Writing what you know

Article with my colleague Scott finally came out in the journal "Death Studies." It examines how widows/widowers and divorced people exhibit themes of meaning-finding and loss in their online dating profiles. The findings are actually quite inspiring, as they indicate that widows and widowers use this platform as a place to articulate who they *want* to be post-loss. Obviously this is a self-selected group of people who already feel "healed" enough to be looking for love in the first place, but the kinds of reflections people make and the clarity of the trends in the data are uplifting.


The difficulty reconciling old and new

This... is Edie. PJ and my baby girl, born May 20, 2010. She's two months old and doing great.

Baxter is still trying to figure her out. He pretty much ignores her - sometimes complains of her crying, sticks her binky back in... and occasionally says, "She's so cute! She smiled at me!"

I'm hoping that as she laughs at his antics his love for her will grow stronger.

I'm writing because I don't really know what else to do when I'm feeling low. When Mike died, I wasn't sure how I was going to function. I knew I wanted to repartner and move forward, but it took a lot of writing, crying, and talking to get to the point that that even made sense. And now, here I am, wife to PJ, Mom to Bax and Edie. A very calm and content homelife has emerged. Lots of love, lots of laughs and a normal family dynamic.

Yet, reconciling the old life and the new life has proved difficult. There is the question of how to move forward while honoring and respecting Mike's memory. Baxter's adoption was finalized on June 10. He's now Baxter Newland Young Gallagher. Was adding Gallagher to his name the right thing to do? Is it ok that his last name is now Gallagher? Edie's full name is Edith Eileen Young Gallagher. Is that weird? My late husband's last name is now a part of my new baby's name. What does that mean? Who the Eff knows?

Then there are the relationships that I still haven't figured out how to transition from Danna and Mike life to Danna and PJ life.

This one is a real bugger. In my life with PJ, Mike is part of the fabric. We talk about him. Baxter knows that Mike was a ComedySportz guru. Baxter knows that Mike played with him as a baby and loved feeding him baby food. PJ and I just gave Baxter several of Mike's amazing comics from his (perfectly organized) comic book collection. And - for me, there is my participation with ComedySportz - a place where Mike's energy is so present, it's unmistakable. So, overall we have found a new place here where Mike coexists with us in a healthy and positive way.

What I have yet to figure out is how to reconnect with the dear friends who were a part of my like with Mike. I think there is hesitation on my part and their part.... The whole thing is very messy. I'm hoping we can find our way.