Someone asked me the other day on Facebook about my husband, the man I married after my loss.
She wasn’t the first one to ask.
Many people over the years have asked about him.
I mention him in the Second Firsts book a little bit.
But over the course of the 8 years I have been writing to you, I hardly ever talk about him.
I met him during my second year post loss at the local children’s support group I was taking my girls to.
I saw him walk in with his children and I immediately thought he was just dropping off, and not staying.
But he was.
He had lost his 35 year old wife a few months prior.
He sat next to me and I remember very vividly, how he said that it was really nice to meet me.
I mumbled something back and kind of turned the other way.
I didn’t like that I found him attractive.
It made me feel uncomfortable. Mad even.
I found myself thinking about him after I got home.
And the days that followed.
The group was running every two weeks.
For the next group meeting, I remember putting something on that was nicer than normal.
When I realized that I was actually dressing up for him. Shame and guilt came over me.
Over the course of the following weeks we kept meeting at the weekly group meetings.
And making small talk.
One night when I returned home something took over me and I wrote the whole group an email.
Asking if we should all go out for dinner.
To be honest with you, and it is something I didn’t admit to him for a while, my group email was mostly about meeting him and not the others.
But I didn’t dare let that thought enter my mind at the time.
I pressed send.
30 second later, I received an email responding just to me and not the whole group.
It was from him.
His name is Eric by the way.
He thought the group dinner was a great idea and that he was looking forward to it.
We emailed back and forth a few times that night.
That was Monday night. By mid-week we had decided to meet for dinner, just the two of us.
I remember thinking. Is that a date?
I didn’t know what to make of it.
We met at Chily’s. Yes nothing glamorous.
And there was a snow storm coming that evening.
I emailed him and said maybe we won’t be able to meet after all with the snowstorm coming. His response was the first time it felt like this could be something more.
He said “I will find a way to get to you, don’t you worry.”
It felt wrong. I felt married.
But that Saturday evening I got in my car and drove to Chily’s.
He smiled when he saw me and told me I look like Princess Leia.
How dare he be so forward.
I thought to myself.
Was he flirting with me?
The commentary that was taking place inside my mind was comical.
At the end of the evening, he gave me a kiss on the chick and said that he would love to see me again.
I walked to my car and drove straight home.
Something was happening. Butterflies arrived in my stomach.
I remember going to work the next day and thinking about him.
We went on many dates after that first one.
And as he likes to remind me often, our first dates were icy cold.
I would sit across the room from him and not move closer.
Even though the butterflies were fluttering inside my stomach, it felt quite abnormal to hold his hand or be with him in a physical sense.
Eric was the complete opposite to Bjarne (my hubby who died) he looked different, acted differently and he might as well have been his opposite in every way.
It took awhile for me to trust him. And let him in.
It took me at least a year before I let him even pay for dinner.
And it took a lot longer until I really allowed him to become important to me.
You may be wondering why don’t I talk about my relationship with Eric more.
I believe with all of my heart that I would not have the marriage that I have today if it wasn’t for my own personal life reentry.
Which had nothing to do with being in a new relationship.
It had to do with the woman that I became.
The finding of my own identity. My independence.
Who I became because of my relentless need to find myself again is my proudest accomplishment.
Eric and I have now been married for 8 years.
My advice to anyone who is out there considering a new love in their life, is to find the new you and let that new you fall in love.
Don’t fall in love with the old identity still here.
Loving after loss requires you to find your new self.
P.S. Order the Where Did You Go? book here: https://www.amazon.com/Where-Did-You-Go-Life-Changing/dp/0062689622