When I was first asked about writing a blog, I wasn’t sure what to think as it is something that I have never done or even thought about doing. It was suggested that I write to those people, whether it’s a man or woman, who are dating or want to date someone that has lost a spouse.
Since I’m a man, I will cover it from my perspective of falling in love with a beautiful woman who lost her husband in a tragic auto accident. Let me be clear from the beginning, loving a woman that has lost her husband is not easy. Of course, nothing about love ever is! Whether it’s your first love in high school, your college sweetheart, or the woman you marry; love isn’t easy. However, when you mix in the fact that the person they love is no longer here, it becomes extraordinarily tough. Then, you mix in children who have lost their father and it gets even harder! For some, this can be the hardest issue they could possibly deal with or attempt to handle; especially, if the kids are not receptive to the idea of their parent dating someone. I’ve been very lucky that Joni, my girlfriend, has handled this issue with both grace and strength. But, it has still been a struggle for the both of us.
Don’t give up on the idea of dating that special person. Once again, the reward far outweighs the negative!
My message to those of you that might be unsure of the situation you find yourself in, with someone that has suffered loss, don’t be afraid. If that person was worth your phone call or that first date, then they are worth it! Don’t be afraid that you aren’t “good enough” or won’t live up to “her standards” or the “standards that he set”.
Instead, be your own person and set your own standards. Allow them the opportunity to see firsthand that love and loving someone again is possible! It will be worth it! Believe me, there have been plenty of times that I have been afraid I am not good enough, or won’t live up to her standards or expectations. I just try and remember what she has told me and believe in myself, knowing that I am a great person.
You may be asking yourself, how does this guy know whether or not loving someone who has suffered such a terrible loss is worth it? Well, each of us at some point in our life has suffered loss, each one different and each one significant to us; but each one was still important to us.
I know for me personally, I have suffered that loss! In April of 2008, my world was turned upside down; not because of a loss of a spouse, but the loss of a sibling. I lost my sister and two nephews in a devastating house fire. There was only one survivor…my 15 day old niece, whom I would adopt, and raise as my own! That was 9 years ago. My only point in sharing that story is to show that I, myself, know loss. I’ve been there and struggled through all the emotions that each one of us have suffered at one point or another. What made that time even more difficult for me was that because I’m a police officer, people just assumed I am immune to feelings; that I’m immune to all the emotion of loss and suffering. I am not at all! This is also what has allowed me to be a better person, a better friend, a better parent, and hopefully a better husband to Joni when that day arrives.
You see, I met my Joni, on the day she lost her husband in that auto accident. I was the investigating officer of the accident that claimed her husband and for intents and purposes should have claimed her life as well. I am also the officer that had to give notification to her that her husband didn’t survive. Once again, we as police officers are not supposed to show emotion or feelings. We kind of just go on autopilot and do what we are supposed to do. Well, for me, that day was the start of something truly special, although I didn’t know it then; but I sure know it now!
You see, on June 25th of this year, I made a phone call that truly changed my life. I made that call to the most special woman, the toughest woman I know, the woman that I am now so honored and proud to call my girlfriend. She was the one in the accident that claimed the life of her husband 5 years ago. The one that I had to deliver the horrific news to. I have known Joni for the 5 years now, and was lucky enough to form a special bond and a special friendship with her that for me, she has become my best friend in the world!
Once again, you may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with not being afraid to love someone that has suffered loss? Well, if I was afraid and she was afraid, this wouldn’t be possible.
It has definitely not been without the tough moments which can come out of nowhere. It can happen when you least expect it, just when you think everything is going perfectly. You start to think to yourself, what did I do or what did I say for this to go wrong? Well, I can tell you from personal experience, you don’t have to say anything for a bad day to start for them. I can also tell you that, sometimes, the best thing you can do is just not say anything! Sometimes you just need to be there for them, because at that particular time, that may be all they want or need. Believe me, this is absolutely the toughest thing to do, at least it is for me. I am programmed and trained to help people, to make things better for people, and to solve all the world’s problems. I have come to realize, there are just times when that just isn’t going to be the case! It has taken me a long time and some tough moments to realize that and even to this day, it is NOT easy! I just do the best I can.
We have this saying:
“The tough things will only be as tough as we let them be and no matter what, we will get through them the way we get through everything; together!”
So, don’t be afraid to love a person who has lost a spouse, because their love may just be the greatest love you have ever experienced in your life. Your love may be the love that they need in order to feel special again or to feel whole again.
I can assure you that if you stay true to yourself and stay true to her, no matter what, the love you will receive in return will be the love of a lifetime! You see, they want to love! They need love! They just need someone to show them it’s ok to hurt. They need someone to show them that it’s not only ok to love again but it’s so important to love again! Most of these women have been through hell and back. They appreciate life, they appreciate love, and being loved, because they know tomorrow is never guaranteed!
Love them with everything you have! They are worth it!