I Wish That I Could Have Amnesia

“I wish I could wake up with amnesia.” A line from one of my favorite songs. It certainly would hurt less to forget, but I am confident that I would be the same girl hiding in the shadows afraid if not for Phil loving me well and me loving him well. While I thought I could never love again, and perhaps that is true, the loneliness is creeping in. In the memories, there is a yearning for new memories and a hope for the future. It helps to know that Phil loved me enough to have “that conversation” with me. In our last face to face conversation, he stubbornly navigated my jokes, changing of the subject, and belligerently refusing to discuss the what ifs to ask me if I would want him to be happy again if I died first. Of course the answer was yes, but it is easier said than done.

Another widow I know who is remarried told me that she woke up one day and realized how lonely she was. I have prayed every single day for a year that the loneliness would go away, but it isn’t. I want more, but I am afraid. One of the residual impacts of losing someone with whom every dream was built, is that I can see a problem with putting too much validity into a relationship too soon. I no longer have flirting skills, dating skills, or game playing skills. I am old enough that there aren’t any options that do not require me to give up my moral compass. It isn’t that I do not want to try, it is that to try means transparency, trust, and patience.

Part of the issue is that imprinted memory. I feel somehow broken because I am a widow. I have heard so many statements that send me fleeing at the speed of light. I have heard that I need to stop speaking and writing on military loss and that I need to get out of the news. Never mind my job or that by doing what I do I am healing and helping others coming after me. I have heard that I have needs, he has needs, so why not–I think I will pass. I have heard that I was loved after one date and that he thought he could be the one to make me forget Phil because he was so great. Really? Can’t my chapter two be different and equally great?

In situations of divorce, people often don’t live in the fray twilight of knowing what it is like to love someone until their dying breath. Someone is usually angry or heartbroken. Pictures come down and most cannot or will not remember the good days. What do I know about that? I was married before Phil. I was young and their was a catalyst that caused me to walk away without looking back. I don’t think about him. I am no longer angry. I just don’t think about him. It has been many, many years if one considers that Phil and I were married 23 years. When a divorced person comes thinking that they can make me forget or that I should remove every family picture (there are very few up), stop blogging, stop speaking, stop working, it won’t work because they do not get widowhood.

I am not threatened by knowing someone loved to a person’s final breath and that they will always love a person that is no longer here. My thought is that if a man had a story like mine, he would understand the windows, the dates that creep up on me, the pictures, and the fact that I am who I am because I was loved well.

I have also had men who have read my book or blogs and tried to check off boxes. I do not want another Phil. I changed. I am no longer the girl I once was because I had no choices other than to change. I just want someone whose eyes light up when I walk in the room, someone who can’t keep his hands off of me and who makes me laugh, and someone who makes me a better version of myself. I want to stand stronger with someone again, but I am not sure that it will ever happen or even if I should try. If I try, where? Online dating will not work for me due to how public I have become. I don’t drink and I work with people who are younger than I am or married.

When I write that I wish I had amnesia, I do. If I could forget, I would not be yearning for more in my life. Having had a marriage based on friendship and passion, I know what I want and I know what is missing from my life. I do not want to forget a man who gave up so much to be with me just after he had his 21st birthday. He knew what he wanted and he was persistent until he got it. He kept it for 23 years. My chapter two will have to understand that Chapter 1 is closed, but it was still written. I just need more than a photograph.

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