It was hard to start writing this because my husband was working from home, and there’s still this strange sort of barrier that I don’t know how to remove properly between he and I with regards to talking about my late husband. Talking about the dead is always a touchy subject, but talking about your late husband to your current husband is a path that is never clearly navigated. Even if I’m here in the corner, far away from him being able to read my words, I feel a little guilty talking about my experiences and feelings for/about my late husband. I don’t know if I am betraying him or Sam, or neither, or both.
So, lets first explore this guilt. There is no way to explain the sorts of guilt that a widow(er) feels at finding love again, having sex with someone again, sharing intimate experiences with someone again. Everyone will tell you not to feel guilty, but that doesn’t change you feeling guilty.
You will feel guilt over things that happened that you can’t change. You will go through a list of “if only’s” that are as useless at helping you move forward as any “what if.” “If only I took him to the hospital sooner…” “What if I didn’t go to work that week?” Those are empty, useless questions, because like CS Lewis points out in the Narnia books, you can’t change the past, you can only change the future.
I can’t tell you how to overcome the guilt, except to tell you what I do; I assume my late husband would want someone to take care of me and love me while he is gone. I assume he would pick someone like my current husband because he’s enough like my late husband, that they would undoubtedly be friends, if only internet friends. I do know how much my late husband loved me. I also assume he wouldn’t make me accountable for not taking him to the hospital sooner, or for going to work instead of staying home. I picture him in heaven with my father, arguing over how to take care of the family they are watching over.
Another thing everyone (who hasn’t been widowed) will tell you not to do: Don’t compare your new spouse to your late spouse. That is impossible. You would compare a new boyfriend to an old boyfriend. You would compare your new car to your old car. You even compare your firstborn to your baby. Comparing actions, experiences and ideas is a standard of life. There is no way to avoid comparing your current spouse to your late spouse. I would tell you don’t try to avoid it, just apply the standard wisely. If you can remember there were things about your late spouse that you would have changed if you could, you will accept there are things about your current spouse you can’t change, even if you valued it in your late spouse.
Comparing can turn into envy, if you let it. Envy is a dangerous trait that only spoils everything you have and had. Regret can be productive if it moves you forward, helps you change in positive ways, but if it just mutates into envy for what others have, for what was taken away from you, it will poison your now. My advice is to try to keep your comparisons to basics, don’t explore it too deeply, you will only hit on regret or envy.
There are other things that seem to accompany a widowhood, which includes people acting strangely toward you, avoiding you, giving you unsolicited advice, but those are subjects for another time.
If you have any issues you think should be addressed, please leave your comments below.
Now for a shameless Ad from my webstore. I made this the other day and I rather like it. Tapping into half of my heritage:
I’ll have La Llorona soon, tapping into the other half of my heritage!