Dear Abby recently ran a column on how long a widow or widower needs to wait after the death of a spouse before starting another relationship. It used to be considered scandalous for a widow to start dating before a year after a spouse dies. Now it’s up to the individual as to how soon they feel ready.
We are getting ready for a special wedding this weekend. My father-in-law Norm died three years ago in April, leaving Myra, his wife of almost 60 years, deeply bereaved. Six months later, her best friend Marcia died. She was married to Al about as long as Norm and Myra had been together. Al went into a depression and had Marcia’s name tattooed on both arms. Both couples had been friends for about 55 years.
Two months after Marcia died, Al came to visit Myra. I’ve never seen such a turn-around in demeanor! They were like a couple of high school kids. Al moved in with Myra within six months, and now they’re making it legal.
My husband Dave and I are thrilled for them both. As far as we’re concerned, they should grab as much happiness as they can. Every day counts.
Here’s a very moving letter Dear Abby ran from a husband who was dying of cancer, regarding his wife moving on after his death.
DEAR ABBY: Thank you for supporting the widow who started dating three months after her husband died. You were right when you told her, “The time to show respect for one’s spouse is while that spouse is living.”
Here is my story, and there must be a few thousand husbands (and wives) who feel the same as I do.
My wife and I have had many good years together. We raised kids, lived through joyous good times and horrendous bad times.
I am in my 18th month of chemo treatment for various cancers. I may live three months or five years. It doesn’t matter how short or how long my life will be, but it’s reasonable to assume that I will die before my wife does.
I have had a more rewarding and fruitful life than I probably deserve, for which I am grateful. But the day I die, my last thoughts will be regret that I shall leave her alone. So sad, to me, to know that after so many months of total concentration on my welfare — days of putting up with my misery and never letting me see her own misery — her reward will be to be left alone.
Abby, she is not the kind of person who should be left alone.
So I tell her now, and I want all my kids and friends to listen: “As soon as you possibly can, after throwing my ashes off the boat into the Pacific, wrap the memories of our life together around you — and begin a new life. If three days, or three months, after I’m gone, you find a man who will love and cherish you for a few years as I have for so many, go for it! You’ve earned it.” — “MAC” IN OREGON
DEAR MAC: Your sincerity rings true, leaving me uncharacteristically speechless. Thanks for a two-hankie letter.
As Al and Myra’s wedding invitation says, “Love is lovelier, the second time around.”