I have often said that anyone whose spouse has died should receive an automatic, lifetime, get-out-of-jail-free card. This card would be used for things like avoiding leaking faucets, flat tires, broken fences, faulty plumbing, and critters stuck under the house or in the chimney. This all purpose pass should also free the bearer from: teenage temper tantrums, homework and school projects, cooking dinner every, single night, nosy neighbors, unsolicited advice, ugly break-ups, and pretty much any other difficult or trying situation...for the rest of our lives. Period. Right?
Currently I am working on my new relationship. Somehow I have forgotten that being a part of a duo is hard work. You have to communicate with someone other than yourself. You know what I mean...me, myself, and I have an on-going conversation about what needs to be done, when, and how (and we are always right). Turns out this kind of dialogue has to be spoken out loud. Huh. There is also the issue of space, both physical and personal. How did my closet morph from a two person place into a stuffed to the gills woman's clothing store? And WHERE will I ever put a man's things again? As far as personal space goes I've discovered that my widow self requires a larger amount of alone time than her pre-widowed counterpart. I am USED to doing things on my own. Another surprising development? I am tempted to give up on my relationship, often.
This last revelation has been really difficult to wrap my head around. I have never been a quitter. After Phil died I would have loved to quit everything, but I didn't have a choice if I was to continue being a mother. So, I soldiered on. Recently I have realized that when it comes to difficult situations, I feel I have already lived through my share of grief. Life has been hard enough. I don't need any added drama, thank you very much. So I am tempted to walk away from disagreements, from compromise, from looking at my own faults, and essentially from all the lessons that have been learned through loving and losing an amazing man. Somehow over the past four years I have decided that lonely and safe are synonyms.
And that is the one thing that helps me stay put. I know better. Deep down I know that love is worth the effort required to open my heart again. Love is worth giving up the iron tight control I exert over all things associated with my household. Love is worth making space for compromising, listening, and reevaluating. Love is worth the risk that it demands. Because when I am honest with myself I see that I am tempted to walk away because I am afraid. Can I live through losing a man I love again? Wouldn't it be easier to just be alone for good rather than making room in my life for love and the inherent risk that comes with it? What if I make all the adjustments necessary for a long and happy relationship only to face another untimely end?
Then I remember that the opportunity to love Phil was worth every tear I have cried since his death. I would go back and do it all again. Love is always worth the effort. So, with that thought in mind, I guess I won't throw in the towel this week ;)