You are not going to believe this, people…but I got asked out on a date. By the cute landscaper who came by to give me an estimate on some projects (and who I know is far too young for me).
I won’t be sharing a budding love story here. I haven’t been on the date yet. And initially, I didn’t even take “plant guy” up on the offer because I thought he was just buttering me up so I’d hire him.
What I am going to talk about is how it completely blew my weekend apart. I could not think straight. I forgot about the things I had planned to do; pacing around the house like in the early days of grief. I woke up every night around 3am, with my heart pounding. Crying on and off all weekend. Deep sobs about the fact that I got asked out on a date. Deep sobs about the reason behind my “eligibility” to date. After all, not too long ago, I was married to the best kisser, hand-holder, foot massager in the world…well, in my world. My husband was my world. The only reason I am even considering a date is because he’s no longer in it.
But I’m pretty sure that any widow who has had this particular “first”, knows all about what happens after your world has exploded, and you slowly start picking up the pieces. There are many, many aftershocks. I’m still wearing my heart on the outside of my chest. I’m still vulnerable, like a snail without a shell. In fact, after I told Plant Guy (and before he asked me out) which plants I needed removed, I started to feel sick to my stomach because we were talking about taking some things out that my husband had planted. Who am I to change the garden we created together? It felt like a betrayal. And a date? Talk about the ultimate betrayal.
See, these roots, of a marriage, of a union that ended prematurely, they are very tender and delicate. They remain entwined. And they still bleed. Even if you go to your massage therapist and talk about wanting to move forward, with your heart open, you do it with a lump in your throat, every step forward a shaky one, a quaky one. There is simply no way to move toward new things, without letting go of some of the old things. Without releasing that white-knuckled grip on what you lost, one bloody, clenched finger at a time.
It was just over a year ago that I wrote what would become my first official blog post. I wrote about digging up an invasive ornamental grass that my husband had planted. There were residual stalks that shot up again this year…Plant Guy told me that his staff actually break shovels digging the roots out. So apparently my struggles last year weren’t just dramatics!
Those are some tough, tough roots. One of my favorite plants is the bleeding heart. So delicate and vulnerable. There is room for both of these in a garden. In this life. The tough and the delicate growing together in a fully tangled embrace of roots, shoots, and bloody grit. So I am moving forward with changes. Big ones, little ones…knowing that I can still get bruised.
Who am I to change our garden?! Who am I not to. The dear, sweet men that I lost last year would want me to keep living, growing, feeling, faltering, and shining. For me. For them. For the love of this precious and unpredictable life.
I don’t know where things will go in the next little while. The garden isn’t the only thing I’m pushing toward new growth. I’m opening myself up to new things. New places. New people. Heart forward. I don’t know if my “date” will become anything more than an important “first”…but I do know that there is actually a love story here…the story that was told in this blog.
And it’s coming to an end.
Not in my heart, of course, but in my sharing of that story, here.
I can’t even begin to explain how much it helped me last year, to write. Thank you, to all of you who read, commented, and were so kind, and supportive in this virtual sharing of my losses, and of the painful processing of my grief.
I cant even begin to tell you how much you sharing your grief has helped me with mine. I want to beg you to change your mind but you know best what is right for you. Thank you for al you have done for ME as our husbands died only weeks apart and we were on the same journey, you just able to express it and me to feel validated as I read it. I wish you all good things and again, thank you for all you have done….which you may never know. I don’t know tht I will ever be happy again but hope to get to the place you are….not happy, but willing to take baby steps back into life. All the best.
Cathy, thank you for your comment. I can’t help but feel a strong connection to you through our losses. I am glad that my writing helped you. Healing is so different for everyone…and I am certainly not through grieving yet, but I started to feel like my writing was cycling through the same things, and that it wasn’t helping me move forward anymore…maybe it will change, but for now…wishing you all the best as well. Sending a big hug.
I will miss you, and your writing. I wish healing and happiness for you. As small and intertwined as our city is, I fully expect one day that we will meet in person. My best to you.
Bittersweet. I feel a profound connection to you because I found your blog at the beginning of my descent into the grief hole. You have helped me so much, too. I have to ask – will you stop writing here altogether or just close the topic of grief? I’ll miss you and your metaphors and beautiful writing. I understand. Choosing to move forward is to inherently leave things behind, it’s a necessary part of life. I wish you the best as you move into hope and new journeys. You are so very right, they want us to continue to grow and enjoy the possibilities for the rest of our lives. Love to you!
Also, bleeding hearts are one of my favorite spring flowers. Those and lilies of the valley.
I know I echo the sentiments of other readers: we would love to keep reading your words even as you transition into the next phase of your journey. But of course, everything has a season. Blessings to you.
Bittersweet is finitely the right word for widow’s to use for situations like your garden project. And misplaced guilt for moving on. I don’t think of my own love story as having an end. It’s changed planes, yes, but as long as I have a heart there will be room in there for my old love and any new experiences that might come along. I’m so glad you are beginning to see new growth in you life!
This seems like a quiet giant transition. Congratulations is too loud a word but you know what I mean.
Bow of gratitude for sharing your self in real time through this heart aching time. You touched my heart very deeply with your words and ability to put them together. Blessings on your head and your next unfoldings.
I am so delighted to read about this tender new beginning of a new experience. I need to tell you that your garden metaphor has helped me, too, so very much. I have just hit the year anniversary of the third of the three losses I experienced last year. And I had this thought that the one year plus one day should begin a new phase. I’m not sure yet what that will look like, but your story of the cohabitation of the fragile bleeding heart plant and the plant with the tough roots is a comfort as I, too, enter a new cycle of healing.
It is heartening to read of the transitions that are happening for you. I am forever appreciative of your candid sharing of your feelings, that in turn help those of us also grieving to perhaps see what we go through as well.
Sending hugs and good wishes.