I’ve been in a funk.
It’s getting to me—this online dating challenge.
I’m going on dates with men I’d never, EVER date in real life. In the process of attempting to be more open to different sorts of men, I’ve compromised my standards–something I never wanted to do.
I’m making a swift correction here and NOW.
I’m also going to start reaching out to men. In the past I’ve waited for them to contact me, but no more. Three days ago I joined a new site. I’ve sent out four messages to men that I believe I’d date if I met them in the real world. So far I haven’t heard back from any. That’s OK, I’m sure they’ve got a plethora of women skulking around their profiles. They’ll get to me and if not I’ll move on to someone else who’s Real World Dateable.
Tonight I’m going to see Ghost, The Musical, on Broadway.
My friend chose the day that worked best with her schedule (since I have no life) and that’s quite ironic. Tomorrow is my late husband Neal’s birthday. He would’ve been sixty years old. It’s hard to think of him at that age. He was always so youthful and hip.
He would hate being sixty—I know that for sure.
That’s probably another reason I’ve been feeling sad. For so long these “special” dates had little importance. I missed him so much I couldn’t catch my breath every single day. I’m much better now–it’s these big occasions that have a new significance. When I first got to New York I noticed small plates on benches in Central Park. I took a photo of one and posted it on my Facebook wall. I thought it was a beautiful memorial.
Although I loved the sentiment I never needed a place to go—I felt him around me all the time. Before my loss, when I heard the bereaved speak of their loved ones near, I attributed it to grief induced magical thinking. Then something happened to me.
Here’s an excerpt from my memoir:
Neal and I talked about what happens when we die. He was certain there was more than this life. His conviction cemented by a childhood in a devoutly Catholic household. In his family getting to heaven was not a hope but a requirement. I was a skeptic with no formal religious upbringing to support that theory but as his inevitable death became clear I asked for a promise that if such a place existed, he must find a way to contact me.
“You have to find a way to let me know you’re alright.” I told him on that last day. “Do you promise? It can’t be anything subtle, I have to know it’s you.”
“If there’s a way to do it I will,” he said, his voice hardly a whisper.
Then, at 5:13 pm–It happened.
In a physical, concrete, irrefutable way, my husband gave me the confirmation I’d asked for. My darling daughter witnessed it too. There was nothing subtle about it, nor logical explanation except that he had done what he’d promised. He confirmed death wasn’t the end.
Now I rarely feel him and wish I had a spot to go to on special occasions.
He loved this city that was his home long before it was mine. Yesterday I walked around the park with the dogs. I was seriously considering a memorial bench but then had to laugh as I recalled an incident.
“Mel, don’t sit there!” He admonished. “God knows the filth that’s on that bench and now it’s all over your clothes.”
Then he did this shudder thing.
Then I suggested he was more of a chick than me.
If I honored his life with a bench I’d have to sanitize it regularly. I doubt the Parks Department would allow me to attach a container of disinfectant wipes.
I do know what the plate would say:
Please Clean Before Being Seated
Do It For Neal
Probably a bad idea but there’s no reason I can’t sit and reflect on someone else’s bench. Here are some of my favorites:
So tonight I’ll see Ghost and tomorrow on his birthday I’ll remember him in my own way. I probably won’t feel his presence and I’m OK with that. As rough as online dating has been, I can handle it. Sure, after a string of horrible dates I’ll take some time to wallow.
BUT, if I compare what I’ve made it through and where I am today, all the nightmarish dates I’ve been on so far are simply a walk in the park.
”Please show yourself, I would love to see you.” Lisa Niemi