(For part 1 read: https://sreexpressions.wordpress.com/2019/01/19/finding-love-again-1/)
If they can, so can you: Since his death I have been told many stories of bravado where women have battled different hurdles and brought up their children on their own strength. The message was clear: If they can, So can you.
Women could, women can and women would gallantly carry any cross that they are given to bear. That is a part of their default setting. I mean you don’t really need the death of your husband to do that. Pushed to the wall, women push open their self-empowerment button to set sail. She really doesn’t need a man to do that. But it is her emotional need that is so often overlooked. It isn’t that they willingly chose to be alone, bearing all the turmoil and emotional ups and downs themselves. They were conditioned to believe that they could make it all alone. No one dared to say that a man in her life is not a necessity but could be an offered choice too. That is how the widowed women in olden days clung on to the idols and Gods for the sustenance of the soul. For them, those idols became an alternative to their living Gods. Times have changed and so have women. It is important to make take away the tag of glory from the decision to be alone forever. Let the women make an informed choice themselves. If they choose to walk the rest of the path alone, let them. If they decide to find a new path, let them. If they decide to walk the new path with a new man, let them. The more we glorify the concept of sanctity of widowhood, the more scared she would be to take decisions that is suited to her own needs.
Guilt and Fear: Having decided to dare take the plunge to find love and life again, the two primary emotions that run through their minds are guilt and fear. Guilt of perhaps having betrayed their husbands or their memories, guilt of perhaps not giving enough time for their kids in case they go on a date or try to settle down with someone….
“By inviting someone else in my life, would I be curtailing my child’s time, now that he is so used to being with me?”, this is the most common question the young mothers keep asking themselves.
The second emotion that runs high is a tremendous sense of fear. Having already lost someone and gone through a sudden break in a relationship, every woman is keen to make the new relationship work. So, naturally she is very apprehensive about choosing the right person. By daring to agree to a new relationship she is already taking the risk of her life-time and she really does not want to end up being broken, bruised and hurt internally. So, there is a tremendous sense of fear.
All I can say personally is that ‘guilt’ will always be there in some nook of our hearts and it cannot be overlooked. But the trick is in not letting it overpower our efforts in having a good time. Everyone deserves happiness. So does a mother. A happy mother would always result in the happiness of her children. So, keeping the guilt as low as possible is desired.
As to fear, well, all I can think of is the age old saying that it will happen if it has to happen. Our fear will only take away our confidence to make a new relationship work. If a relationship has to work, it would and the effort from both ends is very crucial. Fear will only breed uncertainty and will take away the joy of exploring a new relationship. Fear is natural but let it not overpower our sense of judgement.
Love or Marriage: It is important to understand what we are looking forward to in a relationship. If it is marriage, there are a lot of logistical questions involved too. Because either as a woman you are going to move from one set up to another or may be asking someone to move in. And yes, it is not easy. Because you are used to a certain life-style, a certain mom-child equation and the new person may have his own system. The key is to talk it out and plan it very well before marriage.If the other person has a child or children too, it is very important to let the children develop camaraderie between themselves. It is also important to ensure that the child develops a bond with the partner. It won’t be easy ofcourse, especially if the children are grown up, but in the long run , it would work gradually. Remember, human race was born of this concept called ‘adapatibility’. Another BIG factor to ensure a successful marriage or a relationship work is to NEVER use your former husband or partner as the yardstick. Each person and each relationship has it’s own beauty and we must learn to cherish that. If my husband used to massage my legs if I were tired, it would be foolish to expect the new partner to do the same. And worse, to even mention what your former husband used to do. Look for those little brownies…each relationship has it’s own share of brownies. The trick is to find those.
If your children are in non-mouldable age, it is somehow wiser to avoid marriage because it then becomes a tiring tussle to please the different sides. In that case it is perfectly okay to opt for a good, healthy, friendly camaraderie with a person you are comfortable with. I know, by now many eye-brows would have been raised as it really does not conform to the ideologies and sanctity of relationships that we have been fed with since childhood. But trust me, for ages and centuries – subtly or openly, closed doors or publicly, such relationships have existed, sustained and survived. It needs oodles of courage but when it is a choice between a lifetime of loneliness and social snub, it is worth taking a risk. Having faced the death of a loved one, you have anyway seen and faced risk of the highest order. So, if courage is your second name, do embrace love with open arms.
The Right Choice: Now, this is the trickiest part. Last six months and I have witnessed a huge amount of emotional upheaval among the girls. Being prepared to embrace love is fine but how do you know if the person is right for you or not? For one, cut off that sympathy factor. If a man comes to you because he falls sorry for you then you will end up being sorry for the relationship. A relationship born out of sympathy does not sustain in the long run. Like one of the girls say, “Don’t choose a person whom you would love to love, choose a person who loves you more than you”. Bang on! Look for a person who is ready to embrace an emotionally vulnerable, volatile, over-sensitive you. A person who accepts a widowed woman, accepts a heart willing to love and yet a heart filled with good memories of another man.
Honestly, there is no equation , no clue that can tell you if your choice is right or not. All you can do is trust your instincts or do what I do always – ask your husband. For any decision, any dilemma I stand in front of his photo and ask him to guide me. I even make paper chit, write the possible solutions and draw lots in front of his picture. Yeah, I am strange and the method is craziest but for me it has worked at the rate of hundred percent accuracy. I always tell the girls that trust your husbands to give you clues as to whether the new relationship would work or not. Sounds unrealistic, funny but it somehow works…..
And me……..: The girls keep telling me, “Sri, you ask us and encourage us to resettle again. What about you? Why don’t you too think of settling again someday?” For them I have just one answer, “ I am done with packing tiffins and finding handkerchiefs for this life-time. Not again!” Jokes apart, the life that I lead now is the sort of independence which I perhaps always longed for…. I was of my son’s age when I had met my husband. I was a student then. So, from someone’s daughter I became someone’s fiancé and then someone’s wife…I never had the opportunity to be myself. This new me comes with a tremendous cost but I wouldn’t actually be ready to welcome a 24 x 7 tie-up with someone.
Having said this I also have no qualms in admitting that I am a romantic person and cherish the idea of love. But as I firmly believe, “ Mere dil mein jagah khuda ki khali thi, dekha wahan pe aaj tera chehra hai.” My khuda now is my husband. From the position of being my companion, to me, he has long attained that status of divinity where I can trust him. So, if he feels and thinks I need a companion, he himself will arrange for it. I don’t have to take the trouble. If he thinks I would need to be loved, love will come to me.
But one thing that I know with conviction is that I was SMV, I am SMV and my epitaph would read SMV….
And all said and done, there is one thing I am so sure of , that search I may all across the world, I would hardly be able to find another Venkat to love his Chandra so much as to give up his life just to make her a strong woman.
“ Badal, Bijli, Chandan, Paani jaisa apna pyar…lena hoga janam humein kai kai baar. “