Sunday, March 7, 2010


Hey there-

I recently returned from a trip to Colorado. I like to get the boys out there to visit my family and do a little skiing. We stayed with some friends of mine from college. One evening we were having a lovely adults only meal in the dining room complete with candles.(we like to light candles at home but the boys just want to blow them out so they can dip their fingers in the hot wax and make wax finger tips that I later find all over the house-kind of ruins the ambiance of the candlelight for me)

My friends have two boys of their own and all four boys were busy watching some Olympic ski jump competition on the TV. Visions of rigging up a jump of their own in the backyard were racing through their little boy minds no doubt.

While enjoying the relative peace and quiet and good conversation with completed sentences and everything the all too common topic came up of "How does Mike do it?"

How does he live in the shadow of the sainted dead husband?

"I couldn't do it," said my friend. "It's gotta be tough."

I am not picking on this particular friend, I have heard this sentiment many a time from all different people. Mike's friends (some of whom suggested he not even date a widow to begin with), my friends, my family (some of whom suggested I not mention Bob's name in front of Mike), neighbors, coworkers......the list goes on. Everyone seems to believe that Mike deserves some kind of medal for putting up with the likes of me. A widow who remembers her late husband fondly, misses him and believes that he should still be a presence in his sons lives even though (especially because) he is not here live and in person. I never seem to get an equal amount of recognition for putting up with my particular situation, maybe because the phrase sainted ex-wife is not sweeping the nation.

But I am not bitter.

Let me state for the record that I think Mike is am amazing man. He is my greatest fan and supporter, has a great sense of self, is very concerned about my happiness,is great with my boys, and has a wonderful sense of humor about the whole sainted dead spouse thing. One of my favorite examples to share is a time we were spending the night at a friend's house. This was a couple that Bob and I were very close to and Mike was meeting for the first time. The topic of where people would sleep came up and the husband said to the wife; "Irene and Bob could sleep in our bed". While I was cringing on the other side of the table Mike leaned over to me and asked; "Where am I going to sleep?"

See, now that is funny! What are you going to do, be upset? It was an honest mistake.

Anyway,the boys and I were driving to the library yesterday when I heard a familiar CSN tune come on the radio.

"If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one your with." (That would be Crosby, Stills and Nash for those not familiar)

I don't know that the lyrics were meant to speak to a widow necessarily, I am thinking it was more of a war time song, but these words spoke to me during this particular outing.

I can't be with Bob. But I can be with Mike. And I can love him. Not the same way I loved Bob, but not any less, just different. Mike is here....right next to me. (as the song goes)

Maybe it is all just too weird for people not in the situation to understand. It is a conundrum for sure. People try and put themselves in our place and imagine, and maybe you just can't imagine. And both Mike and I seem unable to explain it to people so that they seem to truly understand. We seem to get a lot of odd looks and shaking heads.

Well, I will keep working on the right words. But until then I will continue to love the one I am with as best I can. And, hopefully, the rest will work itself out.

Thanks for checking in-



  1. Irene & Mike,

    I Loved this post! Thanks for sharing!



  2. Very interesting topic. I've never understood either, why the new husbands deserve that badge of honor. I've heard comments that it would be easier to marry a widow because the husband is deceased and conflicts in the future would be avoided, unlike an uncooperative ex-husband living in the next town or even down the street!

    The CSN song is very appropriate here and in a way serves as a reminder for all of us whether remarried or not, to focus our energies on the present because that is what we've got. Although that does not mean that we forget our past and our loved ones.

  3. WITM-

    I completely agree, I have always thought it easier to deal with a sainted dead spouse than a live ex. As long as we are careful with the comparisons. Because they are odious.

    And indeed, just be here now.


  4. Awesome as usual, Irene. I love reading your work.

  5. "...just be here now"

    I think you just found the right words.


  6. I have been feeling like I should put in a disclaimer that I am not always funny and light in dealing with this issue... Like freaking out 2 months into dating about if I would measure up, or where I fit in. Or worrying that Irene will chose Bob in heaven (if I believed in heaven)... :) She has assured me that if we all do meet in Heaven Bob will have to accept that we are now involved in plural marriage. :) Our success has more to do with Irene's candor in putting it all in perspective and being able to openly talk about these things without making me feel threatened than it does with my acceptance of the situation.....

  7. Irene,
    I found yours and Mike's thoughts and feelings wonderfully honest and sensitive, bracing, even. Best wishes for your family and book!