Recently, I was told of a widowed father who was married within one year of losing his wife. The story was told with the tones of scandal and betrayal. It was insinuated that if this poor man had truly loved his wife, he wouldn't have remarried so quickly or 'easily'.
I have heard stories such as this a few times since Jeff died. I have understood the implications of people not in our shoes that remaining single after losing your mate to death shows the outside world something of your feelings surrounding the loss of your mate.
But none of us widowed people seem to stand up very often and say, "Hold on a minute! I understand the impetus that propelled that person."
We are all too ashamed or embarrassed by the memories of our own desires and hopes that finding someone to love us or fill the gap of the parent that our children/families would soothe our hearts.
I remember that before Jeff died we'd occasionally talk about what we'd do if/when the other person died. I SWORE I would never want to physically share a bed with another man. I truly believed it.
But when Jeff died, I longed to have someone hold me. I most certainly wished it could be Jeff....but since he was dead, I would cast my eyes about searching, hoping, needing the comfort that another body can provide. I would take inventory of my single male friends and wonder if they could/would protect me and my kids. If any of them would touch me and hold me and love me.
Of course, the people that I spent most of my time with wouldn't have understood this need - so I kept quiet.
But now when I speak to other widow/ers, those dark, early days are sometimes dredged up into conversation. And it seems to be pretty universal. We all long to have someone to hold us. To smooth down our hair. To love us. To watch over us.
And in the absence of the one we truly want, I am sure that occasionally the "stand-in" can fall into a small space made where the huge void developed. And maybe that is love. A new love.
I know that no one should judge this. It just is. And if it brings comfort and soothes a broken heart, who is anyone to say if it is "right" or "wrong".