A friend recently and relatively artlessly started talking to me about this OTHER firend that she has – he’s in his early seventies, he’s “also” widowed (twice, as it turns out, with wife #1 dying tragically and young in a freak accident and wife #2 whom he married less than three years after that accident passing away from cancer after nearly 30 years of marriage), and he “also” lives on his own (or with a cat, anyway, as I am told) and it might “be nice” if she could introduce us and we could go out for a coffee or something… the quotes are her words which found their way into the conversation, and I am literally reproducing them here. The key aspect to this is the “also”. Here’s a well meaning friend trying to shepherd these two oddball singletons of her acquaintance into something vaguely resembling a date because who doesn’t want to be paired up, right? And anyway, it’s been nearly three years since I’ve been on my own and it’s been a handful of years for this guy, too. and you know, it’s time to re-pair the damage, as it were, of having been so careless as to lose a mate…
The photo was taken by German photographer Tobias Baumgaertner
Here’s the thing. Back when he was still here with me, Deck told me in all seriousness, “If I go first I WANT you to find happiness, I WANT you to find someone else” and I told him not to be ridiculous, it took me more than thirty years to find HIM and I simply don’t have that kind of time on my hands any more. It’s going to be three years in February of 2024 since he died and here I am, still mourning, still wearing my wedding ring, still telling him “Good night I love you” every night before I turn out the light.
Turns out maybe I am not human at all. Maybe I am a pigeon. Or a penguin. Or an albatross. Or a condor. Or one of my soul-beloved wolves. Or even, if you want to make a metaphor out of it, the humble goose. In any event, one of those species who mate for life, and then not again, and live out the rest of their days as solitaries. There are photos like that one above of those two lovely little widowed penguins who comfort one another like this… but I am betting they aren’t a mated pair. They’re a pair of mourning friends who occasionally put a fin around each other in comfort and support and then probably retreat once again into their private and solitary bubble of grief and loss.
I know my friend means well and is probably trying to do a mitzvah for both me and that (probably very nice) widower of her acquaintance. And it is even possible that the two of us might go out for that coffee together, and touch mourning bubbles for a moment. But – I don’t know about him, speaking for myself – I would inevitably end up searching his eyes for that bit of Deck’s soul which I miss and which he took with him, if we ended up as a re-pair, and quite possibly resenting the living daylights out of him through no fault of his own because he simply doesn’t have that. Nobody else does. Nobody else can.
I am not saying that there is no such thing as a coup de foudre and that I will never ever ever ever be half of a couple again. But if I am… it is probably going to be purely by cosmic accident and no amount of loving friends blind-dating me with likely candidates is going to help that happen.
I am often crashingly lonely, yes, and I miss my husband, my partner, my best friend, more than I can say.
But I am a widowed goose. And no other gander can quite replace the half of me that I have lost.