Life is about change and transitions, I realize that. But tonight as I get ready for bed, I'm wishing once again that my late husband were here. You'd think that I'd stop wishing for those types of things after 7 years, but here I am still wanting a partner to ooh and ahh over senior pictures, to bounce ideas off of, and to have a date night with while the independent teens do their own thing.
I'm looking at the house and realizing that one day in the very near future I'll be here alone. Dating hasn't gone too well with me as a solo parent. My life has revolved around work and kids--essentials. The brief attempts at dating again made me feel like I was in the fairy tale "Goldie Locks and the Three Bears" where I heard the words 'too old', 'too young', 'too fat', 'too busy', 'too independent', 'too needy', 'too successful', 'not successful enough'. Contradictions, one right after the other, that left me weary of trying and nostalgic for the man who loved me as is.
The void is always present when you lose someone you love, no matter how many years pass. I knew this after he died. I remember saying, "I will miss him at all the major life transitions, like high school graduation and weddings..." Now here I am, talking about college, worried about paying for it all, feeling like I'm not enough, fighting doubts that whisper in the silence, staring at the empty side of the bed, and wondering what life will look like when the kids are in their 20s. Where will they be? Will they be happy?
Will I be happy? Will I be leading the life of my dreams? Will I find love again? Will the writing pay off or will I have moved on to something else?
People like to tell me to have faith when I confide these questions to them. But you know what? I find that answer to be trivial and cliche. Faith has gotten me out of bed every day. Faith has sustained me thus far. Faith keeps me from giving up. However, sometimes I want a tangible solution to an intangible question. Sometimes I want my partner back--a living being with ideas and encouragement. After awhile, faith starts feeling delusional when struggle and solitude remain constant.
I've restarted my writing career--have 3 published romantic suspense novels and a nonfiction book about surviving suicide of a loved one coming out next month--but I'm plagued with uncertainty. The money is coming, trickling in, but what if I made a mistake going after this dream when I am the sole support of my family? What if everyone else was right when they told me that I should have moved from the mountain and gotten a 'real' job after Sean died? There's so much uncertainty when you're a single parent with no one to bounce ideas off of, no one reassuring me that it's all going to be okay...and that's what I miss. Pillow talks where we'd rehash the day, reassure each other, laugh about little things, and dream of fantasy trips together.
The void is vast and scary. Sean had been my rock, my confidante, my biggest fan, my world. For a long time I distracted myself from the void by traveling, writing, eating, drinking, home projects, staying as busy as possible...but it's in the stillness that its presence echoes through the house.
Pretty soon the house will be mine alone and I won't be able to avoid the silence. If I were a character in one of my novels, I'd become a citizen of the world with my camera and laptop as companions. But the real me...the tangible me...likes the idea of pillow talks and shared adventures. To get there, I need to acknowledge the void I've been so busy ignoring all of this time. There comes a point when we can no longer run, when distractions cease, and when the empty side of the bed taunts us.
I've been good solo, I actually believe that. But there's a difference between being able to do things alone--capable--and being happy with it. I can see my two Adirondak chairs on my back patio with the full moon illuminating them. I've sat there many nights alone over the past few years--watched meteors, daydreamed, enjoyed the solitude. Tonight as I look at them with all of these thoughts dancing through my mind, I can't help but imagine the empty chair filled with a new partner. Maybe this is part of confronting the void...being able to finally imagine someone other than my late husband sitting there without guilt.
Maybe that's also why I've had such horrible luck dating again...and why none of the 3 men who made it beyond the first date lasted more than a few months. The void stood between us like a force field, with me ignoring its whispers, until finally life became silent enough for me to listen.