Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Help Me!

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This is my friend, Lisa, with me in this photo. Lisa is a widow friend of mine who lost her husband a little over two years ago... just 9 short months after I lost Aaron. We are both heartbroken and devastated women who miss our husbands dearly, but who are trying to pick up the shattered pieces of our lives and move forward in life the best we know how... kind of making it up as we go along. I feel blessed to have met her and all the other widows I have met since this difficult journey began.

Lisa is the cousin of a friend of mine. One day last year, he asked me to contact her. He felt like she was having a hard time and wondered if it might help for me to reach out to her. So, I did and we have become great friends. The first time we actually met in person, was last October. I invited her to go with me to a gathering for widows and widowers at someone's house. We were both slightly apprehensive about going, but we figured we might as well. Neither of us had been in a social setting like that since becoming 'single' again. We were grateful to be going together, but at the same time, we were both nervous about being in a group of other single people, no matter how they became single again.

When we got there, we scanned the room, which was full... then we gravitated over to the food tables, got some food and then sat down together and talked. We were both still uncomfortable, and were kind of wanting to leave. About an hour after we got to the gathering, my sister called me and told me that Aaron Jr had begun throwing up after I left and had thrown up a few times since, and that he was wanting me. Horrible to say, but I was glad I had a good excuse for us to leave. I told Lisa what was going on... and she wasn't disappointed either. As we made our escape, we shared our regrets with people as we passed by them on our way out the door.

Whew! We had survived our first social gathering. I am sure the people there were so kind and we would have been fine being outgoing and socializing, but neither of us were ready for that.

Since then, Lisa and I have gotten together on our own or with small groups of friends to go to dinner or a movie or just hang out at her house... and she has become a dear and treasured friend. We both try to find humor in our situations while suffering on the inside.

That said, let me share what Lisa and I did last Friday night, which will let you in on the reason for my posting title. We did something that I never imagined doing again... no matter how long I might have stayed single. We went to a Halloween Party / Dance for singles age 30 to 45 years old. Hmmm...

Lisa told me that she feels like she has no right to complain about being alone if she is not willing to put forth any effort in meeting someone. I agreed, and off we went to this shindig.

Let me begin by saying... it wasn't that bad. Its just not my forte. I don't love dressing up for Halloween, but Lisa really thought we should, so we did. She dressed up as Katniss Everdeen in the book The Hunger Games. I tried to think of something very simple and came up with dressing up as a black widow. I REALLY would have only needed to wear all black in order to pull off this costume... but I didn't want to have to try to explain my 'costume' to anyone... so I wore a red hourglass shape cut from fabric taped to my shirt and a black spider hat to complete the look. I also wore some black framed glasses without lenses just to try to be a little more inconspicuous...

Besides the widow / widower gathering we went to a year before, this was the first major singles activity either of us had attended since becoming widows. We met up and then drove together over to the 'castle' reception center where it was being held. As we drove into the parking lot, I asked Lisa 'What on earth are we doing here? How is THIS our life now?' As we walked in, I just felt completely out of place... like I just didn't belong there. My stomach was nervous and I wanted to turn around and leave, but we continued in anyway. I just kept saying to Lisa over and over, 'Help me. Help me. Help me.' It was awkward, to say the least.

Having Lisa with me made it more fun though. We walked around for a bit... taking in the scene. After walking through the whole place, we eventually ended up in the restroom. Sadly, it was one of the more comfortable places we went that night. If it had been up to me, we would have stayed in there, but we eventually came out and went to the refreshment area. I say... when in doubt, move over to the food. At least you know the food won't reject you, right? :)

After we drank our water and watched people for a while, Lisa finally convinced me to go into the room with the dance floor. I will say this, she is a way more natural looking dancer than I am. I couldn't believe she was dancing. So, as I stood there trying to decide whether to dance or just stand there next to her while she danced, I decided I better groove just a bit so that she didn't feel uncomfortable. :)

Let me pause and tell you about me as a dancer. I am not a dancer at all. Even in high school and after, any dance I went to, all I ever did on the dance floor was make up my own moves and try to make sure they were really funny so that I could at least get a laugh. I needed for people to know I was kidding just to make sure they couldn't possibly think I was seriously that bad of a dancer. I just could never take dancing seriously.

So, I decided to take that same approach on Friday night as well. I couldn't stop laughing at myself and Lisa couldn't stop laughing either. So, I was definitely doing my job. I couldn't believe I was in a setting where I was actually dancing around people... it took every ounce of my strength to keep moving and grooving when all I wanted to do was stand as close to the wall as possible without looking like a loser wall flower.

As the night progressed, more people came and we were able to blend in a bit better. Another widow friend of mine, Jami, showed up with a friend of hers. She is young and a lot more outgoing than I am in my old age, so she had no problem finding people she knows and having a great time. I had fun with Lisa, we kept each other laughing, but we were not as outgoing as Jami was. :) I have to give Lisa credit though, because she did talk to a few people... I did not. It was really hard for me. I think I held Lisa back. Sorry Lisa. :) I will admit, I did not try to talk to anyone besides my two widow friends... not even one... and the only guy who came up to us and talked to us was a little odd, shorter than me, and had really bad breath. Not to be rude... it was very kind of him to talk to us... Bless his heart.

I did mention a time or two to Lisa, 'I do NOT expect to meet the man I am going to marry here.' Lisa mentioned to me that her husband would never have gone to something like that, and I agreed. Aaron NEVER would have gone to a party like that... EVER. Neither of us really got into singles stuff like that. I never felt comfortable in super large groups like that... if I ever went to any, I didn't meet anyone there... I was always too shy to make myself known.

We were there a couple of hours before we finally made our exit. There were some guys worth looking at, but neither of us were ready this time around to see if any of the guys there were also worth talking to. Maybe next time. Baby steps, right?

After we left there, we went across the street to Chili's and got chips and salsa and some dessert and just talked. We needed to unwind from our social anxiety ridden evening (I guess I should speak for myself... Lisa seemed a little more comfortable than I felt). :)

Thanks for the good times, Lisa. You made it fun and bearable. (yearbook signing entry)

I will say this... if you have never been thrown back into the single life again after being married and having kids and having to try to figure out how to date again... you just cannot possibly understand how difficult it is and how different it is from the first time around. I'm not going to lie... IT SUCKS! I have to laugh about it or else I would probably cry about it. It is a TOUGH road... one that I don't wish on anyone.

All the widows I have talked to are very open about wanting to someday get married again... but as far as putting forth the effort to actually meet people... it sure is difficult. The question of how to meet eligible single guys who are worth spending time with... I still haven't figured that one out yet.

I have been out on dates. Some were boring, some were awkward, some were so-so, some were great. The way I choose to measure whether or not someone is worth going out with is if I am willing to get a babysitter for Aaron Jr. If I would rather spend my Friday night with Aaron Jr. than a specific guy, then that means I am not that into that specific guy. I don't want to waste my time or his. And I definitely don't want to get a babysitter in order to go on an awkward date that I know is not going to progress further than that. As I navigate through this process, I become more and more aware of what I want in a guy and what I do not want in a guy. I don't want to waste my time with little flings where I am putting up with red flags just because I am lonely. I need someone who is going to treat me right, someone who is going to treat Aaron Jr. right (most important), someone who respects me, loves me, loves Aaron Jr. The list could go on and on... but I will save that for another posting.

Obviously, I haven't met the one who is going to bring me that joy that I am so anxious to feel again.
I know I am not doing all I can to put forth the effort to find him, but at the same time... I don't know any great ways of meeting wonderful single guys. If anyone has any great ideas out there... I am all ears.

I think that's about it for this posting... I just wanted to share our experience around other single people.
I wasn't that great at dating the first time around, so it was a blessing when Aaron and I dated and we both just knew how each other felt... it just seemed so much easier. My friend Lisa wrote a posting recently where she mentioned her husband on the other side helping her to meet the man who will be the right guy for her and their kids... I have thought a lot about this since Aaron passed away. I have talked to Aaron many times about needing his help to bring the right man into our lives.


So, dating... this time around? I have to say... its for the birds, but a necessary evil if I want to find happiness in marriage again. And I do. Time will tell... (hopefully sooner than later).

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Kate, Alek, Hank, and Cash (RIP RED) said...

Love your writing woman!! You do it with so much grace and so well...I stopped blogging because I was being ridciculed with comments on my choice to see someone and choice to live and love rather than curl up in a ball (Which I did for a long time and really is not fair to my Son). Anyhow I am glad that you have blog readers that have respect and can appreciate you choosing to live will come!! Randy def. sent the man in my life to me. This man bought the house acorss the street from me the week Randy died (the house was for sale for 2 years), he waited 6 months to move in, introduced himself kindly if I ever needed anything to call.....Randy's dog (who never left the yard) would see him get home and run over and sit on his front step and wait until this man came out so he would have to walk him back over to me........Since then he plowed my driveway during snow storms and just became a wonderful person in my life....About a year and a month after Randy died I fell in love with him!!

It will happen, if anyone would have told me it would happen after Randy died I would tell them they were crazy, but look.
I stopped blogging because I made a committment to Randy a LONG time ago that when I could know longer tell the truth in my words on the blog, I knew it was time to stop!! The time came because people did not understand that choosing to live life and choosing to love again is actaully the harder way!! Curling up and waiting to die to be with Randy again would be so much easier.......but I deserve more, Alek deserves more, and Randy WANTED MORE for US!!

I live through your blog now, I dont need mine I get to enjoy reading yours!!! Although I would love to turn our story into a book some day!!
Thank you

Lisa Carter said...

So, it's been a week since our big social debut, but let me tell you...I am still laughing. Anytime you can see grown men dressed as the guys from Reno 911, you know it's going to be a great party! Oh and the hairy rock star? Come on, you have to admit you had a great time.

I have decided a long time ago, that if life isn't going just the way I want, then I may as well enjoy the ride.

Thanks for being a willing-ish passenger on the interstate of insanity. Love ya.

Anonymous said...

Well done Leslie and Lisa!! Baby steps, baby steps.



Kristi said...

I still don't know how I got married in the first place. Dating was hard when I was young. I can only imagine what it would be like when there is more on the line and you are further in life.
Best of luck to you. The right guy will come.

Scott / Lori said...

Sounds like a fun party. Hmmmm. I did like your costume though. Sorry, I didn't know Aaron had been sick. That is no fun, but I guess if you are looking for reason to leave, you can't do much better than that.

amanda said...

I remember taking off my wedding ring so I could attend a singles event with my sister who had recently divorced. I went for moral support and my husband suggested I take off my ring. It was weird but----I came home bawling that my sister had to go through such an awful experience. I prayed with all my heart that night that she'd find someone soon so she'd NEVER have to do that again. She was determined though and found someone at a singles dance a few months later. Crazy!!
I am glad you have a friend that you can go through all of that with. I'm sure it helps tremendously.

Leslie said...

thanks everyone for the support. :)

amanda, you have given me some hope. :)