Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mr. Right

When I married P, not everyone thought it was a good idea. He'd been very sick during the year and a half leading up to our wedding, with multiple hospitalizations and two real brushes with death, and I imagine a lot of people wondered why I would want to deal with all that. In fact, I know they did, because some of them said so, either outright or obliquely. After all, I was only 24, just about to graduate from college and get started in life. Surely I could break things off with P -- kindly, of course -- and find someone just as nice, only healthier. Right?

Well, no, actually, I couldn't, because I loved P. I didn't love him because I felt sorry for him or because I thought he was the best I could do. I loved him for who he was, and because we fit perfectly together, and I would have done anything, accepted anything, in order to be with him. I would have sold everything I owned and lived in my car with him. I would have moved around the world and left everyone I knew behind. He never would have asked me to do any of those things, but I would have done them. Not being with him was not an option; I never even considered it. Knowing that I might (and probably would) lose him one day only made me more determined to have as much time with him as I could.

So we got married, and I never regretted it, not once. But as P got sicker, he started to feel inadequate and guilty, thinking that he wasn't the sort of husband and father that G and I deserved. He used to say that he was holding us back, that we'd be better off with someone who could have a regular job, or who wasn't in and out of the hospital all the time. I always told him that it wasn't true: he did a lot for us at home (which he did -- you've never seen anyone clean a house like P could), and more importantly, that he couldn't be replaced. We weren't a dollhouse family where you could just pop a new doll into the "dad" position if the old one broke. We were all unique and perfectly fit to each other, and not one of us was interchangeable with anyone else.

I believed this one hundred percent, but I don't think P ever did. In his heart, I think he thought that even though I loved him, I could and would replace him with someone "better" after he was gone. But that's where he was wrong. Of all my reasons for not wanting to get married again, one of the strongest is this: I don't want to create a situation where people might look at my life with someone else and decide that it's better than my life with P, and by extension, that it's a good thing P died. It will never be a good thing that P died. Moreover, I don't want anyone saying or implying or even thinking that what he feared most -- that his illness made him not good enough -- was true. I know it wasn't, but I also know from experience that you can't control what other people think. They see the outside of things and make snap judgments: "She ought to dump him and find someone else to marry." Or, " I'm sure she loved that first guy, but she's so much better off with 'Joe' here." Well, the hell with that. I won't have it.

I don't mean to say that I plan to live life in stasis and never improve my situation. If there's an opportunity for us to travel, or buy a real house, or do any of the things P and I would have liked to do but couldn't, then I'll absolutely take it -- but only if I can make it happen on my own. There'll be no "new dad" swooping in to save us, because we don't need saving. We don't need someone better than P, because there is no one better. For us, he was perfect just the way he was.


Annie said...

Hmmm, this was an interesting post because I live this. My family believes that my daughter and I are better off now than we were when my first husband was alive but very ill. They believed I was better off after he died too even before I met Rob, my husband now. It hurt when they made the offhand remark to that effect. Now, I just chalk it up to the fact that they don't really know me or why I choose/chose to live as I do. It really doesn't matter what anyone thinks because it's my life. And it doesn't matter to my late husband either. He has moved on to a new existence (that's what I believe happens to us all) and I am sure he lives as he needs and chooses just as I do.

If a widowed person chooses to remain single because he/she feels that this is what is best for him/herself, I think that is great. You should always be true to yourself. But, if the decision is based on anything else - I feel that person should perhaps decide not to decide for the near future and just let life unfold for a while without limits or expectations. But that is just me.

Gayle said...

Your post reminds me of a song my husband used to sing to me - "I'm not perfect but I'm perfect for you." And we were perfect for each other in many ways.

Since he's gone, though, I feel like I've changed so much and I'm begining to believe that it might be possible for me to meet someone else who also might be perfect for me.

Space Mom said...

No one can "replace" P. He is a person you love and not a part of a car. He is a unique person and your relationship, marriage, and child are as unique.

If you ever find another person you love enough to marry, they won't replace P. They will be another person in your life. Your heart is big enough to grow to love a new person, but not to replace your love for P.

It's not for other people who should decide when you fall in love or with whom you fall in love... it's for you

Pixilated Mum said...

Very heart-felt post, girlfriend. I can just feel the love you have for P in everything you said ...

However, like the other comments here, I think that any decison you make for your family from now on should be based on what YOU feel right for you and your family. Whether you ever marry again is totally not what I'm trying to say here. I'm just saying that other people's opinions of your life or trying to prove that you were happy with P to other people for the rest of your life ... Well, other people's opinions on something this personal and deep shouldn't factor in.

I saw the love that you and P had for one another, and it's seriously one of the sweetest, loveliest couple-ness I've ever witnessed. But if you ever married again, I wouldn't think it cancelled P out. And if you didn't marry again, I wouldn't think less of you either. But even if I was pushing you to marry or not (which I am not pushing!), you should totally disregard my opinion about the love that you had.

Because? Marital love is totally indescribable and private and earth-shaking and soul-touching, and no one on the outside of a marriage ever knows the depth of one unless they are one of the two in it.

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writermeeg said...

I have to echo what the other bloggers said so eloquently and sensitively here, V. About you, about you and P, about your capacity to love, and about insensitive or ignorant "other people." I can't say it better, so I won't try. (hugs)