Will I ever get over the death of my husband? He passed away one year ago after a two-year battle with cancer. When can I start dating again?
I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s death. May his memory be a blessing. As for your question about whether you will ever get over his death, the goal is not to get over it but to learn to live in spite of it. The memory of your loved one will stay with you and be incorporated into who you are as a person. Grief can be a difficult journey, and everyone’s experience is different. You made it through the first year and will now be entering the second year of grieving which can be more difficult for some folks. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and the process is not held to any timeframes.
Losing your spouse can be like losing a limb. You will initially need to tend to the wounds so it can heal. After it heals, you learn to walk again with the aid of a prosthetic. After that you live your life in spite of the handicap. You will start living again but this time with the handicap from losing your husband. Grief never goes away but changes and needs periodic attention. Grief has a way of showing up when you least expect it. Every holiday, special occasion or life event will bring it to the surface, and you will grieve again. For most people, time softens grief and I hope this is the case for you.
Only you will know when the time is right to begin dating. There is no prescribed timeline for grief. Sometimes when you know of the impending death ahead of time, loved ones start grieving before the person passes. This can look like the person’s grief is going quicker on the outside but actually they just got a head start. One thing to keep in mind, your late husband will always have a special place in your heart and anyone coming into a relationship with you should recognize and honor that. Some people wonder if they will ever love the same way. Your heart has the capacity to care deeply for more than one person. Life is short so date when you want to and open yourself up to being loved again if and when you are ready.
Jewish Family Service will be starting a new grief group in the spring. If you are interested, contact Toni Jacobsen at 615-354-1672.
You might be interested in Widowish, a book by Melissa Gould. It’s a memoir of a young widow that is being highlighted on February 7th as part of the JCC Book Series. More information is included in this month’s edition.