…… too much?
You’ll have to bear with me …… because just asking this makes me cry.
I wonder …… do I mention Jim too much?
Not in everyday conversation with friends.
But in conversations with other men.
I have to pause every time I type that question …… because I really am shedding tears.
Jim is as much a part of me, as I am a part of me.
We met when we were 20.
We married when he was 23 and I was one month shy of 23.
We grew up together.
We thought we’d grow old together.
We really did grow up together.
We married one year after we graduated from college.
We were babies.
Though we didn’t know it.
And would’ve bristled at that thought.
We became parents at the age of 24.
We were so young.
We had our whole lives in front of us.
Or so we thought.
So now, when I find myself getting to know someone …… specifically, a man …… I find myself talking about Jim.
Not a lot.
But when a man shares a memory with me …… a memory that Jim shared with me …… I talk about that.
When someone shares something in common with Jim, I comment on it.
It’s not that I’m comparing the two men. I truly am not doing that.
It’s just that my past and Jim’s past are so intertwined, that I can’t help but identify with someone …… even if it’s from Jim’s identity.
Does this even make sense to anyone?
When a guy tells me that he loved growing up in a very small town, I can totally relate, because Jim loved that, too.
And I say that.
When a guy tells me that he loves “Caddy Shack”, I tell him that Jim did, too, and I recite Jim’s favorite line from that movie.
Is that too much?
It doesn’t feel like it …… at the time.
We grew up together. His past is intertwined with mine.
I’m not comparing one man with Jim.
I’m just noting what they have/had in common.
It feels natural.
But then I stop …… and wonder.
Does a man really want to hear about another?
Does a man realize that it’s not a comparison, but a likeness?
I don’t know.
I hope so, but I don’t know.
Yes, of course I miss Jim.
With all of my being ….. with all of my heart and soul …… I miss him.
But I don’t expect to find him in the form of another man.
I try not to compare them.
In mentioning him, I’m just thinking of the ways that they’re alike.
Which is a positive thing.
In my opinion.
But in the eyes of another man …… I don’t know.
Is it too much?
Should I stuff every memory of Jim way down inside?
Should I work hard to refrain from mentioning him …… and anything that they might have in common?
Should I shut the door on common memories?
I have to admit …… that I hate this part of “dating” …… of getting to know someone else.
I hate that I have to stop and re-think my natural response.
I hate that I feel like I should censor anything about Jim.
And I especially hate that I find myself in this position.
That, because he’s dead, I’m meeting men.
But there I am.
Trying to figure out what to say.
Trying to figure out what to share.
Trying to figure out what not to say.
Trying to figure out what not to share.
This is not where I was supposed to be.
This is not what I was supposed to experience.
But here I am.
It is what it is.
And I’m doing my best.
My best includes mentioning Jim.
It always will.
Maybe I’ll meet a man who’s ok with that.
Maybe I won’t.
Either way …… I’ll be ok.
It is what it is.