Still a dreamer…Old Memories and New Hopes

I had an extraordinary husband and marriage of almost 50 years..Alone at 71 is not what I imagined. My husband and I were going to grow old together. Old today meaning in our 90’s. Widow is not a label I wear with pride. There are advantages to being a senior. They come with a price. Using my metro card now becomes an emotional experience. First the sound resounds throughout the bus and if that’s  not clear enough, a flashing green sign lights up and flashes “old person has just entered bus”. How I long to be flashed the color of adult, a lovely red, but I seem to be beyond adult. Recently Oprah was accused of possibly being a lesbian with her best friend Gayle King. Why??? Because they seem to do everything and enjoy their time together to the fullest. Well now, since  I’m not part of a couple anymore, and not being religious, joining a convent is out of the question. I seem to surround myself with interesting, nourishing, intelligent and sensational women friends who provide every emotional need. We talk about everything, we laugh together, we cry together, and there is not a single cultural event we can’t enjoy together..but do we complete one another? No.. Having tried about 5 internet dating sites for a project on widow/widowers, and also to seek another soul mate, I realized this is not a venue that suits me. I was immediately taken back to being 15 when dating was as daunting, though easier, than now. I met my husband at 17..Recently I woke up one morning and I had become a 71 year old virgin. If I was 100% whole when I was married, then over 50% died so suddenly that September morning. I had to reinvent myself, knowing New Jersey, and the life I had was gone. Many friends couldn’t handle my grief and I couldn’t handle their limited depth levels..but like any Garden of Love, you must remove the toxic plants to make way for the new and beautiful ones, and then others you just don’t fertilize, and they die on their own..no major arguments, just letting some acquaintances go into the universe, and practicing Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism, I found for everyone I let go off, twice that came into my life, enriching it beyond expectations. In my grief, I found the simple act of breathing too painful in all familiar places. We did everything together and completed one another. I was not a Stepford Wife, but a woman who loved being married and felt safe when I heard my husband at the door. Grief became my shadow. I left all behind,moving to New York City. Grief followed, but it was easier to cope with in a city so full of family, friends, and creative energy. My dating experiences were all one afternoon stands. Great for my ego for five minutes. The first man wanted to marry me and the others wanted to take me away. It seems, the new way of thinking for many of these men, all in their 70’s, was first sex, then get to know one another. In my mind, I was thinking, first courtship, then more courtship, a little more courtship, and when in a committed relationship, a first time in Paris sounded good to me.. All these dates were somewhat difficult since I never wanted to see the men a second time, so their offers were never taken seriously. I met a young woman ,on a bus when we both had a very unpleasant experience with a wild man yelling at everyone. When we got off at the same stop, she told me her Mom was widowed 12 years ago and has since become a very successful sculptress. She wanted us to meet. We did, having a lovely lunch together and then this very straight woman laughed at loud and said, “How I wish I was a lesbian because all the women, and you are no exception, are so terrific.. I laughed too, because every new woman friend I have met in NYC has been a new treasure, and so with a smile on my face, I say the same words, ” I wish I were a lesbian.”…but the reality is, I thought I would never live without my husband, and in order to move forward, I would have to find another love. What I found out was that women friends can be an emotional blood transfusion for a lifetime…

Comments on: "I Wish I Were A Lesbian (article originally published in 2006 New York Woman)" (2)

  1. Hmm. I can only imagine what you have to go through without your husband. I bet you wish you could live another day with him. Be strong and be good for your children (if you have some) and I am sure he would be thanking you for it wherever he is. 🙂

    • I just sent you an email. Chibuike, your kind words were wonderful to me. As I said in my email,soul connected love never dies. I feel his energy and spirit with me everyday. The void is huge, but I fill it with gratitude for all I have. Children, grandchildren and wonderful friends. Thank you again for reading my blog and commenting. I sincerely appreciate. All good wishes for the holiday to you and yours. Paulette

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