Crumb of Cake

Call me crazy, but I’m starting to feel like maybe I’m a little bit crazy.
Is that crazy?

Is it Nuts-ville Crazytown that I feel like I am more in love with my husband now, than ever before? That I would rather have one-way conversations with his spirit or soul, than put any real efforts into possibly finding a new partner who I could actually speak to, human to human? Is it insane that looking at his picture on my nightstand before going to sleep, and saying out loud, in a faint whisper: “Goodnight BooBear – I love you” seems to make more sense to me than saying nothing at all? Seriously – level with me, people – is it time for me to just go and get the straightjacket and try it on for size? Or is there a place that I can go to exist, where there isn’t all this pressure to “move on” or “get myself out there again”, and where having a continued relationship with my dead husband isn’t universally frowned upon?

I know, I know. It sounds crazy. But is it? Is it?

This is the man I chose to spend the rest of my life with. This one. Not another one that I have to go find all over again at age 42. Not someone new that I would have to date, get to know, figure out, play the stupid games, live the “single” life, read their mind, know their heart, and trust with everything. If I already trust everything with the person that I already chose, why should that have to change? How can it? How can I just not be deeply and powerfully in love with my person anymore? How do I train myself to fall out of love with him? How? And if the answer is that I don’t have to, and that I can still love him forever – then how do I go forward in my life having this all-encompassing love for a person who no longer walks the earth? My heart hurts with how much I love him, and with the reality that our time together here is gone. Four and a half years of marriage will just never be enough for me. Not ever.

Imagine being a baker, and spending 7 years of life creating the most delicious, incredible, perfect chocolate cake – that took you until you were 35 years old to get the recipe just right, and you were so proud of your cake and you just wanted to savor in it and taste it over and over and over until time ended – and one quarter of the way through your first, tiny bite of enjoying all your hard work and your creation, before your taste-buds could even react – a large and menacing hand snatches the cake away abruptly, and proceeds to smash it into tiny crumb bits, all over the floor. “But I only got one quarter of a bite!”, you scream in protest. It’s too late. Nobody cares. You only got a crumb of cake, and the rest was taken away for no reason at all. Time’s up. (Leave it to the fat widow to come up with a cake analogy.)


I don’t know how to do this. My heart is with my husband, and my husband is not here. And even though it is never fair or never enough, to have this new, other-wordly relationship with him – and it’s not even close to the same thing as actually having him here with me – this is what we have now. We have this. And there is a very large part of me, that would rather have this with my husband, than have something unknown with anybody else.

My whole life, nobody was ever in love with me. Nobody ever returned my feelings back. Nobody ever protected me or made me feel safe or truly, deeply loved. Nobody. Not until I met Don. Not in high school, not in college, not after college – nowhere. Nobody. I dated a lot of idiots over those young years. I had boyfriends. Some were nice, some were not. But none of them were deeply, madly in love with me. When I finally, FINALLY met my person – I was almost 29 years old. He was in Florida, I was in New Jersey. We bonded in a music chat room online, and became instant friends. And then more. He flew out to meet me, and then we were in love. I told him things about me that nobody else knew, or knows. I shared with him my soul and my fears and my heart. For 7 years, we dated long-distance, until he packed up his life and moved to New Jersey for me. Because he loved me deeply and madly. He supported me and cheered me on in my dreams. We were a team. Always a team.

Now he is gone. I know how to live without him. I’m learning, and it isn’t easy, but I know I can do it, and I know I will be okay. I know how to live without him. But how do I love without him?

If I’m being totally honest, and I always am in my writing, I will say that I am terrified. I am scared to death of growing old all alone, and dying all alone. Even more, I am frightened beyond words that he was my only person. That for the rest of my years, nobody will ever love me in that beautiful, amazing, trust-you-with-my-life sort of way, ever again. I live in terror that I will be granted a long, healthy life – never being allowed another bite of that cake.

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16 thoughts on “Crumb of Cake

  1. I do believe one day when u are you will find love again if u desire it. It will never be what you and Don had. Each love story is unique and one of a kind… But because u have such a big and caring heart I feel will have room… Room to carry your love with Don always and room to love again. You take as long as u need too and know no matter what happens u never end up alone because there are so many people who love and care about u…

  2. 5 months into my own widow journey and I can’t even imagine being with someone else. The potential that is might happen terrifies me. How on earth do I open myself up like again.. EVER?? And will anyone ever love me like he did? So, I try not to think about it and miss him, talk to him and long for him. Thank you for putting it into words.

  3. My love story is at the opposite end of the spectrum from yours. I met Greg when I was only 19 (and a virgin). I had gone out with just a few guys, no one I would call my “boyfriend” and it was very hard even calling Greg a boyfriend at first. I would say it took some time to be deeply in love with him. Maybe a year or more. I never loved anyone else, never even dated anyone else. My whole life was only him. Just one year out of high school. My entire adult life. I also don’t know how to love anyone else, but our relationship was very, how should I put this, mature, ripe. We loved each other deeply and passionately and there was so much fun in our lives. But I don’t talk to Greg much,now that he’s gone. And I made a decision early on in my grief that the love I had for him had to go someplace else. That it wouldn’t, couldn’t go to him anymore. It’s very selfish, but I decided to let all that love go to me. It was very liberating, this decision. Sometimes I have to remind myself of it. But right now taking care of me and loving myself is all I really have. That and my dog and 2 cats.

  4. I’m not even sure where to begin…4+ years in and similar thoughts feelings, however, I think I’m more comfortable with knowing or believing for now that he is forever. I know that I will never not love him with all my heart because that is how I am. I love completely forever. Kevin was just the first one that made it in the dark recesses and into my soul. He changed me. Even if by happenstance I meet another companion, they would need to understand that my love for Kevin will always always be there. But the heart does have the capacity to love many. So who knows??

  5. I think if it’s what you want, and you’re not hurting anyone, then who is anyone else to say you shouldn’t stay in love? This is what works for you RIGHT NOW. Go with it. Accept it.

  6. Another beautiful masterpiece, Kelley! As always, you speak the minds of us fellow widows so perfectly! With Many Thanks and Much Appreciation for sharing. I absolutely LOVE following your posts!

  7. I certainly don’t see anything strange or unusual about this. We were married 38 years and Jim has been gone for 4 years and I still love him as much, if not more, than when he was alive. I keep telling my self it is easy to canonize those who are gone but he was truly a wonderful person and I don’t think anyone else could love me as much as he did. I would love a companion once in a while but when I look around me, I just can’t imagine ever having that kind of relationship with another man. I don’t feel that it would be a betrayal but I just don’t think there is anyone out there that could measure up! So keep on loving your Don as much as your heart can handle knowing that quarter of a bite was well worth the effort.

  8. Thank you for being brave and honest with your words. I too feel some of these feelings after nine years. However, I have tried to find love again and thought I did. Turned out he was a classic narcissist and I was blind sided. I am older than you and all of these getting to know someone things are daunting. I have left it at if it happens, great, than it is the universe putting a relationship there for me, and if it doesn’t I am lucky for what I had with my husband. Either way, I stand blessed for knowing romantic love. When we loose someone we love, I don’t think we ever stop loving them, nor does their soul stop loving us. I know my husband looks after our son every day.

  9. I think this is fabulous, perfect and true of all of us if we admit it. The MORE I embrace grief and healing the more I talk to my husband’s spirit, not less. Thank you for sharing our universal widow truth. This also makes my want to share a quote with you that I carry around for when I’m sure I will die alone and be eaten by cats.
    “Believe in a love being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it. ”
    – Rainer Maria Rilke

  10. Thank you for your openness, as usual! I love the cake analogy.
    Some time back, I read a blog post about the loss of a baby. At the beginning of the blog was an example (though not of the loss of a child) of an elderly lady who had just lost her husband. The stupid comments she got were “At least he had a long, full life” and “At least you had a lot of years together.” The blog pointed out that it didn’t matter whether they’d had a lot of years together or that he’d lived a long life – she still wanted her husband back, no matter how long they had gotten to be together. No matter how much of the cake people would say she’d gotten to have. She still hadn’t had enough of that cake. No one should tell you, that lady, or anyone else who is grieving that they should be over it or move on or that they shouldn’t be in love with their husband. I don’t care if someone hasn’t been through it – how awful to tell someone to no longer love their spouse!
    (I hope all that made sense.)

  11. I go to my room at night at the end of a long day and I feel like my husband is there. Whether he is or not, I feel better to think we somehow touch base there. I don’t know how I will ever end my day in my room with anyone else. I sound old and dated here, but there was an old TV show called “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”. My friend said I can’t live like that, but when I go to my room at night, I talk to him and am at the most peace I can be at without him here, and at this point it is good enough. We do what we have to do to live through this hell. Thank you for sharing your story. You help me so much. My husband was killed August of 2011, so we are at similar time in this horrible journey and I appreciate your perspective so much.

    • Thank you for sharing that JSP! I do the same thing at the end of the day. As nutty as it sounds, I feel like that time in my room at the end of the day before I sleep, is my time with him. I think that friends , although they mean well saying we “cant live that way”, have no idea at all what its actually like, and dont know that – yes – we often HAVE to live this way, in order to survive.

  12. No, your not nuts and if you are you have plenty of company. I talk to Mike all the time. Kiss his picture goodnight and ask God to keep him safe until we are together again. I love him as much now as I ever did after 27 months alone. He is as much a part of my life now as he was when he was here. Sounds stupid, delusional, whatever they want to call it, I really dont care.He was and is the love of my life.

  13. I have this conversation with myself (and Aric) all the time. I am still madly in love and always will be. And I don’t have the energy to try to start all over again, and I don’t see how I can possibly love again, when I am too in love with Aric to even want to think about dating. I’ve already experienced the most profound love I could ask for, and am still experiencing it but in a different way now. But I am scared too. The only answer that makes sense is moving forward alone and continuing to say good night and good morning to my dead partner every day … because I cannot imagine another way, and I’m not done living with him by my side, even if our conversations are one-way.

  14. Hallo Kelley – so nice to be reading something that make me feel a that i am not insane
    My husband died 18 months ago and all the word you write apply to me. I am having a relationship with my dead husband; but really to let go of it hurts even more. How can you just turn all the feelings off?
    thanks for your works

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