Ask Goldie - April 2007

By Goldie Carlow

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Dear Goldie:

I am a widower in my 70s. My wife died of cancer 10 years ago. She was an invalid for a year, and I am glad I could care for her. She was a wonderful wife. We never had children.

Since my wife's death, I have only associated with male friends, most of them veterans like me. We usually go to dances at the Legion on Saturday nights, and I always have a good time dancing. I am teased about never having a steady partner, but I enjoy dancing with all the ladies.

A few weeks ago, I met a lady in her 50s and she seems to like me. She's a good dancer and very friendly. My friends think I should ask her to be my girlfriend, but I'm not too sure. I had a good marriage and like to keep my wife as a fond memory. I don't mind being single, and I don't want to mess up my life. What do you think? L.P.

Dear L.P.:

Well, you do seem to be in a dilemma, but I get the feeling it is one sponsored by your friends. It sounds like you really loved your wife and appreciated your marriage. However, that is in the past, and now you are free to choose another partner, if you want.

You give the impression it is your friends who want to do the matchmaking but, as far as you are concerned, you are happy to remain single, have no attachment and enjoy dancing with all the ladies!

You have to decide what is best for you. Your friends may mean well, but they may also unintentionally get you involved in an unhappy situation. Only you can decide on your future.

Good luck with your decision.

Dear Goldie:

My husband passed away a year ago at age 65. It happened suddenly on our 32nd wedding anniversary and, as you can imagine, was a terrible shock.

Our children have successful lives, but live out of the country. We are always in contact, but seldom visit. I feel very alone now without a family here.

My life was always so involved with my home and, until retirement, a teaching career. Suddenly life seems over.

I enjoy reading your column. What do you suggest for my period of life? B.N.

Dear B.N.:

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your husband.

In this era of super communication, you must enjoy the contact with your children who live so far away. Family is so important in our lives.

When you used the words "period of life," I knew you must realize the transitions we experience throughout our lives. In spite of all our knowledge of aging, we seem little prepared for the losses and changes. In my later years, I am convinced this may be the result of not allowing ourselves time for grieving the deaths of loved ones.

As a spouse and parent, we usually have a close, loving connection over decades. We are so busy on a daily basis that we give little thought to death and separation. When death strikes suddenly, we experience a sense of overwhelming loss, grief and even unfairness. At the same time, well-meaning family and friends remind us that "life must go on" and "keep your chin up," as if you were performing and it was time to exit from the stage.

Death is loss and you have a right to express your grief. How you express it may determine the length of the grieving period. Instead of burying your feelings, keep them out in the open - crying when you feel sad and laughing aloud at wonderful memories.

Talk about your husband. Memories act as a tremendous healer and, eventually, become a source of insight and wisdom about the journey of life.

Your life is not over. You are young enough to begin new endeavours. I imagine you have a few grandchildren to interest you, as well. Just remember that grief is not something to "get over," but a time to express love and to remember.

Dear Goldie:

I have just signed on for a subscription to Senior Living. Your column was indeed one of the PLUSES!

In the February issue, you published a short note from L.S. (Victoria?) regarding previous frustrations of P.T. and T.K. I quote: "Hopefully something can be done to get people together in the Parksville-Qualicum area."

I am writing to suggest a couple of contacts could be made in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area, to explore the possibility of a seniors' singles group, for mutual enrichment and social get-togethers - on a small scale, to begin. Larger groups like the PGUSA Singles (100 members) has its disadvantages, especially for shy singles.

Well, I stand ready to help. I host potluck dinners at my home, love to dance, etc. Please contact me at G.C.

Dear G.C.:

Thank you for offering to start a social group in your area. I am sure your e-mail will be overflowing.

Hopefully someone in the Victoria area will follow your example. Character references are necessary for the safety of group members.

Best of luck.

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