When is too soon?
I am a widow, about to remarry a widower. “Isn’t it too soon to remarry? “ is a question we are beginning to hear whispered around the peripheral of our social circles.
Mason and I have known each other for a dozen years. Last year we both lost our spouses within four months of each other. During that time, we were grieving, and experiencing the normal parts of the grief process (sitting on the couch, un-showered, crying to Sara McLaughlin songs) and the more unusual aspects of grief (“someone asked me on a date , a week after the funeral, by insulting me no less!”). We are both young widows with children at home. We could sympathize with so much more than just the established five stages of grief, and the additional five stages we jokingly named (looting, snacking, dating, etc).
Over the course of several months, Mason and I began to have romantic feelings for each other. It wasn’t the type of running, rushing, romance most people have the luxury of enjoying. It was approached with the same level of apprehension we are being questioned with now. Was it too soon?
The thought crossed both of our minds as we realized that while we began communicating on a daily basis, we were making each other happy. We were compatible. We are both intelligent human beings. We talked about out new “fuzzy feelings” like we just hit puberty “what’s happening to me?”. I had said, “is it too soon?” and Mason said, “I think we both know, better than anyone, that we don’t have the time to find that out”. Mason is braver than I am. He may be smarter than I am too.
As any self respecting widow should tell you, one of the first things you do when you lose a spouse is hit up a therapist so you can stay off the crazy train. Check that block! I went to my therapist, Mason went to his. When our therapists were saying “GREAT!” we felt so much better in with our humanity, but we still knew other people wouldn’t understand. We let our relationship grow. Quietly, and kindly.
Our relationship grew, and it becomes more wonderful every day. We were approached to go public with our story and again, Mason is braver, and smarter than I am. He said “Yes, let’s do that! Let’s share our hope with people!”. I agreed. He was right, let’s give people a chance to see that the most devastating and heart breaking moment of our lives isn’t the end. We are courageous enough to seek out our happiness.
Now that the arm chair critics are starting to talk, I think it’s time that I finally say something. I have watched several friends defend me, intelligently, articulately, and kindly, or angrily. I love hearing their arguments! I am so grateful to have these wonderful people as friends! Their arguments have been “They can’t let this one event define their lives!”, ”Is it too soon?, it’s been too long!”, “It’s none of your damn business!”, and “Go ask THEM that questions, let them tell you!”. No one has come to us, so we come to you.
Ask us. Present a valid argument to us that, because you have been here, in my marriage, in Mason’s marriage. You were present to hold the body of your dead spouse in your hands, as both of us did. You’ve comforted your child. You ‘ve done research in the field of neuropsychiatry on depressive episodes, and grief because you were a grief counselor. You know that depressive episodes shouldn’t last more than six months. You know what the studies say on successful marriages having a higher rate of remarriage. You taught resiliency to Army Families for a decade and then watched it work in practical application and now dare to question its success when THIS is the moment we dread, prepare for, and hope we can survive. You want to question this, please, do that! Question us on our timeline with your supporting evidence to the contrary. I don’t think people will, and this isn’t a dare. I just don’t think they have a valid argument. I think it’s gossip.
We don’t wake up every day thinking, “I am going to seek out the worst day of my life”. We wake up seeking happiness. We have shit days. It happens, obviously. It is in our innate nature to look for happiness! Take every opportunity you can! Please don’t question the people that find it. It’s rude and quite frankly, just ignorant.