A double mourning, of sorts...

by Karl
(Ohio)

My wife Kelly was killed last summer in an automobile accident as she returned home from work. She simply ran right through a stop sign and ran right under the back wheels of a semi-trailer. She died instantly.

Fast forward two hours: Our house and garage are filled with friends, neighbors, and relatives who all came to support my kids and I. There was a prayer service in the garage that was especially touching, and I gave a little talk about how from this minute on, nothing was to be off limits as far as talking about Kelly, her accident, the circumstances, my kids, or myself - nothing could not be asked because they were all true friends.

Fast forward three days: Funeral viewings in our small towns are rather formal - viewing hours are from 1pm-8pm, and there is generally a long line the whole time when the decedent and/or the spouse either have large families or are notable people in the community. We qualified on all counts and so those seven hours were a madhouse as I shook hands with and/or hugged over 2,000 people. It may sound like a lot, but I personally knew at least 80% of the people coming through and just seeing the grief on their faces and the love for our family somehow made a solemn event a happy one.

Fast forward one day: The Catholic Funeral Mass and burial. After a final viewing of Kelly at the funeral home and the procession to the Church, Mass began at 10:30am. I remember smiling during a lot of the Mass because I thought 'what beautiful send-off we're giving Kelly today'. After Mass we proceeded to the graveyard where the normal graveside prayers were said, and after the family sprinkled the casket with holy water we made our way to lunch.

Fast forward four weeks: My understanding boss gave me all the time I needed to come back to work, so I spent a lot of time working on paperwork issues like obtaining death certificates, working with life insurance companies and our lawyer, and dealing with the Social Security Office to see about benefits for my kids. These first four weeks weren't terrible, because I had plenty to keep me busy, the kids were still on summer break, and there was plenty of family around.

Fast forward two months: I finally fell into a funk. My kids were now in school and establishing a routine, and I was back to my office job, but I simply couldn't concentrate. I normally love my job, but I just couldn't care enough about the tasks at hand to give my best. I muddled along and did what I needed to, but I counted the hours until I could get out each day.

Fast forward two more months: I had been thinking about dating for some time, but living in a small community presents a lot of problems, namely that the supply of unmarried females within a reasonable age limit from me (40-ish) is pretty sparse. But I got a stroke of luck completely out of nowhere. I became friends with a friend's sister, who I hadn't seen in over five years. We messaged back and forth at first and then started texting because it was clear we had a lot in common. Amanda was quite a bit younger than me but neither of us cared about that - she seemed to be on my level in every way, knew I had kids and welcomed the challenge. So we started dating every weekend, which was a challenge because even though Amanda was from my hometown she lived and worked in a larger city about two hours away.

Things continued to progress, and we had those sometimes uncomfortable discussions - could she be a mother to my kids, could she live around here - without them really being uncomfortable, because we were on the same page with everything. Nothing was forced one way or another - it was a 50/50 deal as far as who wanted things to progress more.

Fast forward two and a half months: She had finally met my kids (I waited and waited to make sure the timing was right) and it went great. So she started spending more time here, mainly just watching TV and movies on the couch after the kids had gone to bed.

Fast forward one week: One the day that my late wife and I would have celebrated our 15th anniversary, Amanda tells me that she is feeling pressured and scared and oh by the way, there is an old flame in the city she lives in that is talking about rekindling things. This was out of the blue and I reacted badly. Not violently or anything, but I was upset. This made her upset because somehow she couldn't fathom how I could get that mad about the breakup of such a short-term relationship. Well, I wasn't going to beg for her to stay (I have some pride), so I decided that since I loved her I would set her free.

Fast forward six weeks: I am worse off now than I was before I started dating Amanda. Not only am I still grieving Kelly, but the Amanda thing is still fresh and it just kills me how something so good could go 'poof' so suddenly without any warning. I pine not so much for Amanda but for the times we had together - those were two and a half months where I was totally and completely happy. My counselor says in my trail of grief I got off on a 'bunny trail' to avoid the ugliness of grief, and that I needed to get back to the ugly business of grieving or I would complicate my grieving even further. And maybe she's right, but do I ever miss those two and a half months... So now I'm sort of double grieving, but it's actually easier with Kelly because I KNOW she's dead, but Amanda is out there and I have no idea what she is thinking or feeling, and I'm too scared to even try to talk to her about it. Life would have been so much easier if I had never met Amanda, but I would not give those two and a half months back for anything...

Comments for A double mourning, of sorts...

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Mar 30, 2014
apologies shouldn't be necessary
by: Heidi

Karl - When I saw your response to replies of sympathy and comfort, I have to comment as well. A main purpose of this site is to write out our most deepest and most raw feelings. We all grieve differently and yours is much different from mine. No one is judging or trying to change you. We are offering our thoughts from the depths of our own despair and trying to help. Only people who have experienced the loss of a spouse/significant other can even begin to understand the intensity of our grief.

I am coming up on six months of losing my one and only soul mate. My true love always told me he loved me forever. Our love continues even though he died and he is not here with me physically anymore. But it’s so not fair that he can’t be here with me and his loved ones. I struggle each day and night. People on this site have helped me immensely over this awful new journey. More than my family and friends have. And I know I will be on this awful new journey for a long time...

Lawrence - I don’t think apologies are necessary when the comments were offered in the purest intentions of trying to help and console. Don’t feel bad. Getting replies is one of the main reasons we post our grief.

Mar 29, 2014
Apology
by: Lawrence


Karl,
You are so right, it was absolutely none of my business to advice you on something so personal.
Please accept my deepest apologies, it’s your life and only you know what’s best for you and the family.
Take care
Lawrence

Mar 28, 2014
'Too soon'
by: Karl

With all due respect, I don't believe it was or is 'too soon' for me. Please understand that I know I'll never 'replace' Kelly, as she was indeed one of a kind. And I'm not in a rush - I'm very picky about the type of woman I'll date and I'm not desperately searching for a new wife. I do agree with the comment that I undoubtedly (and unknowingly) put immense pressure on Amanda, but I'm trying to use that as a learning experience for the next time. And God willing, there will be a next time...

Mar 28, 2014
a fellow widower.
by: Lawrence

Karl,
Much, much too soon, you will never find anyone to replace your precious Kelly, that person doesn’t exist, she was a one off and God threw away the blueprints when she died.
You must grieve for her, as we all have to do for our beloved wives and husbands who have gone before us, leaving us distraught and in tears.
Believe me you are certainly not alone, and have joined a web site of heartbroken people just like yourself.
Obviously you are a comparative young man and I so well understand your need for feminine company, but give yourself a break, allow your heart and soul time to heal from this overwhelmingly tragedy that has befallen you and your children and I emphasize, YOUR CHILDREN, how are they coping after losing a beloved mum, is it perhaps a little too early to try and replace her?.
What you are trying to do is so against the natural grieving process that I fear you are in for more tears and heartache searching for love, if it happens in the future, well it’s Gods will and let’s be honest we are all in his (or her) hands.
I too am a grieving widower but much older than you and can say without any hesitation that I have no wish to hold another woman’s hand or kiss her lips after seventy years of pure bliss; they were the first lips I ever kissed as a teenager and the last on her deathbed as an old man and I feel so lucky, it was a privilege to have known and loved her.
May I make a suggestion; you are obviously computer literate so sit down and write a book, telling of your love affair with Kelly, if just for your children to read and who knows the world may want to read it too and it is such wonderful therapy.
I have written dozens of novels and children’s stories and it certainly helped me to get over my terrible loss, needless to say I am still bereft at losing her but it is just LIFE and it happens to us all sooner or later.
Take care
Lawrence.

Mar 28, 2014
Oh , this is so sad. it touched me deeply.
by: Anonymous

I am so sorry Carl will add you in my prayers tonite..

Linda

Mar 28, 2014
A double mourning, of sorts......
by: Doreen UK

Karl I echo what the other two posts advice recommended. Give yourself the time and space to recover from the loss of your wife and then you can think clearly how to move forward. As I said before. Therapy/counselling is painful. But when you go through the pain you will Heal in ways you will be better for emotionally. This healing is not something you can imagine. It is truly amazing to feel so good after grief. You have children that need you. BUT. I can understand you falling for Amanda. You have needs also. Those initial days of loss of a wife will make you feel so lonely that you can hardly bear it and often this is the time wrong decisions can be made. Someone on this site recommended not making any new decisions in the first two years. GOOD ADVICE. I made some mistakes here by wanting to change my world around me. I spent too much money changing the home surroundings and could have waited and made better decisions. I also gave away most of my furniture when I lost the will to live. I didn't want anything. I didn't think I would start to feel better. I would like a companion but not a new life partner. My husband was all I wanted and needed. I can't believe he has gone and never coming back. This hurts. I need his support, and input. You will also miss many things about your beloved wife. Who knows why accidents happen and claims lives all too soon? Whilst some walk away without a scratch. Again I say give yourself time to heal. It will happen. Best wishes.

Mar 27, 2014
Facing the Grief
by: Debby

Carl, that is quite a story. Mourning your deceased wife and a new lost love at the same time. I agree with your counselor. You can only handle one at a time. I don't how you're managing. The loss of my husband is devastating, I can't even handle when the kitten he bought me for Christmas acts up! Wow, my heart goes out to you. It's only been 2 months for me but all I can say is, you might want to grieve fully the loss of your wife and mother to your children. I think that only after you are thru a good portion of that grief, can you truly fall in love again. I don't know though, that's how I feel about myself. No one can ever measure up to my husband, they would have a long way to go in my eyes. I'd rather be alone.

Mar 27, 2014
A double mourning , of sorts....
by: Doreen UK

Karl life has been so cruel to you by taking your wife too soon to a sudden death. I am glad you are seeing a counsellor. I DID. Before I lost my husband to a deadly cancer 22 months ago. I could not function for 6 months. I DID NOTHING. But my years in counselling/therapy saved my life and helped me cope better with loss. I had repressed my grief all my life and in my 40's wanted to die and was fortunate to get the right therapist and my miracle started. I never gave up counselling when it got rough. I saw it through and one day woke up and I GOT MY MIRACLE. The Healing started and I felt complete for the first time in my life and resolved my losses of 40yrs. in 4yrs of counselling. I have never gone back to feeling that bad again. I feel HEALED and WHOLE, for the very first time in my life.
Do the grief work with your counsellor and you will get your life back. You will then be in a better position to know what you want out of life and then you will be stronger and be able to make your life happen in a better way. This two and a half month relationship was perhaps a blessing to you at the time. You will grieve this loss and then move forward into better relationships with everyone. Grief is ugly, and horrid, and none of us want this. But remember we didn't do this to ourselves. Grief seized us by losing a loved one and we are trying to handle it the best way we can. this pain is UNBEARABLE. It can drive us crazy for a while our whole world is turned upside down. We don't know when it will turn right side up and help us to live again when our world has crumbled. Don't be hard on yourself, and don't regret falling in love. It will happen at the right time and with the right person who will STAND BY YOU. Some people in our life we have to let go of. Many will let go of us, and this happens often after the funeral as many of us can testify. You will get your life back again and you will be in a happier place after doing the grief work. I am sorry for your loss of your beloved wife. May Life treat you well.

Mar 27, 2014
Karl
by: Anonymous

Karl, your therapist is right. Too many times someone feels that they can re-create what once was with someone new way too soon and it ends up just like your scenario. You must give yourrself time to grieve and go through the many stages . It's a must . You probably weren't aware of how much subtle pressure you were putting on Amanda. She felt overwhelmed and she was much younger than you. Yes that does make some difference. Especially when it comes to dealing with a widower. Get to know who you are again don't rush into anything or make any hard decisions until you know you ae emotionally ready . Your wife deserves the proper grieving. Your children shouldn't have to deal with anything esle either . Give them time to get over the loss of their mother. Don't rush another woman on the and when you do make sure the woman is truly smitten with your children as much as you.

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