Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis (bigger vector)
Originally uploaded by
Fuzzy Ink

My struggle at the moment is finding where I fit in. I feel so disconnected from people. I don't know where to turn. I need to find a place to be.

This afternoon I spent some time searching online for some kind of social group to join. I want to find a place, or opportunity, to meet other gay men for friendship. I want to be able to meet other men without the perception that I am looking for romance.

In my search today I was looking for something like a gay writers workshop. I didn't find anything, but I will keep looking. I figured that if I could find a social group that meets occasionally regarding a common interest, then there wouldn't be the pressure, or expectation, that I was there looking for someone to date. I did find a few gay dads groups, but each time I began reading the description it often described activities for couples.

I then tried to see if there was anything for gay widowers, and to my dismay, all I found on google was my own blog. It turns out that what I set out to do has been successful. Many months ago I had gone searching for anything relating to gay widowers, and all I found was one book, written about 15 years ago. While I ordered the book, and found it quite helpful, I still needed more. As I found nothing, I decided to start this blog as a way to cope, and as a place where other gay widowers could turn to. It's ironic that now that I go looking again, all I find is me.

If I google gay widower, I find me. If I google gay grief, there I am. Gay bereavement anyone? How about 'Dan, in real time.' The irony of course is that I feel as though I don't know who I am anymore. Yet, online I have a very clear identity. I am the gay widowed blogger. And while I am proud that what I set out to do has come to fruition, I start to wonder, is that all I am?

I find myself feeling all alone out here. I feel alone in the sense that I don't know where to go to feel part of something. I value the relationships I have formed through this blog, yet I can't rely solely on my Internet friendships. I need to have connections where I live. I need to have a place to go when I want to be somewhere other than in my own home. I need friendships, but I've never really good at making friends. In the past I have relied on meeting people either while in school, or at work. For the most part, I am a homebody. When I go out in social situations I tend to be somewhat of a wallflower. This is what Michael and I had in common. Neither of us felt that confident in social situations. Neither of us enjoyed being out there when single. Finding each other felt like a fluke. We were both shy individuals who happened to connect on one fateful night.

Now I find myself in a uncomfortable situation. I need to meet other people. I still feel married. I am terribly depressed. I am a widower. Where do I begin? And when it comes down to it, it's not like I have lots of free time to put myself out there anyway. I am once again the single dad of three kids. I have four therapy appointments a week to get me or the kids to, guitar lessons, martial arts classes, religion classes, work, school carpool and grief support group. All of this in the course of one week, and I haven't even mentioned any of the daily at home responsibilities.

Married life was quite compatible with me. It suited me fine. I loved being married. I'm an old fashioned kind of guy. I don't need, or want, big city living. I don't want to be out at night. I don't want to be standing in a bar listening to loud pulsating music. Been there, done that. Yet, what choice do I have? If I don't venture out I will never have to opportunity to relate to another individual in person. My kids are going to grow very tired of seeing me sitting on the couch of my living room. I can hear them now, "what are you doing with your life?" "Get out and do something."

I also have to wonder, other than another widower, who is going to want me around? Misery loves company. I am pretty miserable. I need other miserable people to socialize with.

I'm not yet in a space where I have the energy to put on a happy face. I'm tired. I'm sad. I'm pretty pitiful. Maybe I need to place a personal ad.

"Gay widower, sad, depressed, cries throughout the day, poor eating habits, busy life, hates being away from home, obsesses about his deceased husband, slowly becoming more and more out of shape. Call me."


  1. i'm sorry you feel so alone. it's like the saying, "alone in a crowd." you have such a busy life and i'm sure you talk through the day but it is the casual exchanges, well, until your grief support group. but, like me, you have no friend to call on to come over and sit and talk to face to face, or cry in front of and feel that human connection.

    for contact with the world i have my daughter and our mondays. it totals about 15 - 20 hours a month that i can be with her and be out of the apartment. it's poignant to me but it's like when my Dragon died, the world forgot i was still here. i have this online connection and i know if i never wrote again i would be missed but it's not the same thing. just not the same thing at all.

    i hope you can find a friend to hang with, someone who understands your pain so that you do not feel so alone. someone like Nilsson's lyrics from "The Puppy Song," the second verse, you already have furry friends.

    btw i love your music and would like for you to educate me on how you put it up. i have a favorite piece, Beethoven's #7 - 2nd Move. Allegretto that i think would be nice.

  2. Again, you've written so well about an issue that probably hits home for many who are reading your blog. I wonder how many of us belong to the shy homebody wallflower group who don't find it easy to make new friends? A group of people who lost their best and only real friend.
    I keep wondering what "group" I belong to? Widows? Nerdy-naturalists? Canoe and hiking crazies? Photographers? I sort of fit in with various groups, but not really any. The "sad widow" aspect puts a whole other spin on things.

  3. To put music on your blog go to It's a simple process of registering, then you search their site for the songs, and add them to your playlist. Once you have the music choices listed in you playlist you hit the url, or embedded, link. It will take you to a screen where you select blogger, then add your blogger user name (which for me is my email address), password, your blog web address ( for me), then hit the "post" link. It will then show up on your blog. Every time you go back to to change, or add new music, it will automatically update the playlist on your blog. Good luck.

  4. I can empathize with this, about being the homebody, or losing ones best freind as well as lover when ones partner passes. I was/am a loner, so we had our own little world going, in our relationship.

    But we'd go out a lot together, to listen to live music of various sorts, and its awkward doing that now, for me. The absence is more acute when in situations like that.

  5. Dan, this post also really hit home for me. Right now I am trying to figure out what I am exactly too. I was involved in a relationship but now that Sam has moved over four hours away, I'm back to what I was before - a sad, depressed, widow/divorcee who wants to be living with someone.

    Maybe you can call the membership contact for one of the gay dad's groups? Maybe they could offer suggestions? Might your therapist have some ideas? I really feel for you. It is not so easy to "find" a social group.

    Your personal ad is hysterical! I just read suggestions to people reentering the dating scene. The #1 advice is to be upbeat, happy and positive! I laughed at this because any social group I would want to be involved in right now would have to accept and allow me to be down.

    Changing the subject, I have always felt right from the start that you were accomplishing great things and paving the way with your blog.

  6. thank you, Dan. i did it and selected 4 songs that mean a lot to me.

  7. I want you each to know how much I appreciate being part of this online community, and that you continue to share your thoughts with me.

  8. As you know Dan I am at a loss without Erika and it makes me feel I am not alone when I read Identity Crisis. I also seem to find it hard to fit. Just do not know where to turn or go in my life. I thought I could stay focused on my job but the Dec of that same year of Erika's passing the company we relocated here for closed down. Even our dog we got from the pound passed away a few months after her death. Erika cried so hard one day... the thought of leaving me alone. She knew me better than I..on how hard it would be without her. I would not except her not being with me ever.. just was not prepared. Who really is?? When she died in front of me... surprised I stayed calm all those hours talking to her knowing this was it.. our last moment together.. We was alone.her and I and the nurses standing by. Driving home in the cold rain that night it hit me and I was crying as hard as it was raining.. not sure how I even got home. It was like an out of body experience what I no I thought.. this is not Erika is OK!! Now... trying to move on and see if I can love again.. I look on the dating sites and most only wants someone up to 55 and I am 58! Then I think who would want to meet me? I do not even have a job and to deal with my own illness..then I get a feeling of panic..thinking to myself what am I even doing here? Again the wave of emotions comes over me "This is not real it is not happening"!!! No one to one to turn to..when I have cried on the phone to friends even back home..they have to go. I look at the faces for a connection and then I look at Erika's photo looking back at me. At that moment I go off the dating site and log into the site I made for her and write to her needing her comfort of hearing her voice saying "there..there it will be alright". Asking her to help me get through another day. There I feel I have a place to go to her. She never had a service because we know of no one here and I so want to go back home to put her to rest and to make plans that I will be with her someday but again without a job moving is not an option. I google Erika's name and the memorial site I have for her comes to the top. I type in her name just looking for her. I try to connect on facebook with people to keep my depression somewhat in control and that I do not slide further down alone and I am going to counseling also. I went to a Lesbian pot luck and sat in a chair. Most were couples and I felt like a 3rd wheel. When someone did ask I say I am a widow and they ask what happened as I am talking about Erika I can tell they can see my pain. I just can not hide it. It makes one who is talking not knowing what to say. I found myself leaving the party driving home crying out out.."why Erika why"?..."God why did she have to die"??? I know not many here and they have no time for me not even checking in on me on the past holidays(So much for gay community). Like you.. I am alone and I need that human touch to be held and told will be alright. What I really need is Erika..but again that is not an it? Thanks for sharing help to validate my feelings too. Hugs Kay

  9. Kay, you touch my heart. The way you express yourself here feels oh so familiar. I keep finding myself thinking the illogical, like how can I take away this persons pain. I wish I didn't know what you are going through, and yet I do. This all feels so crazy. I try not to ask too much of the 'why me's' or 'why her' but it's hard not to. I think about you and your Erika each day. I love seeing your smiling face of Facebook. You remind me to smile. Even though this is all so difficult, I admire how much effort you put into rebuilding your spirit.

    Love. Dan

  10. Thank you Dan and my smiling face comes and goes. Friends keeps telling me you don't smile in your photos so I grab the camera and take God knows how many photos to get that smile. I try to find humor within my pain and sometimes it will break out. Erika always laughed at me.. she said I missed my calling and she thought I was funnier than Ellen. I loved making her laugh.. her laughter was loud and contagious. She laugh at me and I laugh at her because of her laughing at me. Awww Dan I am having a hard time. It seems one holiday gets by and then another wave of sorrow comes. March 7 is coming the wave is coming and I can not stop it. The Ocean swell of sorrow is coming and I feel the waves hitting and it will take me under again. Sending Love to you also. "Hang onto the boat for us Captain Dan. I don't want to stay under."