Megan and I bought our home in June of 2005. For nine years, it was “our” home. I had the outdoor spaces...lawn care, gardening, the garage, and landscaping were all mine to take care of and shape into something I enjoyed. Megan had the inside. Knick-knacks and decorations, paint colors, organization, and general decor were hers.
The system worked. I’m not exactly an interior designer, and she wasn’t exactly a farmer. We both appreciated and enjoyed what each other had done with their respective spaces, and there weren’t any conflicts. We complimented each other well.
It would be all too easy to just “mothball” what she had done with the inside of the house. Her decor was pretty much set already when she died. We hadn’t been talking about doing anything in particular with paint or furniture before the transplant rejection set in, so I was content that she was happy with what she had done up to that point.
I’ve followed a somewhat standard path in my adult years. Megan and I met in 2002, married and bought a house in 2005, and had Shelby in 2007. Notwithstanding her illness and the extra events associated with it, we had followed a fairly “textbook” sequence of events. We were effectively playing the “Game of Life”, spinning the wheel, and seeing where we landed.
We took vacations, attended school events, and explored new and interesting things in our city all of the time. I worked a 40 hour week, with good benefits and insurance, and came home to my little 1/6th acre in the suburbs and mowed the lawn, had a beer, and ate dinner with my family.
The elephant in the room, through our entire relationship, was the fact that she had Cystic Fibrosis, and likely wasn’t going to make it to 40 years old.
If you have followed Sarah and I’s writing over these months, you know that we’ve now met each other’s families. She traveled to Ohio a few weeks ago, for the first time, and upon arriving, we made sure to arrange time to specifically visit both my parents and Megan’s parents.
Terri, Megan’s mother, has sadly had to watch two of her children go because of Cystic Fibrosis. I cannot begin to imagine what that must be like. Yes, I’ve lost Megan, and I watched her younger brother Jason pass away, but they were not my children. She had known, raised, and loved both of them for their entire lives, and then they were gone.
Bringing Sarah to meet Terri was something then that caused me some anxiety. Not because I was worried that her and Sarah would not get along, or that they wouldn’t immediately begin talking, but because even if I haven’t experienced it myself, i know that Terri is still and will always be mourning Megan’s death. It would only be natural for her to see Sarah as a “replacement” that her son-in-law is bringing into the family, like some sort of distraction.
Just a few days ago, Sarah arrived here in Ohio to visit for the first time. This is something we have both been waiting months for. As our relationship grew over the phone and Skype, the discussion arose on when she would finally meet Shelby, my parents, and Megan’s parents.
When we first discussed, we agreed that now, in September, she would travel here for a day or two at most, cram in meeting the parents and an evening out with Shelby, before she and I departed for Toronto this weekend to attend Camp Widow.
That plan has significantly changed since that first discussion, and it has turned into two weeks in Shelby and I’s (and Megan’s) home, with four days at Camp Widow and a day in Niagara Falls. It has thus far been incredibly surreal. Shelby being Shelby, as soon as we stepped through the door into our house, she monopolized Sarah, and had to show her all around and introduce her to the dogs. This simply feels as if it’s a continuation of Shelby and I’s trip to Texas a month ago, only the sensory overload is even more present for Sarah.
I am in a very unique situation, not only being a widower, but in love with a widow. The silver lining to this is that it allows me to see things from two perspectives. I’ve decided that since Sarah hasn’t yet travelled to my home, I would write this week from the perspective of dating a widow. Things like meeting in-laws, friends, and seeing pictures of late partners can be a scary thought for anyone.
Perhaps my loss has tempered those anxious moments, but regardless, I would hope that any person that is dating someone who has suffered loss can feel the same comfort and respect that I experienced a few weeks ago, as well as return that reverence to those around them.
I’ve written a letter to Drew, Sarah’s late fiance about this. He deserves to have a word from me from this side.
New love and all the complicated, bizarre beauty of it has become the theme of late in my life and in my writing. A woman who read my blog post last week about Mike coming to visit and meet my in-laws for the first time, sent me a note about just this. Only her story is from another perspective. With her permission, I am sharing a bit of her story with you:Read more