I feel the need to write a disclaimer about this post. I have gone back and forth about how transparent I was going to be in writing about the months following Jason’s death. To be honest, there were some dark, dark, moments and to be honest, I struggled with some temptations, and to be even more honest, I felt like I had a free pass to do what I wanted to do because God owed me. I had been through a nightmare so surely he would understand a few freedoms on my part if I wanted to take them for a while. As I struggled with how much to share, God has been very blunt with me in saying, share it – the joys, the pains, and the struggles. I have heard this message repeatedly in the books I’ve chosen to read, through sermons I’ve sat through, and in my quiet times alone with him. These past moments that I share are not necessarily all proud ones, but they are very true. I’ve learned that most people don’t general connect with a glossed over, perfected version of Christianity that our culture so often offers and instead the life changing decisions are often made in the raw honesty that we share when we strip away the hidden layers and agendas and expose ourselves as true people, struggling through life just like everyone else and so eternally grateful for a Savior who heaps grace upon grace for us as we pick ourselves up over and over and over again. I’m here to say that God protected me from some of my worst desires, and He was, as He always is, graceful and merciful in forgiving me and blessing me in spite of my foolishness.
After about a month of widowhood, I started to get antsy. It was this sort of antsy feeling to get out and find myself a husband and a father for my four children. I know that probably sounds insane coming from a woman who just lost her husband but if I’m honest, which I try to be, that’s what I was feeling. Maybe it was a coping mechanism, maybe it was a true desire, maybe it was a way to occupy my mind, but it was there. I woke up one day and realized I was still alive; a breathing, hot blooded thirty something year old woman and although I was extremely tired, I wanted to get out and socialize, and if I’m being completely real, I was itching for some male companionship. I so desperately craved this, not in a sexual way necessarily, although that did sound pretty appealing as well, but more of just in a male conversationalist way. Even up until the very end Jason and I were able to talk and I really missed that aspect of my life. Each weekend I would get a babysitter and go out for dinner with one of my girlfriends or sisters, who would in turn get a free pass out of the house by telling their husband’s that, “Jess was having a hard time and really needed someone to talk to.” Although the wounds were still very fresh and raw, there was something in the motion of rising up out of bed, getting dressed, putting makeup on, doing my hair, and these motions reminded me that I was still alive, I had not died with him. It was strange going out without a ring on my finger and to actually be available for a man to talk to if he wanted to. I have to laugh now for I’m not exactly sure what my motives were? To hang out with my girlfriends? Have a guy approach me and actually talk to me? Only to find out that my husband had just died and I had four children? And bonus, a special needs child that he could raise as his own? I mean, really? I laugh because my mind was so confused – on one hand, I was so, so sad that Jason was gone and on the other hand I so, so badly wanted someone in my life again. It was by the grace of God that I didn’t go home with some guy because I probably would have. I was looking decent being the thinnest I’d been in years (stress and grief will do that to you), I was finally sleeping so my eyes weren’t bloodshot anymore, and I was still nursing, so I had some ump in that department. I thought, get dressed up, put some makeup on, just like I was nineteen all over again and some guy would walk up and ask me to marry him. Couldn’t be that difficult, could it? As a woman, I wanted to be held, kissed, and loved, if only for a moment, and as a mom I just wanted someone to be a dad for my kids. At night, I would cautiously check out those dating sites, never signing up for one, but just looking around. I arrogantly thought that those were for really desperate people who couldn’t find a date the normal way, but there I was, at night, sneaking glances at some of the single 30 something year old men and occasionally a younger widower as well. I reasoned that I would want a single guy, because I didn’t need any of the baggage that a divorced or a widowed man would bring. Funny huh? Many may think, how in the world were you to the point of wanting to date a few months after your husband died? Are you completely heartless? My explanation is simple, it had been a long time since Jason and I had shared something that resembled a normal husband and wife relationship. Looking back now, I was not done grieving, but I had accepted the fact that he had died. We had a good marriage and I didn’t have any guilt that went along with our relationship in terms of unspoken thoughts or feelings. I think a bit like a man in that when I accept the reality of something, that’s that. And, that’s what I had done. I was not married anymore and just because I was still sad about his death, I didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t try to rise above that sadness by introducing something good into my life. I don’t like to wallow in pain, period. Some people like to wallow in it because of the sympathy they receive, I hate sympathy, it makes me feel weak, so no, it was not in my nature to live in the pain, especially if I could “fix” the problem by looking for someone, and if nothing else than to look for someone to share a conversation with. God had a different plan. God knew my desire for a good marriage again and he honored that but I had to play by his rules, not mine. One night as I was stalking around on one of the popular dating sites, I felt a stern voice say to my heart, “Wait. Wait until the new year to sign up for one of these sites, if I don’t come through by then, do what you want.” And so I obeyed and the waiting began.