So, here I am, a second-time widow. It’s been a year and a half. Has it been that long a passage of time?
Time doesn’t heal; it only smooths out the scars just a little. If someone tells you “time heals,” they haven’t experienced the loss. And we have to move forward. Keeping time in place, like a soldier’s cadence: left, right; left, right, is not emotionally healthy. I am not one to sulk, cry, despair or pull out my hair figuratively. I am still alive! That, in itself, is cause to be happy – to celebrate. Well, maybe celebrate is too strong a word right now.
I am very much alone when Bob’s not here to speak to, laugh with, discuss current events in our nation and in the world at large, share a TV program, laugh at the funny sitcoms, scream and shout at the TV about the unfairness in the nation and world, reported by newscasters.
He was a very warm, relaxed man, and enjoyed his life with me. We enjoyed each other. He was a happy man, and it was my pleasure to keep him that way.
Geographically, I’m not entirely alone: my sister lives close by and my daughter lives only 15 minutes away, and my son lives 35 minutes away in the next county. And my three cats have me laughing or succumbing to their affectionate antics so much of the time.
Bob and I came down to Florida at different times. He moved from New Jersey a year and a half after his first wife died; I moved from New York about 2 years before, with my first husband, Dan. Bob and I ended up in the same condo development after losing our spouses, and were forced to accept our station in life: widowhood.
It was almost like a storybook way in which we met; actually, we didn’t meet in the strict sense. We were introduced.
I lived in one building; he lived in another. Condo living suited our single life at the time.
Bob was retired; I was working full time, and saved my cleaning for the weekend as most people do who work. I developed the habit of going to the pool on Saturday afternoons. There were lots of people in and around the pool and I befriended some nice women. Conversation was struck up and, after a couple of months, they told me about “this nice single man” who lived in their building. “Would you like to meet him? We think the two of you would hit it off.”
I turned them down; my widowhood was still too fresh. I couldn’t think of meeting anyone at that time. After my refusal, they stopped talking about “him.”
Many months passed and, every so often, they brought up the subject again – I kept refusing. I couldn’t take them seriously. But one day, just to shut their mouths finally, I said, “OK.”
So, it was arranged. I was to be at the pool at my usual time one Saturday, and they convinced Bob to be there, too. Well, that particular Saturday, I had long phone calls from sister and daughter who were still living in New York, so I was delayed in getting over to the pool. I was just getting ready to go over to the pool, when the phone rang again. It was the two women. “Carol, are you coming? He’s here!”
I finally got there, and the introductions took place. Bob was a nice-looking man and his voice was smoothly masculine – nice to listen to. The women had arranged the chairs just so: we were facing each other. (They were having a blast!) They made themselves comfortable on their lounges next to the chairs, and we all chatted a bit. In a couple of minutes, they stood up, held up little brown paper bags, announced they were going into the clubhouse to have their lunch, and left!!
Boy! Talk about being left in the lurch. Well, we made the best of it. The usual chatter. “Where are you from? Do you have family?” Etc.
During the long and enjoyable conversation (more than 2 hours), Bob mentioned that he cooked. He suggested that he would cook dinner for me sometime(!). Before I knew what was happening, words tumbled out of my mouth. “I’m not doing anything this evening.”
He didn’t cook that night, but he did take me out for a nice dinner. And so it began…