I didn’t write a New Years post this year. I just wasn’t up for it. I kept meaning to, but I just put it off, day after day. Now we are into March, and I am just now coming back to write.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to have chronic illness and be single. It was never something that had come up before. Honestly, I didn’t imagine it would come up. When I met Marcy, that was it for me. She was the one.
The reason this comes up tonight is because I was watching a foreign film earlier. I have loved foreign films since I was a kid. I remember being 10 or 11 and home sick from school. Bear in mind that this was back when we had a black & white TV and 4 channels. Laying on the couch feeling miserable, I had a choice of three soap operas or a Marcello Mastroianni film complete with subtitles. Guess which one I chose. Within five minutes, I was hooked, and I have loved foreign films every since.
The thing is, no one else in my life had any interest in foreign films, especially with subtitles. This meant watching for me was always a solitary activity. Fast forward to when I first moved in with Marcy. Around the corner from us was little independent movie theater that played art house and foreign films. One day she asked me if I would mind going to see an Italian film with her there. I believe it was “Bread and Tulips”. I told her I would love to go and I love foreign films. She thought I was joking with her because like me, she had never had anyone who loved them like she did. The movie was wonderful and the bond we had grew that much deeper because we both finally had someone to share this passion with.
When you share something with someone you love, like foreign films, not only do you get the enjoyment of watching it, but you also get the joy of watching the other person enjoy it as well. I believe you could call this a synergistic effect. So I am watching the film tonight, and I am enjoying it, but I am also missing Marcy, because I know how much she would have enjoyed it as well. That whole part of the experience is missing.
That got me thinking again about being single with chronic illness. Being single and dating is never easy. Being single with multiple chronic diseases makes it incredibly complicated. At some point, all this has to be explained. It is also risky. I can fully understand why someone would not want to deal with all the problems involved. Marcy was a nurse, so it was never an issue. She understood from the beginning.
For the first year after losing Marcy, the thought of dating someone else brought me as close to an anxiety attack as I ever want to get. I put it out of my mind because it wasn’t going to happen. Since October though, the thought of dating seems at least possible. But that brings up another problem.
I don’t know how to date. I wasn’t particularly adept at it in my teens and early 20’s. 30 years of being married, didn’t improve my skills. I have read about modern dating with no one wanting to admit to liking the other and a date being “Netflix and chill”. Not interested in that. I still believe in going out to dinner, seeing a movie, going to the theater, things like that. I also believe in saying how I feel. Hopefully if I find someone my age to date, she will appreciate those qualities.
That brings up another issue. I know a lot of single women through the theater groups I am a part of. While I am fond of many of these women, most fall into the category of “too young to date and too old to adopt.” I am not claiming these women are clamoring to date me, I am just saying the dating pool at my age is rather shallow. No, that’s not it. That isn’t what is bothering me. At least that’s not most of it.
I don’t know what dating at my age with my infirmities is going to look like. Marcy and I were like a well choreographed dance between two people who could anticipate every move and every glance. We knew each other strengths and weaknesses and abilities and issues as well as we knew our own. Whatever relationship I am able to find going forward, it is never going to be what I had. It will have to be defined on its own terms, and that is not something I can anticipate.
I know over the years, I have told a lot of single friends that the right person will come along when you least expect it. I certainly wasn’t expecting Marcy when I met her. The thing is, I am not 25 wondering if I will ever find true love. I already found it. My question is, where do I go from here? I guess I’ll wait and see.