ADJUSTING TO remarriage after widowhood, handling the fear

I was widowed suddenly three years ago. I remarried two weeks ago. I am actually happy again - happier than I ever thought I would be after losing Doug.

However, there were challenges and adjustments. One adjustment was taking off the engagement ring and wedding band Doug gave me, and putting on a new, shiny band.

Terminology was also an adjustment. PS is a widower too. He and I agree that once you are a widow/widower, you are always widow/widower, even if you are fortunate enough to fall in love and marry again. It feels strange to call PS my 'husband." I never stopped calling Doug my husband, and never stopped considering myself his wife. What do I call PS? My "new husband"? Do I REALLY have to refer to Doug now as my "late husband"? PS told me he used to tease C by introducing her as his "first wife." I told him I am his "last wife."

After the wedding (we eloped), both PS and I dreamed out late spouses were not late. I dreamed that Doug came back and my reaction what "Oh sh*t, what do I do now?" PS dreamed that Claudia was not dead and he told me "I'm married!" and thought he was a bigamist.

PS and I lived together for a year before we married, even though I felt somewhat uncomfortable with that, as I am rather conventional. But it did mean that getting married did not require adjusting to different living circumstances - we already handled that part.

Family has changed too. Neither PS nor I had children, but I am delighted to have five new brothers and sisters-in-law, although they already treated me like family. My family loves PS but think he is crazy to be with me. Doug's parents and I are very close, and we still consider ourselves in-laws.

Almost all of our friends have adjusted to my changed circumstances and are very happy for us. One did make a strange comment. She saw how happy I was and said "Wow - just think - if Doug hadn't died, you never would have met PS!" I didn't respond, but for me it was equivalent to saying something like "Wow, just think - if that drunk driver hadn't hit you and left you a quadriplegic, you never would have gotten that great big insurance settlement!"

The biggest challenge for me right now is dealing with the fear of being widowed again. I know what " ''til death do us part" really means, and I don't want to do it again. I also don't want PS to have to endure that loss, at least not for decades. Yet I know for a fact that, unless we get divorced, or are lucky enough to die at the same instant, one of us will be widowed again.

Life is wonderful right now. But I am attached to PS and the life we have built together, and I am looking forward to our future. The Buddhist's believe that attachment is the source of all suffering.

There is a risk. PS is six years older than I. He looks and acts quite healthy, but has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Fortunately, unlike Doug's heart condition, it was diagnosed and he is under the care of a cardiac expert specializing in HCM. And if health doesn't get you, accidents can. Every time we part, I worry it could be the for the last time. I don't want to take our time together for granted, but I also don't want to invite negativity from the Universe.

I have been having some flashbacks to seeing Doug's body in the ER. I try to replace that picture with the happy Doug I was with in a dream after he died, with light and love pouring out of him.

I know PS and I could get lucky and perhaps have even more time with each other than we did with our first spouses. I am doing all I can to stay in the present, and to enjoy it and be grateful for it, on a day-to-day basis.



You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.
~ Author unknown



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