The ‘Real’ After

196 Days. I quit counting the days long ago but I’m still aware of them. Painfully so at times. The Facebook memories reminds me of what we were doing precisely a year ago. Time marches on.

This particular post has a very, very important purpose. Less than a week before my Raggedy Man passed, Erica Roman posted a blog in defense of Patton Oswalt finding a new love. I didn’t know if at the time, but our conversations regarding that would become crucial in the coming months. You see, he told me he wanted me happy. He said, and I know he meant it, that if I found someone to keep me safe and laughing the day he passed to pursue it. To not be afraid. To continue living and loving.

That day, him dying was so far from my mind. I had some health issues going on and the anxiety had convinced me I would be the one struck with a sudden illness and I wanted him to know that I just wanted him to be happy. So we talked. And less than a week later he was gone.

The first couple of months were a hellish nightmare. I don’t think I really breathed until I went to California. Then I spent many nights fearing the loneliness that this new chapter bought me. I have so much love to give and the holidays bought up that ‘welp, this isn’t how you planned it.’ I sat alone, wanting to be with him.

I signed up for Tinder. I’m being honest for the sake of it, guys. I didn’t want to date. I didn’t want sex. My profile literally said I just wanted someone to geek out to. Yet, because it’s Tinder, I would get propositioned. I should have known better. My final straw was when someone said I wasn’t ‘ready to move on.’ While they were correct, the implication that Chris was something I should move on from by like… now… actually bought out anger. I had plans to delete it, but by chance, fate (and I think in some ways, Chris) stepped in.

I matched with this guy, Peru (guys autocorrect hates his name and it’s perfect and makes me laugh so hard). With the cheesy pick up line, a conversation of I don’t even know what started. And sex wasn’t bought up. Eventually we added each other on FB , at which point I made it clear I was recently widowed and if it was a problem, to kindly just leave now. He didn’t leave, in fact, he told me he was surprised I didn’t talk about Chris more. So I began doing so.

We made plans to meet up. So we had a Christmas date, almost ruined with sickness. However, I made the trek and enjoyed some good company and steak dinner. The next day was the *real* beginning for me, though. As we walked back from lunch, he took my food. I protested but he insisted and then held my hand. And I’m pretty sure it was in that instant my guard was let down.

I went over to his place for New Years and was welcomed by a card welcoming me home. Guys, I don’t even think I’ve mentioned the meaning behind home here. But there it was – something saying I belonged.

January 10, I informed him that I was ready to go in. That I would still talk about Chris, that I would still need to go as slow as possible, but that I wanted to pursue this with him. There was one caveat – I did not wish to change my FB status. As silly as it sounds, it connects me to Chris and that is something that needs to dissipate over time. I went from engaged to married to widow in less than a year and I want something to remain steady.

That is more why this post was needed. While I worry to a degree what others think (hello , people pleaser) I do want others to know that life is horrid. It absolutely drags you down and knocks you out. Yet, there are unexpected joys. Sometimes in the form of a spark of love you never, ever expected.

I don’t know where life is taking me. All I know is that I cried over Chris last weekend and he stood by me, holding me. I know that I laughed for nearly 10 minutes straight. I know that in the last month, we’ve watched all extended editions Lord of the Rings and Hobbits. I know that I have been told ‘I have to keep my lady safe’ and I know that it’s all Chris would want. He would want me to live and love again and that’s what I’m trying. Learning the balance of keeping his memory alive while learning that life is okay without him.

I am thankful.

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