I was talking with a friend the other day about new love after being widowed and it got me reflecting on the idea. I ended up describing to her how my fiance and my now boyfriend are like two different colors of love. I really liked this idea the more I thought about it…
There is no color in the spectrum that is better or worse, more or less, than any other. And loving another after loss is just the same. I’ve now been with Mike for a little over 3 years… roughly the same amount of time I had with Drew before he died. Having had about the same amount of time to grow with each of these men, I can say for certain they each have their own distinct color. By that I mean the feeling of them has a color to me. Their personalities and demeanor, while having many similarities, are still quite different.
Drew is most definitely a soft blue to me. He was a pilot who was always dreaming of flying when he wasn’t up in the clouds. His eyes were blue. He wore blue plaid shirts more often than not. It wasn’t just those things, but something about his personality. There was a lightness about him most of the time. A feeling that he was always dreaming about things he loved, or things he wanted to do one day. He was quieter, and calmer, than me… more introverted and often happiest to sit back and just watch things going on. He was an idea person, and often gave me wonderful ideas for my art - but rarely did he have interest in hands-on creativity himself. And though there were stormy skies in some periods and those blues sometimes darkened, he never seemed to be any other color to me. In every sense, he seemed like the blue of the skies and oceans.
Mike on the other hand, is very much the color red in my mind. Apart from being his favorite color, and the color of just about everything in Ohio from their state fruit or bird to their University colors… his personality is quite red. He is sensitive, and passionate, and very full-steam ahead about things. He has a vibrant, more extroverted energy and is more interested in being a part of things than observing from a distance. We can both be very high-energy and sometimes we butt heads because of it, but it’s taught us how to both be calmer, and listen to each other better, in the process. I think of him often as a cardinal - bright and full of energy and ready to show his colors. Or sometimes as a volcano, churning with a vibrant creative energy under the surface that is often looking for new outlets.
I love each of these colors equally. Each one mixes with my world to make a beautiful masterpiece of the life we share together. What each has brought has colored a specific and very different world, but that’s the beauty of it all. The world Drew and I painted together and the world Mike and I are painting together are just as stunning. Some of their colors are even sprinkled into the other's painting, as each of them has impacted the other in wonderful ways over time. If they were physical paintings... at the end of my life, these two worlds would be displayed on gallery walls - not one in front of the other, but beside each other - as part of the entire series of my still beautiful life.
It was hard to love again when I first met Mike. It was scary to open myself up to the potential of loss and grief and pain all over again. It was terrifying to worry that I would lose Drew more somehow by loving Mike (happily, that did not happen in the least.) There is just no way for it to not be scary. Even three years later it's still scary. You never forget that it could all disappear tomorrow. Over time though, I've learned the best thing to do is to just keep on painting this crazy life, and keep letting in all the color you can.