I didn’t expect to write anything else for this site after posting Personal Blog #9 last December. I wrote in that posting, “Now that I have moved out of my comfort zone and moved on with the rest of my life, I don’t think I will have anything new to write about that could be helpful to others.”
I have moved on quite a bit … but not as completely as I had hoped. I still miss Clare a lot, and every week I experience some degree of sadness, loneliness, and painful feelings of loss. This site has received more than 100,000 visits since my first postings in 2013, so I’m hoping that site visitors who may also be struggling to fully move on and find happiness will read this and know that they are not alone. I, too, am continuing to struggle.
In March, 2015, a year before Clare died, I wrote an article titled, “An Alzheimer’s Spouse … Married, Yet Widowed.” As I watched Clare fading away from me faster and faster, I wrote: “I miss not having conversations with Clare. We can no longer play games, travel … I miss all of the social, emotional, and physical parts of our once close relationship.”
Sadly, I could write those same words today. During this past year I was lucky enough to have someone in my life who, while not fulfilling all my wants and needs, provided me the hugging and cuddling I have missed so much. That alone gave me great happiness … but, unfortunately, that relationship was very short-lived.
I don’t expect to ever find “another Clare,” but I do hope to find a special woman to share the social, emotional, and physical aspects of a close relationship. Such a special woman would add much happiness to my life and reduce my sadness and loneliness.
Contributing to my continuing sadness is my inability to focus only on positive memories of Clare. Our last years were so emotionally painful that whenever I try to remember only the “good times,” my mind is quickly flooded with images of Clare after AD had already ravished her brain and body. These are images I so much want to forget … but I seem unable to do so. I just cannot block them out.
To keep feelings of sadness partially suppressed, there are TV shows and movies I will not watch, and music I will not listen to. Watching loving couples on a TV show or in movies, whether enjoying life to the fullest or dealing with death, too often makes me cry. Similarly, listening to some favorite old songs will often make me miss Clare so much that I just start crying.
Hoping to meet a special woman, I have been sampling more new clubs and activities for seniors at community centers and libraries. Last year I joined an internet dating site, but I didn’t participate because I just wasn’t ready yet. In recent months, however, I have been actively participating on multiple online dating sites.
These efforts have enabled me to meet several nice women … but not yet the right woman for me. Many friends have suggested that I’ve set the bar too high, but I don’t think so. Only a special woman will provide me with the relationship I really want.
I know what I’m not looking for … I’m not looking for a friend “with benefits.” I will never have sexual intercourse again. It may not make sense to others, but sex with another woman would feel like a betrayal of the incredibly special love Clare and I once shared. However, whereas I am not looking for a friend with “full benefits,” a friend with “modified benefits” would be wonderful.
AD widows and widowers of all ages need to find new happiness in their lives. Making new friends, pursuing old passions, and exploring new hobbies and activities are some ways to do this. But for some what is needed most is a new close relationship to once again enjoy some aspects of the marriage they once had … a “second act” that will provide more happiness, less sadness, and less loneliness.
I have moved on quite a bit since Clare passed away, and since writing Personal Blog #9 last year. The quality of my life is better now. But … I am still hoping to have that second act.