That Was Fast.

That Was Fast.

I have a boyfriend.

Weird right? That wasn’t in my game plan, but neither was Jesse getting internally decapitated.

Apparently, I don’t have as much control over my life as I used to think.

I didn’t intend on seeing anyone, but here I am. Especially after half a year.

Widows are given major shit, for two main reasons:

  1. That we somehow caused or contributed to our spouses death. I’m not making this up. It’s pretty common. (See “that bitch Carole Baskins”) and;
  2. That every one who isn’t a widow knows the appropriate date for us to begin dating again. Everyone is an expert except us, the ones actually dealing with it.

I believe that when someone dies those who don’t logically think out their emotions need to place their anger somewhere, so usually the wife is targeted. “She could have kept him home that day.” “She caused his stress.” “She could have… blah blah blah.” This is a common theme.

I have been accused of contributing to Jesse’s death, because that’s what predictable irrational people do.

But I’m not going to discuss prong 1 besides the small portion I just spoke about because anyone who thinks that is insane.

I didn’t think I’d ever be with anyone ever again. Not because I wanted to be a nun or a monk but because now I am this complex grief person and I felt like many people wouldn’t understand that. Also throw in a newborn and 3 more grieving kids. Also I never told Jesse bye. Yikes.

I started thinking of everything I would need from this next relationship. There were so many boxes to check that I literally laughed at myself and thought “yep this person isn’t out there,” but oh well. While I didn’t want to be alone forever, it’s not the worst thing thats ever happened to me so I shrugged my shoulders at it.

I’d have to find someone that was okay with a lot of things and this is kind of where my mind went:

  1. Letting me speak about Jesse as often or as little as I wanted.
  2. Wasn’t threatened by his photos in our house.
  3. Could understand the differences in my children’s grieving styles.
  4. Could handle 4 children.
  5. Understood I may want to publicly display my thoughts.
  6. Be stable.
  7. Not have any addiction issues.
  8. Not demean or belittle my feelings (i.e. likely someone that had lost someone too so they would “get it.”)
  9. Bonus points awarded if they knew Jesse.
  10. More points if they know the kids already.
  11. I am not a sports person. So i’d rather not date someone who wants to drag me to a basketball game every weekend.
  12. I am extremely blunt and don’t like passiveness.
  13. I need honesty. This one is one of my most important things.
  14. Was a clean person. I can’t be with someone who is messy.
  15. Treated me well.

Okay so maybe I needed a lot of things. I took all of Jesse’s positive qualities and then just added a ton more.

Those along with so many other things that I didn’t even mention here, you can see why the possibilities were so little. My most important boxes I wouldn’t negotiate. If the person didn’t have them I wasn’t going to deal with them. My minor boxes that I wanted checked, like: hey it would be cool if this person liked to dress up for Halloween with me, weren’t going to make it or break it, they were just extra. I was very amused with myself because the list was just so specific.

Widows do not want to “move on,” they want to “move forward,” as Nora McInery so famously put it. We want to take our person with us mentally. Not be forced to forget everything.

In the widow community, there are a decent amount of men that are jealous of the widow’s late husband. I did not want to deal with this but knew that there was a good chance I would. I didn’t see myself getting very lucky.

But I suppose I did.

Most of Jesse’s friends are married, but his one friend Scott isn’t. I’ve known Scott just as long as I’ve known Jesse. We all met at the same place 13 years ago. Jesse and Scott got along extremely well.

So well that we ended up knowing many people in his family. For Oraia’s first birthday Scott’s mom made her this amazing pumpkin cake that lit up and everything.

Oraia’s first birthday cake in 2013.

Jesse and one of Scott’s brothers ended up being friends too. From there I ended up being friends with his brother’s then girlfriend and am still close to her.

He is in the background of my children’s birthday party photos and I am in the background of his daughter Marina’s birthday party photos. The kids used to hunt for eggs together on Easter and swim at his house.

My family already knows him. His family already knows me. Just not in this capacity.

To me, this is really strange. My therapist says the reason its messing with me so badly is because I am a very well planned and organized person. I say something, I do it. I plan something, it goes through. I have an idea of what my life will be like.

Younger me said “find a husband, have as many kids as you can, own your house, be a lawyer, travel.”

That’s pretty much what I have done. So I have this false notion that I control things.

I don’t. Lol.

Jesse dying wasn’t in that 10 year plan. That really shocked me. Scott being my boyfriend wasn’t even…God that never crossed my mind. Ever. Nor did it cross his.

This video used to just be cute and now it means so much to me. It kind of symbolizes how things used to be for us. It’s a video that Scott took of Jesse using our front door to pull out Chloe’s tooth. Chloe thought it was so fun. Scott is asking his daughter if she wants to do it too and she’s telling him no way. Scott, like Jesse, is a wonderful father. They shared that in common.

But so much has changed and we are also different now than 13 years ago.

Scott understands and supports everything I do or don’t do. Jesse’s things are Jesses. They are left alone. He doesn’t want to alter them. He doesn’t care if his photos are up. He talks to the kids about Jesse. He talks to me about Jesse. He talks to me if I’m sad. He’s not threatened, he’s supportive. That makes me like him more and helps me “heal.” He is not a stranger to us.

Scott unfortunately is well-versed in trauma too.

Scott’s nephew, Alex, drowned in a pool a few years ago. He was 2 and about the same age as Scott’s daughter at the time. Scott had to pull him out of the pool and give him CPR, but it was too late. It made me sick to my stomach when I heard what happened and it still does. No one should ever have to bury their baby. Scott says that it was the worst funeral he had ever been to.

Just a few years later his mother died of cancer when she was 52. She was an artist and a really strong woman. She raised 5 boys and I can barely handle my 1.

Then in 2019, his younger brother Caleb died in a motorcycle accident. He was 27 and his beautiful girlfriend was pregnant with his child he would never know. Although I feel like an anomaly, there are people out there like me and one of them is Scott’s sister-in-law.

Also throw into this a mentally unstable woman he used to have to deal with. She is still unwell unfortunately.

Needless to say, Scott gets me. I knew all of these things about him yet I never put the pieces together, that maybe we would work out? It never crossed my mind like that, but Scott checks every single box.

Jesse has only been gone for half a year so while it was a thought on my mind I was not actively looking for someone to be with. Half a year doesn’t sound like a long time.

But it is. I’ve had to process my sad emotions much quicker than any other family member because I lived with him.

While other family members love him, it’s possible they only would have seen him 10 times in the last 6 months. While as the children and I are on our 183 day where he doesn’t come home. Other family members maybe sent him a text message once a month, Jesse and I spoke all day for years.

It is only slammed in our faces. Everyone else gets to “ease into it.” I’ve had to tear off many band-aids since he was gone. And sending my first text to Scott was definitely a band-aid to rip. I literally closed my eyes and hit send.

Not to mention I fully immerse myself in my grief. I challenge myself with something every day. I talk about it all the time. Many people suppress these feelings but it delays any possible recovery. I don’t want to rot, so I do every textbook thing I am told to do, as good as I can.

By acknowledging Scott as my “Chapter 2” (cannot fucking stand this word its so cringe but the widow community loves it- its the person you are with after your husband dies and generally its more on the serious side), I am showing the world that:


I do not get to hide. The kids do not get to hide. We don’t have a safe space. We have a fucked up space.

Rochelle being Scott’s girlfriend and no longer Jesse’s wife is hard to fucking write or see. It was a challenge for me to even change my relationship status. I literally went back and forth with it because Facebook doesn’t have a poly option. But Scott didn’t care and that’s what makes him so great. I can be myself.

I ultimately did it because Jesse is not coming back. Ever. There is no point in telling Scott “Hey society says I should wait 6 years to see you so just go do something while I appease these clueless people.” No.

It makes me sad in a way because in the widow community many widows DO date and they always talk about having to hide their person from the world. It is extremely upsetting that these people feel as though they cannot be themselves. I will not hide anything and I strongly encourage other widows to do the same.

Scott makes me as happy as I could be in my shitty situation, to try and take that from me because YOU are uncomfortable is wrong.

I know many of my friends will be supportive but I am kinda speaking on behalf of all widows when I say:

Fuck you to those who aren’t.

Simply put, it is so selfish to assume you are somehow the master of time of when a widow may appropriately date again. If a widow finds someone that gives her even a smidge of happiness, YOU NEED TO BE HAPPY FOR HER BECAUSE WE ALREADY DEALT WITH SO MUCH SHIT AND WE CANNOT CHANGE ANYTHING.

Widows are highly criticized when they do try to date and it’s kind of ridiculous. Do I think a widow should remarry the day after her husband dies? Well no, that screams co-dependency to me. But after a few months or whatever it may be.. we should be able to date if we can muster the courage to do so. I was so terrified and I am glad I just forced myself to do it, like I do all things.

Another aspect to this is how our relationship is unique. I already trust Scott. He already knows my “secrets” (again lose usage of that word because I pretty much tell everyone everything), he has seen me in an argument, he has heard Jesse complain about me. We get to skip all of that. It kind of makes me feel like we have been together longer than we actually have.

Jesse was my best friend and in some weird part of my brain I wish I could tell him all of these things. Just call him and say “dude you will not believe what happened.” But I can’t. Ever.

The last aspect to this that gets criticism is: is it weird that it is one of Jesse’s best friends?

Nope. A quick Google search you will actually see this is the most normal situation, which I find amazing.

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Alright alright. You get it.

I’m not saying I am marrying him tomorrow, but I am saying for now he is really great for me and hopefully it’s for a long time.

He has a dark sense of humor which I also have. We make our trauma funny together.

He said to me he thinks he will die around 50, so I will be widowed twice. Then he assured me “but this time you can prepare.”

And we both laughed.

Being with Scott doesn’t erase anything I’ve said about Jesse. I feel exactly the same about Jesse as I did a few months ago, there is just nothing I can do. No amount of sadness will bring him back. At least with Scott I get to be happy sometimes instead of just miserable 24/7.

First Time.

First Time.

I am giving you a heads up now.

This is a blog about grieving and how it impacts aspects of my life. As the title suggest this one is about my first time having sex with someone after Jesse- but remember it’s a grief blog, not a porn site. So I won’t be sharing details like that.

Jesse has been gone for 5 horrible months. Jesse doted on me for 13 years. He brushed my hair, touched me, you name it. He was a very intimate person.

Then one day he was gone. Everything was gone. I didn’t get a choice. Life just told me “deal with this thing you are clueless about.”

A lot of people go without intimacy but I wasn’t used to it so on top of grieving I felt neglected but also confused about how to even approach it because it’s weird and I have all this baggage. (This run on sentence depicts my chaotic racing thoughts).

I asked another widow what I should do and she, like I have seen quite a few times, told me to go for one of Jesse’s close friends. She said they will know what to do.

And she was right.

So, because I’m such a classy lady, I text Jesse’s one friend and asked him if he would have sex with me- but to be forewarned I was going to cry. He said he knew I would too, but agreed.

Weird right? See no one talks about this, but this is really common in the widow community. We all share exactly same traits that are completely normal yet we pretend they are not and it’s a big secret.

I should add some widows don’t cry. They don’t “care.” Also normal. But I’m not on that side of it.

So he came over. It was a bit awkward, like my last blog suggest- I feel like a virgin even though I’ve likely had more sex than most people I know. When we did it I expected to cry and I didn’t. I was pretty okay. He was very sweet to me.

Then I laid on his chest. That was the trigger. Instant tears. Last time I laid on Jesse’s chest was to hear his heart beat for the last time and I tried so desperately to engrain the sound of it in my head so I wouldn’t forget it. I also always laid on Jesse’s chest too.

When I cried it didn’t scare him and he didn’t make me feel weird. It was as perfect as my fucked up situation could be. He held me and let me cry and we talked about Jesse. He said he missed him too and how awesome he was.

Normally that would likely be weird but in this weird grief world I am in that is very standard.

If I had been with a stranger and cried they likely would not have cared. They wouldn’t know who Jesse was. I’d have to explain my entire self if I started crying. But Jesse’s friend already knew. He just let me do what I needed to do.

He understood why I was weird about moving things that were Jesse’s and was extremely respectful about it. He loved his friend. He has also suffered quite a few losses so he just knew what to do and say. I didn’t have to explain.

He also brought me a bottle of wine and flowers. So he got bonus points.

I think it’s important to say that just because I checked another box of the “things that prove Jesse really isn’t here” list doesn’t mean I’m cured now. I’m still sad and upset. Im just also a human. When Jesse died I didn’t eat for 3 days, but eventually I had to eat. Eventually this had to happen. I’m not a saint. Im a paladin (Jess always used to say that).

If you read this and think it was too soon or it’s strange that it’s Jesse’s friend, it’s really not. It was exactly what I needed.

Someone who gets me, knows me, knows Jesse and respects the situation.

Virgin Widow.

Virgin Widow.

This is my term I use to describe this other indescribable shit aspect of young widowhood.

Art of being alone from Qianqian Ye. I spared you the alternative of inappropriate text and photos from my once life so enjoy this art.

Generally among the widows when their spouse dies they usually follow one of two paths:

1. “Wid-ho” (not making this up):

This route includes screwing everything and everyone. It could be months after or even days. The desire to feel something, anything, is so strong one can get even “reckless.”

Going from having love and comfort to *snap* all gone is extremely difficult. A decent amount of widows respond this way.

This is normal. It doesn’t fill the void but it’s something to do. Literally.


2. Virgin Widow (yes this usually means before consummating a marriage but I also use it because starting over after years and years also feels like being a virgin):

This route is where the widow completely recluses. This may be why you see a widow single for 25 years. I say virgin widow because they are clearly not a virgin, yet when you have been with the same person for years- it kind of feels that way. Also, you didn’t divorce or break up. So it intensifies the awkwardness. Its like your first time all over again. Yay?

Unfortunately I am pretty sure I am in category 2. I say unfortunately because I am 30 and I used to like having sex. Actually I still do. Actually I think about it constantly.

But the person I want it with is dead. So what a mind fuck right?

So I am sitting here for 3 months simultaneously crying and having whatever other emotion I have but also reflecting on my sex life constantly. I miss being wanted by my person and in the way he wanted me. To quote he would say:

See look at me saving you from having to see more than you bargained for.

I’m going to spend more time talking about section 2- just because thats the one I relate to. But I am telling you section 1 is just as common.

My spouse was great and this is probably why I was pregnant 6 times in 13 years. He was able to make me feel loved and lusted after at the same time. I think most men are only capable of one, if any.

He made me feel like we were in some stupid cringe movie about a girl’s first time while simultaneously making me feel like it was also a porno.

I am solidly aware, because of prior experience and conversations with girlfriends- that if a man is any good you keep that. Because many of them think they are and have no idea. They don’t actually listen or sometimes even care. They are in it for them. Short term this may work, but long term I promise it’s nicer to have a happy wife.

When my friends would talk about their husbands not being too great- I could not relate. Ever. I was always satisfied.

So yes. I often think who is going to actually love me. Worship me even. Without being lame and cringey. *sigh*

It’s interesting I went to category 2. I say this because I’ve never been shy. Jesse and I were pretty open- minus being swingers- I could talk to him about other men that were attractive and vice versa. I had the “freedom” to wear little clothing and go out and he would say “you are so hot.” That is it. I had the freedom to dance around a fire nearly naked and in front of people and he would just tell me I was beautiful.

There wasn’t jealousy.

In the beginning there was. Because I associated jealousy with love (thanks past abusive relationships!) but Jesse showed me that was wrong. He said he wasn’t jealous and if he did get jealous he wouldn’t tell me. My freedom to make choices was more important to him than him being uncomfortable at my clothing choices.

Anyways. Now that I’ve outed myself as category 2 let me explain why it’s garbage.

If a man even looks at me the wrong way I lose my shit. I used to come home and tell Jesse and feel good to some degree like “haha I still got it.”

Now I say: “how dare you stare at me?!” And then the guy is like “sorry lady you just had something in your teeth.”

Jesse died. We never broke up. I cannot tell him anything. I cannot get his input.

This, to me, feels like the ultimate form of cheating. I will never ever be able to tell him what happened. The person I told everything to, will have no idea how my date went. That doesn’t even sound right.

A date? Why would I date I’m in a relationship… Except I’m not… Except I am, it didn’t end… Except it did because he passed… Except it didn’t because he doesn’t know?

Like I said widowhood is garbage in a million ways. Trying to figure this out is horrible.

Okay so yes he’s never coming back (except what if he does!?) what if I am like in that movie Cast Away with Tom Hanks and Jesse is stuck on an island somewhere and I remarry. Then boom one day 5 years later he makes it back to the house only to find me and my new husband sitting down to dinner?

He’s not going to. But I fully expect he will.

So let’s say I really get over the fact he’s not coming back. I get over my absolute disgust with men and I try to date. This person will probably not even have a chance because I will scrutinize everything he does. I already know I’m going to do this.

Even if he seems great, has a great job, hes nice…I will be looking for key qualities of Jesse’s like how passionate he was or how he just thought I was the most amazing being on the planet. I doubt that will be replicated.

Also this new man has to let me talk about Jesse whenever I want. I won’t compromise, I will only include. I will not take down Jesse’s photos- I would only add photos of my “new life.” This is also common among the widows and their “chapter 2,” (another term I can’t stand, it means your husband or wife you have after your late husband/wife. It just doesn’t sound good to me).

Would it take some getting used to? Sure. It takes a very special person to be with a widow (ironically I know Jesse would have excelled at being a chapter 2) but what needs to be realized is there is no competition, because the competition is a dead person.

I have already had a few men reach out to me and I was extremely sensitive about our conversation when I normally would not have been. I ended up not returning messages and nothing objectively bad was even said.

I know theres no deadline here. No ones rushing to put me on the market. The issue is that I am thinking about my life now- of course I am- and this was a big part of it. So now what? It’s weird.

I want something I can never have again. I don’t know what to do with that. It cannot be replicated. If I thought it could I would try, because thats what I do. I try to fix things quickly. But I know this time its not going to work.

So then I think “yikes. You may just be a virgin widow.” If Jesse could see how prudish I was right now I don’t think he would believe it. So many things have changed in such a short period of time and it sucks. I am worried that part of my life is over because it is so painful. How am I supposed to kiss someone who is not my children’s father? Like I said, if we agreed to it I would have some understanding that it just didn’t work out. We did not agree to that though, we agreed to be together forever and retire. To see grandchildren and weddings.

My perspective is unlikely to change also. Maybe I will be able to date one day but I will still have these thoughts present. They cannot be undone. I am not an ostrich in the sand, I will torture myself looking at reality.

Sometimes there is a tendency to think husbands can be replaced and parents/children cannot be. This is because we choose our husband, but not kids and parents. This is because we can get a “chapter 2,” but a new baby will not replace another child.

This is wrong. Jesse cannot be replaced for me. I can go have sex with someone else sure- but I cannot replicate the person who helped me give life to 4 children of ours. That is a bond that cannot be replaced. Our DNA mixed. This is the person I agreed to mix my DNA with. Sometimes I think this may be the worst pain, because I was able to choose it. Not just have to deal with it because it’s “family.” We chose each other. Grief isn’t a contest but I feel as though since we can have a “new husband,” it sometimes diminishes how we feel.

Jesse and I agreed this was our last baby and my one remaining tube would be “tied.” Bittersweet but it was fine. We do have 4 children and I am 30, he was 32. It was just this part of life is over. The OBs took my decision and were fine with it. Just sign the form.

Until the other day, I got the “well, since everything that happened- are you sure?”

I replied with “are you asking me if I want a 5th c-section at 37 as my children’s only surviving parent?” I got a quick no. Of course I did.

But again, I cannot even fathom a date let alone carrying a child that is NOT Jesse’s. What a mind fuck. So no. I’m done and so is Jesse.

I’d like my little stressful loving life back. The one where some days are bad and others are great, not this one where its horrible all the time. Not this role in a tragic film I didn’t sign up for. I’m not a movie character, but that’s all I feel like anymore. I got the lead role in a shitty D film.

So yes- I did just admit I haven’t had sex in 3 months (sorry family and Catholic law school). I am also admitting I don’t see anything happening any time soon and yes this bothers me.

I debated talking about this part and then just decided to, like I do with everything because what’s the worst that can happen? Most of it did already minus something happening to my children.

This needs to be spoken about though because I know a lot of widows feel strange about it. I also know my worldview prior to widowhood was “If Jesse died I would be crushed!” I couldn’t fathom this conundrum nor did I think I would handle it this way or feel these complex things such as being in sex limbo.

Widowhood sucks.

We are laughing here because those heels were ridiculously high. Like 4 inches. They hurt. I wore them for 3 minutes.

I will miss everything about you forever Jess.