From Married to Mutant

Trying to divine if it's time for change

Trying to divine if it’s time for change

I finally realized we don’t recover from loss, we mutate. We can’t go forward but stay the same person, returning to a happy version of who we were. So we change, a change borne of necessity, not desire, but a way to move forward nonetheless.

The problem with the ending to my book is that I don’t really have one.  Or, as I tweeted, “Must elope with crowned prince immediately.”  But I can make my real-life ending whatever I want it to be, within reason.  I just have to figure out what I want it to be.  I’m trying to see choices as a good thing.  But to like having  choices, I first have to mutate into someone who likes uncertainty. I don’t even like typing the word “uncertainty,” it suggests upheaval, disappointment and–shudder–disorganization.

I’d like to mutate into some type of self-contained organism, complete on its own, able to reach out and make connections at a moment’s notice, but also happy to be by myself into eternity, working joyfully on my book but unattached  to the result…NOT.

I don’t know how to do that. I looked at a dating site again and shuddered.  And yet, look at all those choices. If this were a salad bar, I’d stay behind the sneeze-guard.  Stay where I am?  Look around?  I wish the choices seemed more appealing.  Or that I liked running around  with lot’s of people, again, with no attachment to the outcome.

The benchmark for losing our life-partners seems to be dating. “Have you met anyone?,” ask well-meaning acquaintances. When we say no, they suggest the odiously generic, “Get out there!”

But that’s counterproductive. We need to see who we are now, on our own, before trying to become part of a couple, once again. Some of us don’t even want to do that, choosing to be alone.  I’ve heard from several widowers who’ve talked about how much they like being on their own, arranging their time and their homes exactly the way they want.

I think right the question is, “Do you feel like you’re taking up enough space?”  Have you recovered from your loss enough to feel like you’re stretching our and living as opposed to burrowing in a corner.

Now, I can’t seem to do a lot of stretching outside of yoga class.  I tried a day in Carmel by myself, finding this sculpture to remind me of the old age I won’t be having with George in Carmel or otherwise:




And while I enjoyed having lunch and hanging out at the the beach on my own, by dinner time I’d had enough solitude.  I didn’t want another solitary meal nor a night in a romantic place alone.  So, I stretched a bit, but came home to burrow. Hence, the peak at a dating site, but I wasn’t planning on having a strange guy fed ex’ed to me for a seaside escape.

Do you feel like you’ve had to mutate to deal with loss?  And if so, mutated into what?

Staying inland for now,









  • Bob H says:

    The question isn’t “Do you feel like you’ve had to mutate to deal with loss”, the question is “do you except your new mutated self and the feeling of powerlessness due to your loss”. My answer to this question is, “I’m working on it and there seems at times no light at the end of the tunnel”. So, is the solution companionship, reading a new book, some really bad tasting ice cream, or just vegging out on the couch, I’m just not sure. I don’t want to seem cynical, but, sometime I wish I could just run away and not have this loss always following me around like a bad rain cloud. I think I need to buy a big rock and hide under it like Patrick and come out on those sunny days of happiness, but, that’s not life is it. 🙂

    • Debbie says:

      And I feel that way too a lot of the time. Thanks for being honest. I don’t know what the solution is, maybe a combination of what you’ve listed here. Reading and companionship help me. I’d go for good tasting ice cream. 🙂

  • Quinnland23 says:

    Totally relate to the coastal trip, and would suggest that it may be more of an introvert thing, preferring to stick close to home base. Having a significant other is just like having a portal home to travel with,… like in the after-school special “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble” you can be John Travolta and safely explore the extrovert world while wrapped in your familiar protection,… leaving that bubble can be problematic. So in that sense I guess you would have to mutate to find other ways to survival that hostile environment,… where other people lurk. =P

    • Debbie says:

      Awesome point. You are so right that when you have the right partner, you’re always at home. Cheers to us introverts…we spend less on travel dollars!

  • Jeanette says:

    I know that statue well, and feel like crying every time I see it. There’s no place lonelier than Carmel when you are single. What were you thinking?

    When I think of growing old with anyone but my late husband, it doesn’t sit right. As of now, 8 years later, I am once again settling in to the prospect of growing old with my girlfriends. I’ve had 2 serious relationships since my husband died, and have decided that I just get annoyed by everything, after having taken care of other people for 21 years – because I have become accustomed to the freedom. Call it the glass half empty view of relationships, yet there is a glass half full view of being single.

    There’s a Facebook challenge going on right now, “7 days of pics with your spouse”, and just like in my young single days, the pointing out that I’m single is a bit stinging, however now I am older, wiser and have already done that.

    I’m thinking about posting a “7 days with my spouse, who is me” series: Day one: me stretched out star-fish-pose style on the bed alone, no earplugs, sleeping in as long as I want. This would be of course after dropping into bed exhausted the night before, and actually going to sleep instead of going through the “I’m not in the mood” dance. I would probably leave the latter part out lest someone think I’m a refrigerator – which I am when I’m exhausted, but I wouldn’t want all of my Facebook friends to know that. Day two: me working in the garden, or doing anything spontaneously instead of prepping, or even thinking about the process of planning breakfast, lunch and dinner (maybe a photo of me eating cheese and crackers for dinner). Day three: Me joining a group of hikers instead of acting like a cheerleader to motivate my significant other to get his ever expanding body off the couch to join me. Day four – me, in the quiet, not listening to belches, or farts, or the story all about the bowel movements – or hearing the actual bowel moments. Why do some people think that this is a form of intimacy?! Gross! You widowers out there – trust me! Find the bathroom the farthest out of earshot and you will probably get laid more often.

    You get the drift. I’m just not the nurturing type.

    I’m pissed every. single. day. that I was robbed of getting old with my soulmate and I could definitely get into the thousands of things I miss about him. I try not to compare, but there are big shoes to fill.

    • Debbie says:

      Ok, we think too much alike. I know, sleep late, don’t nurture, eat what/when we want, do what we want. I recently met a guy who said it was a downside that I don’t cook. Welcome to the ’50’s! Damn I’ll fetch less at auction. I too ain’t the nurturing kind. I don’t know what I was thinking about Carmel…I think I liked the idea of just taking off.

  • Gary L. says:

    I had to reread this a few times to organize my thoughts before I could respond. I know the statue and we said that was going to be us. On several continents, sitting back and enjoying the memories and comfort of a life well lived. That is not happening for us either.

    Mutation is the right word. As a couple we slowly evolved over 32 years. Her death ended the evolution and triggered the mutation. I would like to think I will be one of the good mutants, like Spider Man, but I feel more like Godzilla or the Swamp Thing. Don’t seem to fit in anywhere. It is so soon that I have not done the dating sites, although a seemingly well-intentioned acquaintance told me yesterday that when I am ready she knows the perfect person for me to meet. NO! I wanted to scream. I know the perfect person and she is gone. But I let it slide. Check one more person off the social circle.
    Thank you again for sharing your feelings, thoughts and experiences.
    Gary L.

    • Debbie says:

      Thank you Gary. I too have felt I don’t fit in anywhere and that I didn’t want to try to meet people. But it sounds like your loss was really recent, so it’s too soon to think about dating or whatever. I am so sorry and, of course, only you know what feels right. Take care.

  • Adgirl says:

    Oh, those images of couples growing old together. They get ya every time. First time I’ve been to your blog and boy, do I relate! Anyone on this journey is never the same person again, but just WHO you become I haven’t gotten an answer for yet. Coming up on the first year anniversary, I’m really a newbie yet trying to discover the me the wrecking ball left. I identified totally to the contrast, trying to balance on the looking outward and staying inward, ‘burrowing’. And in my burrowing, I’m also finding things, too, like writing my own widow blog. Days are full of questions and I’m not full of answers, but Debbie, you have an articulate voice and I look forward hearing more of your ‘writing from the road.’

    • Debbie says:

      I’ll read your blog. It’s been over three years and I have no answers. Thank you so much for your kind words. (Still burrowing).💙