“Would you like to go out for dinner?” It seemed innocent enough. Just two people who know each other, sharing a meal instead of eating alone. (I didn’t realise at the time that I was heading for a disaster. 😕)
I’ll get back to that story, because this post is about the whole ‘dating thing’ after losing a partner. I’ve never been one to shy away from controversial topics (evidenced by Should You View Your Loved One in a Coffin, and Is All Grief the Same)….however I’ve been putting this topic on the back burner for a long time.
Why? Because ‘re-partnering’ is a massive topic. Because it can open a door to judgmental opinions. Because I would need to ‘bare my soul’ and share stuff that I’ve kept tucked away. And because it really doesn’t apply to me….or does it?
I couldn’t have imagined ever having to consider this. When Norbert died, it was like I entered into a strange alternative universe, having to make decisions like what he would wear in the coffin. And then I was asked “What would you like to do with his ashes?”
Seriously? I mean…whoever thinks about this! What a gut-wrenching decision! There is one right answer though, and discussing this sad subject with others has helped me to realise what that right answer is.
Whatever you do, don’t take MY lead in this important decision. I mean, I sent my husband into the afterlife with no underwear on! Yes, you read that right. He attended his own funeral….COMMANDO! 😂
I’m not giving myself a hard time about it though. When the person you love dies suddenly, there is so much you are not prepared for, but I was particularly unprepared when the Funeral Director said “Can you please bring in a set of clothing for Norbert to wear for his funeral.”
I wasn’t planning on writing anything about the COVID-19 global pandemic because… well….I’m more focussed on surviving grief and the loss of a loved one, and how to deal with that kind of personal nightmare. But then all of a sudden the penny dropped.
“You idiot!” I said to myself while rolling my eyes and smacking my forehead, “The whole WORLD is grieving!!!!”
As a widow who lives alone, I’m actually doing OK through this global upheaval, and when others ask how I’m coping, I say “I’m fine. I’ve had some practice.”
This is because I already know what it is like to have everything you thought you knew, snatched away.
Over time I’ve developed coping mechanisms and I’ve made a list of 6 of these which have particularly helped me. I thought I’d share my list as it might help others. 💔
I have always put in too many hours sitting in front of my computer. It used to be a major part of my work-life but even after I retired I seemed to find activities that would end up with me hunched over a keyboard, inviting an aching neck and shoulders. Still do! 🙂
I also remember many times while I was immersed in my work at the desk that I would feel strong hands coming from behind me, deftly massaging the tight muscles. “You’re working too hard,” my husband Norbert would say while his fingers found the knots in my neck. “You need a break. Why don’t you stop for a coffee?”
Oh, how I miss loving hands on my shoulders. I miss the “You’ll be OK” hug when I was feeling down. I miss the peck on the cheek as he ran out the door. I miss hugging him. And I miss intimacy.
This post isn’t meant to be a maudlin list of everything I’ve lost since Norbert died though, as I like to keep things a lot more pragmatic and useful. The loss of touch though is…well….a touchy subject! If you no longer have your partner it’s not a craving that is easily replaced.
There are some things you can do that make the loss of touch a little less brutal though. Nothing will fill the gap left by your loved one, but some things might help.