Start dating after widowed

The path that led me from wife to widow had been long, crooked, and painful.I had spent the previous two years watching my husband fight, with grace and heartbreaking optimism, a rare and aggressive form of esophageal cancer.I asked questions in oncologists' offices and took notes.I cried on the phone to impassive health insurance bureaucrats.At a young age, I concluded that widows were different from other women, set apart, other. Not long ago, I met a man with whom I instantly hit it off.A friend of a friend, he looked me up when he was traveling through New York from Europe.Yet when I started dating, widowhood became the woolly mammoth in the room--guys would try to avoid the subject completely.

Part of me wanted to shake him when he complained of routine problems, to make him put things in perspective.

When his cancer briefly disappeared, I rejoiced with him; when it reappeared, we despaired together.

I rode beside him in ambulances to emergency rooms late at night.

Other men, once they learned of my history, avoided me altogether.

As soon as I'd get comfortable enough with them to talk about it, usually after a few dates, they'd pull away--no more e-mails or calls.

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