A Gift ……

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…… that sure didn’t seem like one.
At the time.
Until it did.

Loneliness is something that a lot of people worry about. And something a lot of widowed people experience.

With the approaching arrival of our first granddaughter, Jim has been on my mind. A lot.
I mean, he’s almost always on my mind, but these days it’s more often. I find myself missing being able to talk to him about this birth and the one in March of our grandson. The missing of him and the missing of being able to share this with him is palpable.

As most of you know, I dated twice after Jim died. Seriously.
Neither worked out (duh). In fact, the second relationship was a disaster and he was the worst person I’ve ever met (though he sure hid that well in the beginning).
But he did leave me with something. Something that I knew, without a doubt, I’d have with me for the rest of my life.
At first I was beyond pissed over this. Then sad. Very sad.
But today? Not so much.
Today I consider it kind of like a gift.

What was it?
The knowledge that I would most likely never date again and that I would never re-marry.

I know, I know. That doesn’t seem like a gift.
But it feels like it now.
Most of the time.

It feels freeing …… to not be dating and to not feel like I’m missing anything.
It feels freeing to not want to date.
It’s difficult to explain this. Because most people want to be in a relationship.
Most people spend a lot of time and energy looking for “their person”.
And I don’t think that’s wrong. Everyone needs to do what’s best for them.
Being single …… being alone …… isn’t for everyone.
Just as being in a relationship …… being married …… isn’t for everyone.

I think this probably seems strange to people because the people who know me, who knew us, know that we had a good marriage.
A very good marriage.
And it would seem that I’d want that again.

I did at first.
And then I didn’t.
Because the one thing that those relationships taught me is this:
It’s much better to be single than to be with the wrong person.
Whether that person is good, or not, doesn’t matter …… if he’s wrong for you.

I guess that’s another part of the “gift”.
I can be happy being single because there are way worse things.
And it taught me that being alone doesn’t always mean being lonely.

It also cemented the knowledge that what I had with Jim is something that many people will never experience.
And that knowledge makes me happy.
(That I had it, not that most people won’t. That makes me sad.)

I think it’s also what makes me not feel lonely while being alone.
The memories, the love, the knowledge …… make me feel content.
And that is a gift, indeed.

So while I do miss him, sometimes more than I can stand …… I know that his love is still with me.
I know that I had something really great.
And I know that’s rare.

I guess a gift is in the eye of the beholder.

9 thoughts on “A Gift ……

  1. Malinn Saxe

    Janine, when I see all the many wonderful things that you do in New York, I admire you! I admire that you are Independent and that you get out and seem to find joy in the things that you do! Can’t imagine facing the reality of being single from now on – and yet Jim was such a gift that I’m sure cannot ever “measure” to any other person! You are going to be so busy with more grandchildren – I know you will continue to have much joy!

    Reply
  2. Cindy Trammell

    I often wonder if I would date if something happened to Ben. Like you and Jim, Ben and I are blessed with loving to be together. I’d like to think that it would be enough to know that I had great love. So happy to hear that you are in a good place. One day, one year at a time, right! Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply
  3. pdoetaydoe

    Janine, I totally understand. I’ve been widowed now for almost 14 years. I may have mentioned this before, but I still carry your words with me in my wallet on a small piece of paper from a long ago post that says: “And I know that if I were to never have that again, I’d be ok. I’d be more than ok. But I will not settle for less. Because it’s better to have no relationship, than to settle for less than you want …. or need.” I too had been involved in a relationship that was not a good one, and those words helped me through it. But I do not regret that bad relationship because I learned so much from it. Thank you again for your words of wisdom!!

    Reply
  4. Sharon Ellis McCuistian

    I have followed you since I was first widowed in 2012. I found you on a blog that at the moment I can’t even remember the name of. A different widowed person wrote a post each day of the week. When you wrote about moving to NYC, you opened up my world to all the possibilities for my life!! I have remarried a man who I was friends with in high school. We are very happy. But, I know that if this new marriage hadn’t happened for me, I would not have dated!! I like to think that like you, I would be living a wonderful life on my own!! You continue to inspire me!!

    Reply
  5. Sharon Ellis McCuistian

    When you first wrote about moving to NYC years ago, you opened up my world to the plentiful possibilities in my life!! I found you in 2012 when I became a widow!! I have since remarried a man who is a friend from high school. I know that if this new relationship hadn’t happened for me, I would have had a very hard time dating men that I didn’t know. I like to think that if I hadn’t remarried, I would be like you- living a wonderful life on my own. You continue to inspire me. I wish you nothing but the best!!!

    Reply
  6. Maureen Sipp

    Hi Janine…..Thank you so much for continuing to post. I love reading everything you write and it always hits home.
    Maureen

    Reply
  7. glenda1203

    My mother was widowed at 47 after 28 yrs of marriage. She never remarried and remained widowed for another 28 yrs until she passed. She told me her greatest love of her life was my dad. She never felt like she was missing anything.

    Reply
  8. Lorraine

    Janine, I am tracking with you on so many levels, except I chose not to date. I had the love of my life for 35 years, and I am content. Grandbaby #1 is due this summer, and while I miss having my hubs here to share in that, I will embrace life as it is. Always enjoy your posts!

    Reply

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