It probably seems too soon to be thinking about this but it came up in one of my online cancer support groups. Someone who’s in my same age range (40s) has a wife who also has terminal cancer. (Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever used that phrase before.)
He was venting about the fact that someone told him, regarding the impending loss of his wife, “You’re still young, you can always get married again.” He was understandably quite upset with that dismissive reaction.
I got to thinking about it as it applies to myself and no, I don’t think it’s too likely that I’ll ever get married again. Not just because this first one will end in breaking my heart or because I won’t need companionship (because I will) but because I highly doubt I could ever find this again and I wouldn’t want to settle for less.
I’ve never met anyone else like J. We clicked almost immediately and have been best friends ever since. I’ve never had that degree of deep, instant connection with anyone else in any other context, romantic or otherwise.
That’s not to say that it has always been easy. Probably in part because we got together so young, we both had a lot of growing up to do and sometimes that was messy. Still, it was that connection (and our stubborn dedication to making it work, no matter what) that kept us together at times when others might have called it quits.
I think my husband would agree that over the years, we’ve both mellowed a lot and have become kinder. Life has a way of doing that, if you let it.
He knows how my mind works and about all my little idiosyncrasies. He often predicts how I’m going to react to something with almost eerie accuracy. Sometimes, I admit to wishing I could still surprise him instead of always being so seen and so known. But the vast majority of the time, being seen and known and accepted so completely is a comfort. He goes out of his way to make me happy.
We’re both open-minded people who share similar views on politics and the world. More than that, he’s also the bridge to my past. He grew up 30 miles away from where I did and shares a lot of the same experiences from having grown up in the same time and place. He knows who all my friends have been over the years and knew my now-deceased family members. We also have a ton of inside jokes, so many that it’s like a special language we speak only with each other.
Quite simply, I think that he is irreplaceable and so is the bond we share. I think that what we have is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love. We got extremely lucky to have found it so young, even if our story won’t have a happy ending. Some people never find it at all.
I can’t predict whether I’ll become so poor that I’ll eventually have to marry some other man or woman just so I can survive. Maybe I’ll find roommates who become friends, like a “Golden Girls” scenario. But what I can say with quite a bit of certainty is that there will never be another J.
And knowing what it’s been like to have him, any other relationship would be so mediocre in comparison that I just don’t see the point. I would be that person who always kept looking for a connection like what I’ve had with him and any potential new partner would surely get tired of being compared to J and always coming out lacking.
I still haven’t decided what I’ll do with my life after he’s gone. Unless someone raises a lot of money for me in a GoFundMe campaign or something (which is unlikely since I’ve already been that lucky once before), I’m not going to have the money to travel the world solo or have grand adventures. I’ll be lucky if I have enough money to live.
Yes, I’ll be lonely. But I’ll have had the experience of having one great love and that will have to sustain me.