In the long months after my husband died, what I missed most was HIM -- his person, his presence, the joy of feeling completed by another human being. Over the long term (5 years), with the rawest of grief abated, what I miss most is our shared history.

After more than 30 years of living and loving together, a couple can speak volumes with a single glance, feel contentedly linked during periods of silence, understand thoughts expressed in incomplete sentences, or not expressed not at all. The face of the departed can fade, as can the memory of his touch, but this awful sense that you’ve lost your history remains.

Being ready to look for and bond with someone new is being ready to re-invent yourself, to go back into the explicit, the detailed. This is why when we say, “he isn’t my type,” or “we have nothing in common,” we may really be saying, “there’s no history there.”

I can gratefully say that I have begun a relationship with a man with whom I think building a new history might be possible. We’ve fallen into the same life rhythms with alacrity. We began at once to discover things we both enjoy -- movies, theater, art, hiking, traveling, cooking, and entertaining friends. We’re both physically expressive. We like the same music. We have a secret capacity for silliness others would find intolerable.

He also lost a beloved spouse and a history. This mutuality of loss is for us a shared history of its own.    


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