
Then she sat down. Damn.
We exchanged a few cordial "get to know the basics" questions, and immediately became fast friends. Although completely platonic, I was blindsided by a connection that I had never expected to occur. Suddenly, I was transported back to December 10th, 2002, when I walked into a Kay-Bee toy store, met Megan, and unexpectedly, my whole journey began over a cash register, pudding cups, and Van Wilder in her mother's basement.
Since that time, this new woman and I have talked every day, sometimes for hours on end. The connection we found at that bar has only grown, without any signs of slowing. I am again faced with a question that is confusing to me, albeit in a newly pleasant way, and that is "what would Megan think?"
Our relationship has matured, and we have committed to each other. She gets me, my story, and understands it all, just as I get her, and her story. We know for a fact that Megan is a part of this relationship, and we BOTH cherish her and wish she was here. A better person could not have found me. She has encouraged me to love Megan even more, and I do.
I am truly and deeply happy, for the first time in well over a year. Though Megan died only four short months ago, she was "dying" long before that, so my happiness was put on hold when it began, and obliterated when she died. She knew this. It's why we had the final "talk" in June, when she was admitted for her last 6 month stay.
I am truly sympathetic to all widows that did not have this "luxury" of knowing their dead partner's wishes before they died. Though incredibly hard to swallow at the time, Megan said these exact words to me as she lay dying in a hospital bed in Cleveland:
"Don't you dare sit around by yourself if I die. You need someone else. Now go get me some broccoli and cheese soup downstairs"
That was Megan. Frank, to the point, then shifting gears into bossing me around. She was a goddamned master of living in the moment, influencing the future, and always being right. That is why I don't feel guilty in the slightest about being happy with a wonderful woman other than my wife. It is a powerful reality of my heart, and my mind. Of course, I am still a logical, cynical person at my core, and I know that opening myself up to this could result in a crash of epic proportions. I am still completely terrified of that happening, because it's been over a decade since I took this kind of risk.
I still reflect upon the absence of Megan every day, but there has been somewhat of a shift in that perspective. I've gone past the "acceptance" stage of losing her. She's dead. No sugar coating it. What I pine for the most about her is our friendship. It isn't the affection, her sharp wit, her motherly instincts, and her uncanny ability to be strong in the face of death. It is her friendship that I miss right now. I want her to appear, when I am with this new woman, smile, give me a high five, and say "about damn time, idiot, she's magnificent"
How strange is that? To know that I am falling for another woman, and to want my dead wife to be not only pleased about it but present to witness what is happening? Honestly, given some of the signs I've seen since meeting this new woman, I'm positive that it was Megan that made sure I was sitting at that bar, and that there was a seat left open beside me. She expected it, she wanted it, and she made it happen.
I love Megan even more for bringing someone new into my life at just the right, unexpected time, and that is key. 12 years ago, Megan and I crashed into each other like a freight train, and though I'm now left without her in the physical world, she continues to surprise me in whatever ethereal world she exists in now. I am still putting blind faith into everything about her, and expecting the unexpected.
There is so much more for me to say about all of this. For now, I am content in the belief that Megan has my back, and she's going to make sure I'm happy. I just wish she was here to share it with. I miss my best friend and partner-in-crime, poking fun at me, but also being happy for me.