Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thanks for Being Real

Dear Carol,

    I'm "Human Bob" - you posted my e-mail yesterday.  I was thrilled to see it in print, but more importantly, I was sneaky and had my friend cut and paste 
your blog site to send to my boss and various others in my office. 

    I didn't know that she also sent it to my parents. I was a little
suspicious when my father called last night to ask how I was doing!  This is a first - in four months --and maybe my entire lifetime.

    At lunch today I was surrounded by three of my co-workers offering to get me tea and just somehow the atmosphere was gentler.

   Thank you for telling the world that gay men and women are
in the same adrift boat as straight people when they lose their beloved spouse.

   I know you are prone to humor and that is why I love you too,
but this was one time that I was relieved you stayed real and weren't funny even though I'll bet you were holding it in.

   Thank you.  Thank you. Thank you.

Your New Friend,
Human Bob

Dear Human Bob, (as opposed to the Robot Bob?)

   Wow...that was such an immediate turn around.  I get lots
more e-mails asking for H E L P than I do people writing back
 to tell me if myadvice was H E L F U L.

   Is it a rule that gay men must write thank you notes? Is it in your DNA?  There it is - the humor you missed.  I also bit my tongue (not literally) to not dwell on the fact that your partner's name was Dick.  At first, I thought it was a joke. 

   Just a reminder - be careful what you wish for, Human that you've been elevated from "best friend" to widower. 

 If your world is anything like the over 55 communities in Floriduh all the boys in your neighborhood will be banging (on your door) with homemade casseroles hoping to snag you on the rebound.  

  Great of you to write back...

Carol - PWM



Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gay Loss

Dear Carol,

    I am a gay man (28) who was in a committed relationship with Dick (really) (40) for three years.  Four months ago he was in a fatal car crash.  Thankfully (for him) he died on impact. 

   For me, I am adrift because we had just had a huge fight and now I am left with feelings of not only loss, but guilt that my last words to him were "%$#^*". 

  On top of that - other than our circle of friends, my family (his father and my parents) and my co-workers just don't seem to acknowlege how I am hurting.  They don't see me as the "widower" and I do.  

  I know from reading your blog ( have a following in my community) that you had a traditional marriage, but at least you got the compassion that
seems to have sustained you. 

   I am not looking for pity yet I do expect that our relationship is respected and my feelings understood.  I set up a household with this man and my life is now turned upside down. 

Why can't straight people get this?

Human Bob

Dear Human Bob,

   You seem to be suffering with two very separate issues here.  First you feel guilty that you sent your partner off with less than loving words.  Now you are
left without "closure".  I hate that word.  Why did I use it? (not an actual question)

   Anyway - Most people would be tormented by this, as you are, however, let me tell you a true story that I hope will help you to put this in perspective. 

   My friend, Stephanie, who is now in her forties, told me that when she was about 19 years old she had a fight with her 21 year old brother, and she told him to "Go to hell".  Several hours later he had a terrible car crash and was in a coma for 3 months.  They didn't know if he was going to live or die.  Her brother did recover and is perfectly fine now.  But, obviously the point is:

   My response was, "Oh, my must have felt so awful that those were your last words to him."

   She said, "No.  He knew I loved him, and he knew what I said was in anger."

  I was stunned that she was so emotionally healthy.  Bob, try not to get caught up in the drama of, "He died without hearing "I love you".  You know that Dick knew you loved him.  Just as Stephanie said...Human beings get angry and lash out.  Doesn't it make the "I love you" sweeter to hear when we are feeling it rather than just saying it in case we never see them again?

   Your second issue is more troublesome for me as an advice giver because it is about OTHER people's attitude.  You can't force ignorant, insensitive people to respond as you would hope they would.  You can try to express how broken hearted you are - but you would expect that they would know this.  I understand. 

  That said, all the sympathy and "help" that goes with entering widow territory can be sufficating and embarrassing.  Ask any new widow or widower
how petrified we are about running into someone in the supermarket or having to watch others fall apart with us and for us.  Kindness can be a bitch. 

  Another look at this is you were only living together for three years.  Many straight widows who have short marriages with no children are often assumed by others to be less fragile...After all, they are young and will bounce back and have a whole new lifetime with someone else. Others consider it a blip on the screen - love will find them again. 

  "Outsiders" either don't understand or they need to minimize the pain that the young widow is is experiencing - it's tough to watch someone going through it. They are, as you are, mourning a future that will never happen. 

   I'm sure your co-workers and parents would be more sensitive to you
if you were a straight man who lost his wife, however, you called yourself
"Human Bob" - console yourself with understanding that they are human, too.

   Thanks for seeking me out.



Saturday, March 06, 2010

Lunch with Another Widow

Dear Carol,

   Can we have lunch?  I am loath to put in an email what is going on in my mind and heart right now.  Yes, even under a pseudonym, it is still too embarrassing. 

    I respect your opinion very much.  So far on your Blog site you have pretty much nailed it for all the comers as far as I am concerned.

   I see you mention Long Island...I am in Rockland County.  I would gladly make the trip.  Lunch is on me. Please!

   Embarrassed Barbara

Dear Embarrassed Barbara,

    I saw a cartoon in The New Yorker magazine that showed a guy on the phone looking at his calendar and it read: How does NEVER work for you?

   If you have something so weird going on that you can't write it to me in
an anonymous e-mail I'm not sure I want to be in the same restaurant with you and certainly not sitting across a table from you.

  Shoot me an e-mail. Don't want you to shoot me. 


Monday, March 01, 2010

Cosmetic Surgery?

Dear PWM,

My Tom is gone 7 years now.  I am 54 and not in bad shape.  My question is: Cosmetic surgery? What? When? How? Is this a post menoposal obsession?

 I love your blog and your answers make me nod my head in agreement.  So- what are your thoughts?

I am talking everything from ass to head.  If I am going, I am coming out a new woman.

   Thanks for helping me and all widows.

Miranda Who Wants to be Young Again

Dear Miranda Who Wants to be Young Again,

Well, Miranda, you know you're looking worn out when your bags are packed and we're not talking about your suitcase.  

Your letter reminds me of a true (HA) story.  God tells Harriet, a 70 year old woman, that she is going to live to be 100.  She says to herself, "Self, if I have 30 more years I'm going to get me an overhaul".  

She checks herself into a plastic surgery unit and has everything 'done'.  In three months she's healed and looking fabulous.  She strolls out of the building and with her chin held high (now she only has one) she steps into the
street and is creamed by a bus. Dead.

In Heaven she complains, "God, you promised I'd live to be 100!"
God responds, "Ooops, sorry...Harriet, I didn't recognize you".

Now Miranda - don't take this to mean I don't believe in cosmetic surgery or that I don't think you should do it.  Where there is an entry for a joke I must take it.  So I did.

Now it's surprising to me that you ask me what you should have done.  I can't see you. You see you.  If you are a relatively normal (whatever that is) over 45 yr. old woman you examine your face daily with a 7 times mirror and are horrified when even the suggestion of a new crease creeps on to the side of your mouth, or eyes, or neck.

Perhaps, it's just me - but I have to calm myself each day by reminding myself that no one actually sees me 7 times large.  Recently I made the huge mistake of looking into a magnifying mirror with my six year old granddaughter.  Skylar's complexion truly is peaches and cream and I was like 
from the Whoopie Goldberg character who called old people - Raisins.  

"Grandma, look at all your lines!" I swear Sky was smirking.  

Here's the thing: Even ugly young people are more appealing than good looking old people.  As my 92 yr. old mother-in-law states:

                  On Aging, by Fanny Scibelli
               "It's no good when you get old."

I say go for it.  Do whatever you think you need to feel better about yourself.  Your face and body. Go for it.  I'm not going to list all the available procedures.  That's what Google is for.  Use it. You lost your husband - not your mind.  Check out and get references from reputable plastic surgeons. 

Just be realistic about your results. You are 54 now and most procedures will make you look well rested, smoother but not actually much younger. 

People will tell you you look great - but the add on "For your age" should be punishable by death.