Thursday, February 16, 2012
WHAT IS LOVE? WHAT IS INTIMACY?
This week we are honored to have Bouncin' Barb from This & That (As I Bounce Through Life) as our guest postess. This is the third post in a weekly series on love and intimacy. I love it that so many of you are sharing your ideas and feelings, and everyone is different. And now, here's Barb:
Before I begin writing this guest post, I want to thank Janie at Janie Junebug's Journal for inviting me to share my personal story here. It's been a long time since I was a guest at someone else's house so I want to make sure I mind my manners and wipe my shoes when I come in. I'm bringing a bottle of wine for the hostess with the mostest and I certainly hope I don't disappoint her followers. Thank you so much Janie!
Some of you may be familiar with my blog already. For those that aren't I will give you a quick idea about my life. I am a widow. I was married to thee most awesome man on the planet for 23 wonderful years. We were true "soulmates" if ever there were. He passed away 6 years ago from liver cancer derived from Hepatitis C. Rich was 21 years older than me. I was a single mom of a 6 month old baby when we met.
Janie asked me to write about what love and intimacy felt like to me during my marriage. First I want to state that I married Rich just six (6) weeks after our first date. Crazy huh? We were co-workers for 5 months at that point and became really good friends at work. During those 6 weeks, it was a whirlwind. We were together at work, and then couldn't wait to be together on our off time. We couldn't stand to be apart and when we were, we were on the phone. I was a very mature 22 year old and loved Rich's maturity. He was divorced 10 years and had 2 children.
One day Rich mentioned that he thought we should get married. I choked. I called him an asshole and stormed out the door. My view of marriage was only what I was exposed to through my parents' marriage. And that was a disaster! Marriage to me meant screaming, yelling, name calling and unhappiness. Why would I want to do that to myself and Rich by getting married? So after calming down a day or so, we sat down to talk seriously about this. I couldn't envision my life without this man somehow. He was so awesome with my son and loved the thought of having another child to raise. Rich assured me that he would never hurt me intentionally. He would never raise a hand to me. He would always be good to me and he would love me with all he was. I told him I wanted that but I was scared that I would fail at giving him the same thing. I remember he poked a finger in my chest and said "you are so full of love and there's a whole lot more in there that has to be let out". I told him I'd think about it. I never looked back. We were married shortly after that.
Throughout the years, the feeling of always wanting to be together never left. We took time off from each other to rejuvenate once in awhile. And we couldn't wait to get home to each other. We called each other every day at work to check in. We were honest with each other and we did not hide our feelings. If things bothered us, we said something and then worked on it. We compromised in everything we did. We were open and honest in the bedroom as well. We were so proud to say that we never, ever stepped outside of the marriage because we were happy and content. Not many people can say they were faithful for 23 years.
Rich and I respected each other and didn't judge each other. He was far from perfect and so was I. But we just blended so well. He taught me so much about how to love and not be afraid to let those innermost feelings out. I was so guarded because I'd been burned by my son's birth father. I kept thinking the other shoe was going to drop. Finally, I got the message that this was true love and I could let it all hang out. I taught him what it felt like to be loved. He was orphaned at 2 years old. He never had true love. Even in his first marriage. I gave him a confidence that he was worthy to receive love. That he was truly the greatest guy in the world for me. I encouraged him in everything he did. I wanted him to be happy inside. I think I succeeded.
For 15 years, Rich had a barrage of health issues. I stuck by his side each and every emergency room visit, hospital stay, doctors visits, medicines, needles, you name it. He kept telling me that he understood if I wanted out. I would tell him to "shut up" and then laugh. There was no way I could live without him. I loved him with all of my being. It was part of the deal.
When he was given a terminal diagnosis and told he had 2-3 years left, we became even closer than ever before. We talked openly about death and dying. He cried when he got scared and I comforted him. I cried thinking about life without him and he would comfort me and hold me. He assured me that I was a strong woman and that he was so proud of me and that he knew I would be OK. I promised to carry out his last wishes and did just that. He made me promise that I would go on with my life because I was still so young (45 at the time). I didn't want to even think about that but I realized that he needed to hear that from me. It would make it easier for him to deal with his death if he knew he didn't have to worry about me. So I promised and I'm so glad I did. Rich said to me, "Make sure you find a man who treats you well but just remember that no one will ever love you like I do." And I have never doubted that for a second then or now. No one will ever love me that way and I will never love anyone that way again either and it's OK. I feel Rich's love with me every day of my life.
A year and a half after his passing I met Bruce. I actually surprised myself by allowing myself to have feelings for another man. I knew that he wasn't Rich and I didn't try to fill Rich's shoes. Bruce and I got along fabulously. A year later we moved from Connecticut to South Carolina to start a new life. We've been down here for 4 years now. It's been a rocky road and we may not last much longer and that's OK. I feel Rich's love and I know I am capable of surviving on my own. He's with me every single day and he's my strength.
I am so very blessed to have had the love and intimacy of this wonderful human being for 23 years. It is my wish that everyone get to experience this once in their lifetime.
Barb, You are definitely full of love. All your readers know it. Barb said she's going to run this post today at her blog since my blog is private and not everyone can see it. She's telling her readers that if they want an invitation to my blog, to please email me.
Applause, applause, applause, Barb; but, uh, just one thing. Where's that bottle of wine?