"Are you going to start dating again?"
"Have you thought of putting an ad on the Internet?"
"You never know when you might meet someone!"
"My [friend, aunt, co-worker] got remarried and had a whole new family after [his/her] spouse died."
"You're so young ..." [translation: that you're sure to get married again]
[At a wedding] "Come on and line up for the bouquet toss!"
I honestly don't think people intend to upset or offend me by saying these things. Every awkward life situation has its associated group of boneheaded statements -- a foot-in-the-mouth FAQ, if you will -- and widowhood is no different. Still, it amazes me that anyone could think, after ten and a half months, that I am interested in dating/marrying again (I'm not), or that I would make a good, emotionally healthy partner for anyone. Can you imagine?
Guy No. 1: I went out with some woman last weekend.
Guy No. 2: How'd it go?
Guy No. 1: She told me about her late husband and how she found him dead in their bed and still misses him every day.
Guy No. 2: Criminy!
Guy No. 1: I think she might have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Guy No. 2: So, no sex then.
I'm starting to think that perhaps I should have stayed a theater major after all, since clearly I'm a better actress than I thought I was. I'm walking around half-dead myself, as hollow and empty as a blown-out eggshell, and yet the entire world seems to think that I'm just fine and A-OK to move on with my life -- which I've lately come to realize is code for "start a new relationship."
Well, I don't want a new relationship. I don't want one now and I don't know that I want one ten years from now, either. There are too many things about P that can't be replaced; too much about myself that I can't explain to anyone else. He and I had grown up with each other in a way, even though at 23 and 21 we were technically adults when we met. We lived through a lot of milestones together, and you can never, ever duplicate that. And maybe sometime in the future I'll learn how to settle for something less, or to form another sort of connection that doesn't feel like second-best, but please, please, please don't ask me now. Just don't.