Finding Love After a Same Sex Partner Passes Away, my true lesbian story
Catch up from the beginning
If you haven't read the story from the beginning you can catch-up by reading the first two installments. The links below are presented for your convenience.
- Grief Woman to Woman
Fourteen years before I lost Debbie to Ovarian cancer, we celebrated our ceremony of commitment. The state of California did not legally recognize our relationship as a marriage (and to date, still do not)....
- Death of a Same Sex Partner, a True Lesbian Love Story
"It was a murderer conducting a home invasion!" That's what it felt like when Ovarian Cancer knocked on our door! It completed it's crime many times over with every phone call we made to let our family and...
Can I feel love again?
Two years ago, I held her in my arms while watching her expel her final breath. My wife passed away after a 10 month fight with Ovarian cancer. We had 14 years together and I would have loved her for a million more. Losing her was devastating, such torture I never thought could be endured.
I sat staring at empty space for more months than I can recall. Feeling nothing but the pain of her absence and touch. I don't remember breathing, eating, drinking or speaking for the first two weeks of those months after she was gone. I only new I was alone and lost without a reason on this earth to live.
I locked my doors, didn't answer my phone and only managed to bring in the mail because the mailbox was within reach of my front door. I know family and friends were in my house because my pets were cared for and I had food on hand. None of which I believe I managed. I drifted into a place where love did not reside and passion was restricted. No emotions were allowed in and certainly none could make it out.
It sounds trite, but it is in fact a necessary evil...
I was captured within my head and restrained there by an invisible force I assumed to be somewhere between living and dieing,...it did not much matter at that time which. Through the haze I could see my laptop. So benign and non-human. The answer I needed to at least foster some kind of interaction, yet not truly have to feel. It would be something to sense, a texture at least and maybe I would run acrossed a humorous stretch of words to bring a response... maybe a smile...possibly a giggle if I tried hard enough and the words were funny enough.
A Lap Top Atop a Lap
I picked up my lap top and placed it where it was created to land. Flipped the lid open and found my way to the web. I kept resiting in my head the promises to Debbie, I would find someone to share my life with, to not kill myself and to love once again. A simple letter, her last I can only assume, where her words promised me love somewhere other than with her. Her writing so plain and so un-poetic reached so deeply into me that my heart vibrated at the thought of her speech. No words, no poem could have spun the music in my soul as did that simple letter.
I must have tried to sign up for dating sites twenty times before I actually managed to completely follow through. But there I was. An anonymous player in the cyber wetness of Internet singles bars. Created a persona of who I thought I was without Debbie and who I might be in another relationship. It is a process, this recreating ones self after your spouse passes. It sounds trite, but it is in fact a necessary evil that is your only hope of making it back to becoming whole again and good enough for another soul to love.
Youth With LGBT PArents; Their True Stories
You want to meet in real life? Now what?
I found many conversations on line with many different women. They were,... well..., let us just say interesting women from around the world. At first, I was very sure this was the absolute worst idea I had ever had. Finding true love on line, what a bunch of bull! But, I played along anyway thinking at the very least it would provide some kind of entertainment and would keep me busy. Surprisingly it also provided many very bitchy conversations that I imagined having with my number one gay guy J-man, regarding the fundamentals of what is cool and what most certainly was not. Looking back, I feel a bit ashamed by some of the thoughts derived from the whole thing. But, I only had me in the room and I was not helping matters as I was in total agreement with myself at the time... ;)
If she/he shows up in a Hurst dressed like a vampire don't panic...
As the months went by, I actually managed to make a couple of real connections,...on line anyway. I had many real flesh-and-blood women of outstanding caliber with very beautiful attributes that I could have connected with. However, I found this almost a betrayal in my mind as they all had known Deb and I as a couple, which just didn't sit well in my heart. I knew who ever was going to reach me, would because they knew me and only me. You see, I knew better than anyone that I was a much better person with my wife than I could ever mange to be without her. Because of this I had to know that I would be enough for someone who didn't know me with Debbie.
I was very scared of being alone. However it was most important that I make certain of one thing above all else; who I was going to spend my life with had to be someone I truly loved. Being afraid of loneliness could play no role in the relationship. So I actually decided to meet a few of the women that I found interesting on line. Talk about a roller-coaster-ride-at-the-Crazy- fun-House-of-Love amusement park! Wow! Not everything people tell you about themselves is true, I am now fully aware of this and would enter into the game with eyes-wide-open. But holy hell some of these people were just nuts in the flesh! My 'people-picker' was a little rusty without a doubt.
Five things to live by when meeting on line people;
I found that what I liked about a pen pal wasn't necessarily what I liked in a person. I discovered
- Never assume they are what they say they are (If they show up in a clown suit and big shoes, check their ID)
- First meeting is always in a very public place (have a back-up plan just in case it gets too weird, or if the clown make-up starts to melt and you detect the faint aroma of cabbage, you could have a Carnie on your hands...in this case just run away... fast! Unless she/he has tickets for the rides)....
- Never give personal information until you are super sure they are not nuts. (This does not require a squirrel wing-man at first, but it might not hurt to have one on stand-by)
- You can only drink so much coffee over three hours (so, consider other beverages during the meet, this does not mean bring Four-loko)
- If she/he shows up in a Hurst dressed like a vampire don't panic, they may simply be coming directly from a play they are performing in. (If they are not a thespian, and you are not into the vampire thing, or if the fangs are real, I recommend responding as you would during the Carnie encounter,...run away, fast and far! Even if they do have tickets for the rides, trust me on this one).
Not all of the 5 things above were learned first hand, but why take the chance when you can learn from others?
ME AND THE GOLDEN BOY FALL 2010
" How ironic" I thought, "really? Cher?"
Before I lost Debbie, she put up one fierce super-hero fight against ovarian cancer. Ellen DeGeneres was always one of Debs favorite comedians. When referring to Ellen she would always say, "Ellen, she is our leader", well after watching Deb fight this thing for a couple of months I would tease her by telling her, "Deb you are our leader, Ellene has nothin' on you baby". In that good natured brave little buck-a-roo spirit I found loads of strength after she passed. It took awhile for me to remember it, but I did find it. For this reason I kept at the on line dating game. I knew in time she would bring me the person she knew would be best for me and the one that may just need me to love them.
...absolutely no emoticons...I was freakin' the hell out!
Tap, tap, tap I would type into the night until the sun started to rise. I was amazed at just how many people are on line 24/7. One lesbian dating sight I was registered on, Truebeginnings.com, seemed the most viable and offered what seemed to be more 'quality' individuals, which I was looking to find. Most women I chatted with were very nice and were well worth meeting and dating. So, after the clowns and squirrel-wing-man encounters, things started to look a bit more promising. I had a couple of meetings and a few dates. It all seemed fine and nice and at times even fun. But nothing ever stuck. I just couldn't connect to anyone, they simply didn't reach my heart.
Low Key and Kinda Funny
Most of the entire time I was on Truebeginnings.com I had been emailing a woman rather frequently. She was really cool, low key and kinda funny. She always stayed in my mind over the next year as we continued to email. We had set-up a time and place to meet on a couple of occasions but something always came up...Once I got really sick and a couple of other tries I kinda chickened out. I couldn't figure out why it was so damn difficult to make the personal connection with this woman. But I couldn't get her out of my head over the entire year since we first began to communicate. She was my Truebeginnings.com go-to-gal, in that I always new the conversations would be pleasant.
After a while (three weeks short of a full year) of communicating with my go-to-gal, I finally decided to make the phone call. The first voice interaction. It seemed so much more personal that simply tapping my keys and hitting send. This was real time communication, I would have to think on my toes. No time to re-read what I had written, or think about a subject for a few minutes before putting it to the page. This was it. It would have rhythm and spice and tone and absolutely no emoticons...I was freakin' the hell out!
A Single Second Can Be a Really Long Time
What if I said something stupid (which was likely) what if she sounded like Selma from the Simpson's? Damn, what if I sounded like Selma from the Simpson's? What if I don't like her on the phone, or she finds me droll and pompous. Would we still write, would I lose her as a pen-pal? How could I take such a ridiculous chance as to actually call this woman? What's wrong with me anyway? All this is storming through my mind as the phone connection clicks open....
I could hear the phone ring once,... twice,... three times and then,
"hello", I responded.
"Hey, what are you doing?", she asked.
"Talkin' to you", silence for two whole seconds ensued for what seemed like much longer. I could here the music coming from my living room stereo, Cher, Just Like Jessie James. " How ironic" I thought, "really? Cher?" I had hoped she couldn't here it.
Her voice was strong and seemed to feel warm as it penetrated my ear., "So, what's going on?"
"Just hangin' around watchin' my dog in the backyard", I responded while trying to move toward the backdoor getting as far away from the musics' reach as possible. Exiting the house, down the steps to the patio where the Golden boy was romping and playing so unaware of my racing heart and stammered thoughts. "How ridiculous I am", as I ponder. "Like a school girl talking to her first love for the first time. I am an old fool" I thought to myself.
It All Became a Playful Exchange
"Oh really, what kind of dog?" her question was very sincere and gave me pause. She was relaxed and smooth like we were old chums. Her demeanor brought me to a grounded place where I found ability to speak with her on any topic, and so we did.
Our conversation from that point on was real and playful. We talked about our pasts and the things we were looking for and desired in life. At times the conversation became slower and deeper in thought and then at other times we were just laughing together making harmless fun of life and then at moments we were even intimate in voice and emotional in nature. It was three hours later and I thought, "we've been talking for so long and it feels like nothing, a single tick of the clock". It had to be the most self aware phone call I have ever had, and I simply wanted it to go on forever.
...she simply still needed to shave her legs...
We finally met in her hometown, where I had made plans to go and conduct some wine tasting. I made reservations at a beautiful near by hotel she recommended and hired a driver and set the date and time for the meet. I couldn't wait to meet this woman. We had had many interactions on line, over the phone and had actually texted one another (literally) over one thousand times since that first phone call. I was already aflutter with anticipation.
I got to her city, checked into my hotel and waited for the concierge to ring up my room advising me that my car and driver had arrived. I had the day planned out to the minute. Wine tasting, lunch and caviar at a famous eatery and then back to my hotel to shower and change before joining Jennifer for dinner in town. She had arranged for an Italian dinner in this tucked away spot. Not overly fancy but very traditional Italian cuisine. I was very excited to eat there and to dine with Jen of course.
The Curse of Hairy Legs
I was at my first wine tasting location and decided to send her a text to make certain all was still on schedule for our meeting that evening. She assured me all was in place. And then as if I had never made a single arrangement for my day or scheduled an itinerary or planned to enjoy a remarkable bit of wine, I asked her if she would like to join me right then for lunch? She told me she was dealing with the "cable guy' at the time and suggested we meet right after lunch. I had two schools of thought at that moment; she doesn't really have any desire to change what was originally the plan because she's not as thrilled as I was about meeting -or- she really was dealing with the cable guy. I chose to believe that it was a cable guy issue. I later found out that it was truly neither one (even as the cable guy did install her HD TV that day) she simply still needed to shave her legs,...
She ended up texting me back a while later telling me the 'cable guy' had left and she was happy to meet earlier. I tried to be cool, but as I soon discovered, I had zero cool around this woman, and told her I could have the driver take me to where ever she wished to meet. To my surprise, she gave me directions to her front door. The car changed directions heading east immediately.
I wasn't the Only One Excited
A few minutes later Ed, the driver, pulled down Jennifer's street. I could see I wasn't the only one excited to meet after all, as she was sitting posed on her front step. Ed opened the car door for me, and I walked to her with a quick step (again, no cool what-so-ever present in my stride). Her hand popped out as if we were making a business deal. I tilted my head and told her I was going to give her a hug and that a handshake would, "simply not do". We hugged after a year of being electronically linked. We fell in love that first day. My one night visit turned into a week and we have rarely been apart since that day. Her embrace was as warm as her phone voice all those months ago and her personality was a perfect blend with mine. I, to this day, have no doubt that she was brought to me by Debbie as the one who would take care of my heart and love me truly and with the grace that is deserved. I found I could keep my three promises to Debbie once I met Jennifer face to face; I had found someone to share my life with, I would live and not end my life and I would find real love again.
A Year Later
One year later Jennifer and I celebrated our first year anniversary. It is a different life now without Debbie. Not better, just different. My life with my strong courageous redheaded Debbie was special and loving and ended far too soon. But my life with Jennifer has just begun and I am looking forward to finding comfort in the arms of this strong, courageous redhead for the rest of my life.