Monday, September 27, 2010

Death and the Single Man


I was speaking with my new supervisor this morning. It was pretty much a going over the basic rules of the office meeting, but then turned into your basic getting to know you session. I was assigned to her unit toward the end of last week, so she and I had not really had time to get to know each until today. She was telling me about a bereavement task force she heads up at our office. It is meant to serve our peers, and our clients, who might be affected by loss. Her motivation was due to the loss of a close friend. Her friend was lesbian, and the surviving partner now has a new partner, who most feel happened a bit fast.

I shared with her that I was a gay widower, and active in the grieving community. She shared with me concerns about her friend's children, who their group of friends felt needed a little more support around their grief. I let her know what type of support I found for my kids, and what helped, and what didn't help. She let me know that it was difficult to see her surviving friend with a new partner. I explained that friends should be careful to recognize their own discomfort, but to not allow their feelings become an issue for the widowed friend.

This is an interesting topic for me. Growing up, I often heard people talk about the "year in mourning." A couple of people have even lightly commented to me about waiting for that first year to be completed before dating anyone new. Now that I have completed that first year, I sometimes think about the idea that I am free and clear to start dating again.

Am I?

I know that my kids have suggested that I start getting out there again. They think I need some fun time, and I think they would worry less about me if I was spending time with other gay men. I think most people would be fine with this as well, or at least say there were fine. I wonder though, what would people really think? Does it matter? Probably not. Yet, they would think something. Everybody does.

I don't ever worry about feeling guilty whenever I do start dating. Michael and I had plenty of time to talk about such things. I wasn't always comfortable talking about this with him, but he was comfortable talking about it with me. He wanted me to find someone new.

I think that I would enjoy dating again, and I most certainly would enjoy sex again. What I worry about though, is what I truly have to offer someone. I worry that my heart wouldn't be completely free and clear, and that I may find that I am not really ready to date someone on a regular basis. I worry that I would bring Michael up too much, and that anyone new would feel left out.

I remember when Michael and I first started dating. I was insanely jealous of Michael's ex. They had been together 7 years, and had lived a very comfortable life in Norway. When Michael was diagnosed cancer I realized that I would never have him as long as his ex did. I would get hurt, or angry, whenever Michael would talk about times with his ex still in the "we" mode. I was constantly reminding Michael that they were no longer a "we," and that people assumed he was referencing to me when he talk about things they, "we," did together. I told him it always made me feel the need to clarify that he was speaking about his past relationship, and not his current one. I wouldn't want to do this to someone else, but I don't know if I couldn't. Michael and I were a "we," and we had many wonderful times to speak of.

If I do choose to begin a new dating phase, it will take considerable focus to do so. I work in a women's environment, so the likelihood of meeting a guy at work is slim to none. I will have to put myself out there, which means I would have to actively pursue it. Part of me feels fine with the line of thinking that, well, "it just happened." It feels very different to suddenly be out there trying to make it happen.

What will I think of myself? Will I just say I am fine with it, but secretly be judging the hell out of myself?

I hope not.


  1. Everyone is cheering me on ... to get involved with someone again. I have my eye on someone and perhaps something will come of it ... who knows? But like you, I'm still in the mode of telling "Cliff stories". And I'm guessing that would bother most people. The good thing is that the person I have my eye on is a widower, so .... I am wondering if the perfect match for you would be a gay widower? At least that way they wouldn't be bothered about the stories, the references to "we" etc.

    I'd be so happy for you to find love and happiness again Dan, and I hope we do both find it. It's too lonely and at the risk of sounding arrogant, we've both got too much to offer someone else. We'd be wasted single LOL

  2. I kind of feel that if I ever am with anyone again (which still feels not right for me), it would need to be someone widowed, or someone who has gone through something tremendous - . Like I have any really choice what the universe brings, I'm sure. But this is so much part of me now, I don't know that I could feel "met" by someone who hadn't been somewhere near here. Know what I mean?
    I would *really* like someone to hang out with, someone who does not need to talk, who can just hang, knowing it is not at all a romantic thing. Guess I'm saying I would really like a friend. Preferably male, as I miss that male energy so much. I miss having someone who knows how to make me laugh. Eh.
    Everybody's going to have an opinion, no matter what any of us do, in any realm of life. True-to-self, even if what is true changes. I mean, I guess it's gonna.

  3. I'm so not ready to date, but I wouldn't mind a handyman who fixes stuff around the house, kills spiders in the basement & maybe fixes me a cuppa once a week...

    I think wen the "right time" and the "right person" comes, it will feel "right" to you...

  4. when...
    I hate spellos, but make them all the time.

  5. I think there is a clause that says typos in the comments section get a free pass. Well, except for maybe too many errant apostrophes.