“I am one blessed woman to have the love of these two incredible men.”

The decision to “date” after the loss of a spouse is a very personal decision. It is a decision that belongs to the widow or widower alone. Some widows or widowers wait months or years to start dating; some are content to never date again; and others date or find love again very quickly. Just like with grief, there is no timeline dictating when it is acceptable for widows or widowers to begin dating someone new. But regardless of what decision they make; it is theirs alone. It is no one’s place to judge them and certainly not fair to begrudge or guilt a widow or widower more love and happiness in their life (especially when young). 

When Jim and I realized that he would likely pass away from cancer, we had multiple conversations about his wishes for me and how he wanted me to find love and happiness again. He wrote it in letters to me and he also had intended to write a letter to our sons about how he trusted that I would find a man that would love them, care for them, and that he had given their mother his blessing to remarry. How selfless is that? I was in tears when he told me and I still choke up at the memory. Jim knew that I did not want to think about a future without him physically here. After he died, I heard from friends that he thought about even creating a list of guys who I should date after his passing.

Jim showed me a deep, life changing, unconditional love.  He was a devoted, giving husband and an incredible father. So, when it came to imagining what a relationship with a new man would look like, I knew that this person would have to accept that I will always miss and love Jim. 

Jim would tell me stories of his childhood best friend, Jason Workman. How they were inseparable between the ages of 9-11. They lived across from a golf course and would collect golf balls and light them on fire (did you know there’s basically a bouncy ball in there?); they would build forts in the woods nearby, and Jim’s mom wouldn’t let those dirty, muddy boys into the house at the end of the day until they’d cleaned up. Jim and Jason lost touch as they got older because they went to different schools and eventually Jim moved to Madison.  

When Jason heard that Jim had passed away, he found me on Facebook and sent his condolences. He would check in via messenger every couple of weeks to see how the boys and I were doing. We related as single parents of young boys and shared stories of Jim. Jason will tell you (and believe him) that he had no intention of us becoming a couple. Our chats continued on, and a few months later we decided to meet as friends, and really that’s all it was; ….but after a couple of meetings in Illinois and Wisconsin, we realized there was a spark.

Now, we’re moving in together.  Jason has proved to be the man that Jim picked for me. Jason has a beautiful, generous heart and soul. He goes to great lengths to make me happy and is so hard working and family oriented. He fully respects that Jim will always be the boys’ Daddy, yet lights up when they exchange “I love you’s” with him. He understands that Jim will always have a place in my heart and in our life. Jason’s children have this amazing connection to Jim even though they never met. Grant  (7) has a picture of Jim hanging over his bed (at his request) and Kaleb (11) boasts about how great of a shot Jim was with a bow and arrow. Jason tears up with me when I cry recounting the hardest days of Jim’s battle with cancer and we love sharing our memories of Jim with each other and the kids. 

I am one blessed woman to have the love of these two incredible men.