The question came out of the blue about halfway through dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen for quite awhile.
It caught me off guard but maybe it wasn’t as much of a non-sequitur as I thought at the time.
We had been talking about how I was getting along now that I was into my third year since the sudden cancer death of my partner Bill. Even though I have a wonderful network of friends, I carry an anxiety that they must be tired of hearing the same kind of response when they ask how I’m doing. It’s not a happy answer and I fear that it would throw a wet blanket over the socializing. So I don’t initiate the topic. They don’t often either, I suspect out of the very honourable intention of not wanting to upset me by leading me into the territory of mourningland.
But this friend was being persistent. So I described how, despite invitations to go elsewhere, I had spent Thanksgiving and Christmas Day at home making a turkey dinner, setting two places, and spending those memory-laden days alone; how I continued to go out to concerts, the opera, and theatre as Bill and I had done for decades but now I was sitting by myself; how I had been doing some socializing with friends but indeed spent the vast majority of my time at home reading, writing, and listening to music.
My mantra had become “solace in solitude”.
The “have you started dating again” question jarred me out of the memory reflection and thrust me around toward the future.
Many people have to confront this question having found themselves no longer in a relationship whether through the death of their partner or through a separation/divorce. I suspect that the prospect of entering the dating world again is intimidating for the vast majority of us.
I struggled to respond to my friend. Three issues raced through my head: a) a wounded, grieving soul like me hardly makes for a very attractive dating prospect; b) I can’t imagine summoning the energy to go through the process; and c) God I miss the affection, intimacy, and companionship of a special relationship.
So my response to his question was succinct: “No.”
“Not yet at least.
* * *
My memoir “August Farewell” tells the story of the two weeks between Bill’s diagnosis with pancreatic cancer and his death. Interspersed among the scenes are vignettes from our thirty-three years together as a gay couple.
Information on “August Farewell” and on my novel “Searching for Gilead” is available on my website at http://DavidGHallman.com
Both the memoir and the novel are available for order from your local bookseller or on-line retailers including http://amazon.com, http://barnesandnoble.com, http://amazon.ca, http://chapters.indigo.ca, http://amazon.co.uk