“Mom … do you ever get sad and worry that you’ll never find the right one and that you’ll be alone forever?”
Watching the golden brand strands fall down her tiny back, I feel my heart twist at the not-so-gentle question. I often wonder what the world looks like from her view and how different or similar it might have been to my own view at that age. Is it empty? Have I filled it with what she needs and what I can? We’ve been here many times before, quiet questions about what is gone. But she has never before so directly confronted what looms uncomfortably.
Alone. Alone. Alone. Forever.
My siblings have offered awkward, cutting and, I hope, well-meaning commentary on my social status and that the odds are increasingly not in my favor. My mother has suggested a subscription to eHarmony as a Christmas gift. Years ago it was my husband’s friends and colleagues who were the first to suggest it was time. There was my children’s announcement – in front of my fellow hockey-loving parents – that match.com is just what I need. Well-meaning friends have given up and my husband’s family can’t help but be curious.
My daughter’s wistful question it isn’t just that she is worried that the fact that she is dad-less will be glaringly obvious at the Daddy/Daughter dance she is so carefully preparing for. She’s begun to worry about me.
“Well, do you?”
Someday, when she is older, we will laugh together when I will tell her about the misadventures and misfortune of widowed dating. It’s not like divorced dating. You can’t bond over “I hate my ex” stories, and you don’t have free days and nights when your previous other-half has your joint offspring. There are the awkward “what happened?” and “I’m so sorry” and even the occasional “did you have a big insurance policy?” conversation starters. Try to dodge those and avoid the whole “I’m widowed” thing, and you end up with “sorry your ex is a deadbeat” conclusions. You’re the odd wheel, so even if you do get invited to the party, you’re often the fifth, seventh, ninth or eleventh seat. And in case you’re wondering, that whole internet thing isn’t just awkward.
It’s downright terrifying.
The reformed parolee. The middle eastern doctor looking for a woman to take care of his physical and domestic needs through residency. The man who suggested my height is ideal for “spinning.” The twenty-somethings looking for a “sexy, mature woman.” The professional colleague now divorced. The “looking for interested third.” The still-marrieds. The profiles that say 42 when the photo clearly says 62. Or 72. The women who think that I might want to try something new. The “waste management” professionals who share my husband’s uniform. The widowers. The one my husband trained. The long-distance lotharios. The ones who search me out on Facebook. The pictures in front of disheveled living room tables. And bathrooms. And bedrooms. The as-far-down-as-I-can-get-without-being-flagged-for-indecency pictures.
Hell, YES, I’m worried.
“Because it’s not fun to be alone. And you need to be happy.”
“Sweetheart, it’s not that easy. But I promise you when it happens, he will be the perfect one for me.”
“Make sure he’s tall. ‘Cause you shouldn’t be climbing on the counters.”
Single, widowed female: Seeking love, laughter and someone who can reach the dishes, apparently.