Overcoming the pain of losing a mate

On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter

 May 5, 2023

By Senior Dating Columnist Tom Blake

Five women share their views on overcoming the pain of losing a mate.

In today’s eNewsletter, a rarity occurs. It’s the first time I’ve included links to two songs. Those links are at the end of today’s column.

There were more than 25 email responses to last week’s “How soon to date online after a mate passes?” eNewsletter—which was based on Gloria’s brave description of losing her “Italian Stallion” Peter.

Today, I invited five women from those 25 Champs into my virtual writing office and had them contribute to this column. Some of the remaining 20+ responses will surface in a future article.

Carolyn, emailed, “I just finished reading your most excellent eNewsletter. I love reading every word you write. As is often stated, ‘Life Is For The Living!’

“We can always think and remember the good times and the love we shared with our mate who has passed on, but it is necessary to find another companion.

“I lost my close friend and companion in 2020 on April 10th (Good Friday). He was one of those people who contracted Covid-19 before authorities knew what was killing people so rapidly. He was so sick in December 2019, but it was thought to be pneumonia! After that, all his organs started to fail.  

“Back to the present! I am now seeing a man who is not my usual choice of a man, but he is nice, treats me well, buys me flowers and books I like and he treats me to fantastic Broadway shows. He is short, chubby, and bald but is a wonderful man who makes me laugh so much. Plus, a fantastic conversationalist! His wife also passed away. He said right off the bat that he didn’t want to remain lonely anymore. Neither did I. 

“I am so hoping Tom that you find someone who makes you happy and you can have wonderful conversations with. Hmm, possibly Gloria, whom you wrote about last week? She is quite lovely on the eyes I must say. Sorry to hear of Peter’s passing. Life is short so we all had better get out there and enjoy it to the max!”

Tom: “I appreciate the matchmaking suggestion. Actually, Gloria and I talked about your suggestion, but we agreed that a 2,500+ miles distance is a bit far, and neither one of us would be willing to relocate. So, we will remain pen pals.”

Pat, 76, “I have been a subscriber to your Newsletter for many years and this is the first time I am responding.​

“I was widowed at age 53 in 2000 after 32 years of marriage. The following September my only daughter gave birth to identical twin girls. So, I had something to focus on after losing my husband (I was a caregiver for many years as he had MS).

“The thought of dating didn’t enter my mind for years. When my granddaughters became teenagers, I found I needed more in my life and joined a dating site. I dated two men each for two years but, I knew there had to be someone out there that I could really connect to. So, I kept at it – it was like a job.

“I was able to recognize the scammers and finally met an honest man who lives 15 minutes from me. He was a widower. We started dating and two years+ later we are very happy together. I would never have met him if it hadn’t been for the Senior People site.

“Life is too short – especially at our ages. I never thought I would find someone at this age that I would care for so much and have such a terrific relationship with.

“My advice to you is to stick with it and you will find the right person. The old saying “You have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince” is true.

“Take care & lots of luck in the dating world!”

Tom’s response to Pat: Wow, you’ve been a Champ for years and this is your first response. Please continue because you are very pleasant and wise, and your story is one of hope.

I signed off to Pat as “Tom the Frog, hoping to become a Prince.”

Pat’s email made me think of Neil Diamond’s song, “I Am…I Said.” Especially, the line about the frog.

“Did you ever read about a frog

Who dreamed of being a king

And then became one?

Well except for the names

And a few other changes

If you talk about me

The story is the same one

But I got an emptiness deep inside

And I’ve tried

But it won’t let me go

And I’m not a man who likes to swear

But I never cared

For the sound of being alone…”

(Link to the song below)

Deanne emailed, “The worst part of widowhood for me is becoming one. For 33 years I was a party of two. We were the dynamic duo and the word lonely didn’t exist. I just can’t seem to get used to being without someone who was such a big part of me.

“And not having someone to talk to, laugh with and share life with is the worst pain I have experienced because it’s never-ending. This comes from a girl who experienced a Caesarean section with no anesthesia and lived to tell about it. My pain threshold is high, but surgery heals, and I just can’t seem to heal my heart.”

Thyrza emailed, “Everything you wrote last week about senior loneliness after a loved one has gone is so true. Senior loneliness sucks and longings for the departed beloved sucks. Given my experience in my marriage, it took me 10 years to get the courage to start looking. My oldest daughter would encourage me to give myself another chance. 

“I retreated to Cebu (Philippines Islands where I’m from) and busied myself with different activities. Ballroom dancing was popular then, so I took up ballroom dancing. Found a great yoga teacher, so I took up yoga again. I spent a lot of time meeting new and old friends at the mall. Anything and everything to drive the loneliness away.

“When I came back to California, I joined Match. I met a few frogs, but I persisted. I don’t want to live the rest of my life with an empty feeling. I enjoyed my three grands but having someone in my life to share my thoughts, feelings of joy and sadness, and the physical aspect of loving someone is a treasure.

“I found a man. It just takes patience and an open mind to find that person. To me, there is no time frame in which to find a new relationship. Looking back, I wish I’d had a different mindset then. Ten years is a long time to realize that loneliness sucks. Sooner is better!”

Dee, “I understand the need to find love again. I don’t want to just be friends although it could start that way. At my stage in life, I want warp speed. And from one member of our club (which we never imagined being members of) to another, it all sucks! 

“I work late so I don’t have to be home as the sun sets (just too many memories for me). This is not the life I planned, this is not what I could have ever imagined happening and I just want a new beginning.

“My friends are all married or in long-term relationships. They just don’t get it and I would never want them to be in my shoes. But I would like to find that special person to walk alongside me, hold my hand and make me feel good again. And a hug, wow that strong arm around me. Yes, I’m truly missing that. 

Tom’s comment: Dee’s immediate paragraph above reminds me of a quote attributed to Algerian philosopher Alfred Camus: “Don’t walk in front of me—I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me I may not lead. Walk beside me—Just be my friend.”

Dee continues: “No one can tell us what is good for us. Our lives, as we knew them, just died. But we are still here and should feel good again. Dating apps serve a purpose. We know the risks and pitfalls. I’m willing to take a chance again. I remain lonely but hopeful. And if I’m lucky enough I will kiss loneliness goodbye. 

“You and I know ‘the lonely.’ It doesn’t matter if it’s six months or years; time drags along, and we know that; we have become unwilling experts. 

“I was just thinking of ways to get myself back into life as I knew it when I remembered going to see James Taylor in concert when I was young. He could grab my heartstrings and I truly enjoy his music.

Before my 33-year love fest, this song really got to me. Today, with emotions a bit raw, I sang this song, “Don’t let me be lonely tonight.” It brought me back to my youth and reminded me of hoping to find someone again. 

“Here’s to finding love again after 50 and beyond. Here’s to all the dreamers filled with hope, who don’t want to be lonely tonight.”

Link to James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight.”

James Taylor Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight

Link to I Am…I Said 

Author: Tom Blake

Tom Blake is a newspaper columnist in south Orange County, California. He has published five books. His primary topic is finding love after 50 and beyond, sometimes far beyond, for people 80 and older as well. He also blogs about travel at TravelAfter55.com.

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