They say that timing is everything. When one loses a spouse, a phrase you often hear is you’ll know once “an appropriate time has passed. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I’m not sure why. We all knew that Lori was dying, but our constant thoughts and actions was doing things to make Lori comfortable and doing things that Lori wanted to do. Never did I think or entertain plans for what I would do after she passed away.
One month after Lori passed away, I disposed of her socks and underwear, because I felt that an appropriate amount of time had passed, and also thinking practically, who would want them?
Two months after Lori passed away, I took off my wedding ring. That was a hard step, but felt that an appropriate amount of time had passed. I took it off the morning I flew to Lake Tahoe, but put it in my carry-on bag in case I changed my mind. It still sits on my nightstand, but again; I felt an appropriate amount of time had passed.
Among Lori’s last wishes was for her clothing to be donated to charity. I haven’t done that yet, simply because I haven’t felt ready to do it. I did give her mother a couple of items last month, but all I’ve done, is move her clothes to the closet in the guest bedroom so I wouldn’t have to look at them everyday. I suppose I will know once that appropriate time has passed.
My grief counselor frowned upon the shrine I put in my living room. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a shrine, but when I showed her the picture she said that I should gradually move items such as this to an area less public in my house. I fired that counselor because the appropriate amount of time had passed and didn’t feel anyone should tell me how to decorate my home.
And then comes the question about dating and re-marriage. What is an appropriate amount of time. I wish someone had written a manual on how to become a widower at the age of 39, but no one did and the experience is different for everyone. I’ve had people make very well meaning statements such as:
When you decide to get married again, be sure to invite me to the wedding.
You’ll make a great catch for some lucky lady, you have a nice home, a good job and no baggage. Note to others, I have baggage, lots of baggage.
Oh, you’ll get married again. You’re too young not to.
I was given some very sage advice from a long-time friend, and it’s something that I do think about. He said to me that I would date again and possibly get married, but he told me I needed to decide if I wanted to be a parent or step-parent. I remember looking at him funny and he let me know that chances were that if I got involved in another relationship, probability was high that she would likely already have children, or I would become some kind of “cradle robber” who would want to have children. Pretty heavy stuff.
Fact is, for me, that appropriate amount of time has not passed to start dating. I’m still in the middle of mourning and remembering. I can be a clueless fellow, I have been hit on and pursued, but had not realized it at the time. The other fact is this, I don’t know how to date in the 21st century, the world has changed since the last time I asked someone out on a date. I didn’t even ask Lori out on our first date, we were set up!
So, what is the answer to when an appropriate amount of time has passed. There is no answer. It’s different for everyone. I’ll let everyone know when that time is right for me.