Friday, December 4, 2009

before and after week - my jewelry

Before (size 5-1-4):
After (size 5-3/4):

(To change my ring to my right hand was very deliberate because it didn't fit my right hand. I had to take it to have it re-sized and spend money on it. It is just too beautiful not to wear every day. I want it to always be a part of me. Brian loved my ring. He would fuss at me to clean it up when it would get cloudy with lotion and hair products. He would sometimes just hold my hand and then put my ring up to his very near-sighted eyes and gaze at it. I miss that gaze.)

I am who I am. I am emotional. I am thoughtful. I am a good listener. I am a talker. I am deep. I am a writer. I am analytical. I am outspoken. I am encouraging. I am an all-in type of person.

What many people don’t know all that well about me is this: I am also afraid. I am also lonely. I am also insecure. I am also approval-seeking. I also have a short temper.

That makes it hard to be me. It makes it hard to suddenly be single. Insecurity, fear, loneliness and approval-seeking are not good attributes to have while entering the dating scene again.

Yes,, I have officially entered the dating scene again. In the month of October, I wrestled with all my emotions and stirrings and new sensations regarding men. I spoke with my counselor. I prayed. I spoke with other widows. I cried. I perused through old videos and photos of Brian and me. I decided that one cannot have a love like Brian and I had and not wish to be loved and to love again. There is no set time-frame in determining if this is something one wishes to phase back into one’s life. There is no mandated grieving period. I have been grieving part of Brian since April 2007. I began realizing he was dying in April of 2008. It was confirmed for me in October of 2008. It happened drastically from January to March of 2009. My grief has been ongoing for 2-1/2 years. I realized that I am not betraying Brian, but rather honoring him by wanting this in my life again.

I am 37. I think, relatively speaking, I am young. I think, relatively speaking, I have a lot to offer.

Yes, I have had a a few dates. It is strange, but not really, which I realize makes no sense at all. I will not elaborate on my dating on this blog at all as it is very private and personal and not something I wish to bring under any more scrutiny than I already feel is present - scrutiny that I realize is self-perceived. Plus, it is embarrassing and I do not at all wish to bring anyone into what feels like school-girl crushes.

Being who I am – emotional, thoughtful, all-in, insecure, talkative – I realize vests me quickly and deeply into relationships. My earnest prayer right now is for guarding of my heart. I give my heart away too readily and easily – perhaps naively – and I realize that can be dangerous. I just don’t know how to be anyone I am not. The protection of my children and their hearts is the one thing that I know will keep me grounded in this.

And dating is selfish. Dating requires time away from the kids. It is all about me. Talking with my friends later about a date feels very selfish – totally me centered. Hiring sitters so I can go out on dates requires money away from what the kids and I could do. Then hiring sitters so I can actually go out with my existing group of friends adds to that. Dating is strangely selfish when you have kids.

And then there is the insecurity – am I pretty enough? Am I intelligent enough? Do I have enough to offer? I have two kids that are part of the full-time package. They do not go away on Thursdays and every other weekend. Who could love my kids? Who could handle their energy and eating habits and sometimes rude bathroom talk? Why would someone want me and all the baggage I have – that I have a love for a man that will always be part of me, that I have kids, that I have bad habits, etc?

And then there is the fear – how do I stay safe? How do I protect my heart from being broken knowing that I throw too much of myself into relationships? How do I be true to myself and not get hurt? What if I am rejected? Etc.

Having the type of personality I have and forming the type of relationships that I form make this very difficult to balance against being logical, smart and safe.

Please pray for me as I enter this next phase.



  1. Praying that God will protect your heart! You are NOT selfish!

  2. Angie,
    You have taken a step that most young widows make and realizing what a big step it is you are now questioning yourself. Even if you feel it is selfish it is moving through to your new life.

    I can only tell you from experience after my first husband pasted away that you have to be very careful. There are men out there that will prey on you while you are still trying to figure out the dating styles of today. Be true to yourself and God and you will not be led astray!

    If you do make a commitment to someone new in your life, my only advice is to take your time. Get to know the person really well before you move rapidly into your new relationship. Looking back I see how many mistakes I made and when I jumped into something that today I would never had done. Be careful. Be loving. Be yourself. Don't let anyone make you do something that is against your principles and you will be successful. Place it all in God's hands.
    Bless you and keep you safe, your sister in Christ, Karen W. in S.W. Ohio

  3. I will definitely pray for you in this Angie! This post shows that you are self-aware and God aware as you enter this phase of your life. I know that will keep you grounded. Hugs to you,

  4. I'm not even going to attempt to give any advice, because it would be pure idiocy coming from me.
    I'm just going to listen and marvel at how beautiful and brave and precious you are.
    God will provide and go with you, always.


  5. What you bring to a new relationship is not baggage! It is a wonderful, loving family life that would be a gift (one of the greatest gifts ever!) to the right man. You bring experience. You know how to give and receive love. You know how to press through difficulties, loving when you know it will break your heart. You have learned some of the hardest lessons in life and bring wisdom and grace and a sense of humor with you. I'm praying God will bring someone who will look at all you bring into relationship as assets and not liabilities. Just don't forget what real love feels like and settle for something less.

  6. Angie, I suppose for some women, dating could be considered selfish. But, they are not near the mother that you are. You have balance and roots so I'm sure that you are just not used to having anytime at all to spend away from the kids. I am convinced that it is good for them to experience a little time with a sitter or friend. They get to see that you come home to them, repeatedly, this should instill a sense of security.
    Also, knowing fully that God can protect your heart, remember to heed His word in that "the heart is deceitful", is there someone that you trust implicitly that doesn't have their own adgenda where you are concerned? Someone that is a good judge of character? Perhaps, if and when the opportunity presents itself you could rely on such a person to give you an honest appraisal.

    Beyond that, I just have to say that I think you are brave (even though I know you hate hearing it) because I don't know if I could face the world of dating again. I'm not sure I would have the grace, patience, wisdom and down-right guts! Much Love!

  7. I will continue to pray for you and the boys as you enter this new season in your life. God will send you exactly the right person. And I like to think that Brian will also be putting his two cents worth in as well!

  8. I can relate to this post 110%, maybe more.

    I too have entered the dating world. Actually tonight, I'm going out on a blind date. One of my girlfriends set us up. We have been exchanging emails for a few weeks now and have decided it's time to meet. So we will be going out tonight! I'm a really tiny bit scared, a lot excited, and lots more nervous. I haven't dated in about 13 years!! There are tons of what "if's" right now running through my mind.

    Some people have told me that dating at almost 16 months since Shawn's death is too soon. I hate when people tell me that. Here is what I think....Unless you (and not 'you" because I know you have) walked in my shoes than you have no right to tell me how this entire thing feels. Like you and Brian, Shawn and I had a great marriage and we loved each other with all our hearts. I don't feel like by me dating again I will be cheating either, but honoring him by trying to get the type of life back that I want and miss.

    I have told myself over and over that I won't settle for the first guy that walks buy. I know I will be just fine by myself. BUT...I also know I don't want to be myself either, I'm not that type of person. I want to be able to share love and be loved by somebody else.

    I know you know exactly what I mean as well. Good luck to you, I will be thinking about you.

  9. Praying as you sift through all these emotions. Proud of you for taking risks.

  10. You know, when it's right it'll be right and it's no one else's business. You've been through the wringer, not that person. If YOU make the decision, that's the end of it, and if someone makes you feel guilty about it, that person has some serious issues upstairs. You are beautiful, a devoted wife and mother, and someone is going to see though all the baggage and see a beautiful YOU. I'm praying for you, sweetie. :)

  11. I wish you luck on this new adventure. You are a brave woman and Brian is proud of you. For the right man you and the boys will be the perfect ready-made family.

    It hurts me to think that you don't realize how beautiful and intelligent you are--it shines through in everything you write.

  12. Follow your heart, Angie which is strong. You are a beautiful, vibrant woman so full of love and life. Having had such a fantastic first marriage you know what it is like to be in a loving partnership. Love ya heaps! Joyce

  13. Sweet Angie, I love that you cannot be anyone else but you. That honesty is true and brave and precious. I will pray that Jesus will give you supreme wisdom as you venture into this new stage of life. I used to be so afraid of Rob finding someone else if I passed away. Now I would never begrudge him that relationship because he and I have such a strong relationship. I would want him to have someone to love and to love him. So it is normal and natural for you to want that again. I am sure that Brian would want you to live life to its fullest and would want a worthy man to watch over his boys. What should comfort you most is that all of your days are written in the Lord's book. He knows exactly what man to bless your life with. Go slowly and wait on Him for this next step. I will be cheering you on.

    Love from Shawn from TN

  14. The people I have known, who lost a spouse, all began dating within 2-4 months. Their spouses wanted them to date, and one friend had to promise his wife that he would begin dating within two months.

    Matter of fact, one married four months after his wife died (and they are still married all these years later, and one guy married six months later (they're still married).

    The gal friend didn't remarry for a couple of years but that was her choice.

    I have read that happily married people want to repeat that, and so it's not unusual for people to date.

    You are a wise woman, and guarding your heart is something that I will pray about of course.

    ~ Nan

  15. Angie,
    I am available to babysit whenever you need and I'm free!

  16. The ring is just beautiful! Im glad you are still going to wear it on your right hand :) Good luck with dating and I will definitely pray for your guidance and the protection of your strong heart :)

  17. Angie,
    You have been in my thoughts every day for nearly 9 months. I am sure this topic brings lots of trepidation for you. I can imagine that simply writing this post was really hard because writing it makes it all so very true, so very real.

    I am praying for you. Every day. Every night.

    And, from knowing you for over 20 years, I can tell you, you will not have to look for men. They will find you. You have the most magnetic personality, the most infectious smile, the most amazing mind. I am confident that you will find a helpmate who is a wonderful fit for your family. He may be different from Brian in every single way. It will cause you to grow, cause you to question yourself, cause you to struggle. But you will learn more about yourself and about trusting God and his plan.

    Love you!

  18. Praying for have so much to offer - not baggage! Praying ultimately for you to be happy, loved, cared for, and secure!!

  19. I too will be praying for you Angie as you enter this new phase.

    And, not that it matters, but I am proud of you. You are putting one foot in front of the other and following what you feel lead by the Lord to do. He will guide your path!

  20. Angie,
    You inspire me sooo much.

    You make me giggle with the comments you leave on my blog. You make me smile, cry and soar with your blog posts.

    Good luck. God bless and you're so right. When you've experienced that love.. you cannot live without love. We are not designed to be alone.

    Bless you and prayers honey, from me to you.

  21. what an inspiring post! I love how you've come to this post and decision in your journey. You are worth it - worth so much love.

  22. There is not one thing that I can add to the wonderfully insightful and loving comments already left, so I will just say how proud I am of you for being who you are, self-perceived warts and all. Prayers going up for ya, darlin.

  23. Hon, you will get ZERO scrutiny from me. I think that, if you haven't walked in someone else's shoes you really can't judge or scrutinize their life. It is, after all, THEIR life and without walking in their shoes, it's impossible to figure out what is good/bad, right/wrong, etc. I personally think that it's great you're slowly entering the dating world. I'm sure there is a great deal of awkwardness & trepidation just as there would be after a divorce. After having been married, reentering the dating world is bound to be scary for a million reasons. I'll be praying that you are able to find someone to share time with that doesn't require too much of you right off the bat. Baby steps...