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Considered reconciling with ex wife before she died suddenly

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It's been two painful months since my ex wife died. For many years she was everything to me. After we divorced we took some time to ourselves and became better people. We became good friends again over the years. Sometimes more depending on each other's current relationship status. We always joked we'd end up in the nursing home together. When the chips were down and things got tough in life, she was always there for me, and likewise I was always the one she leaned on. We were high school sweethearts. We married too young and she died too young. 

The last time I spoke to her was two days before she died. The night before she died I was on a redeye flight home and pondering our last discussion for hours. Thinking through the reasons we should get back together. Thinking about how we really belong together. Thinking about how she was the only one out there in the universe who really knows me, really accepts me and makes me feel loved deep down in my soul. Wondering if I'd get up the courage to do something about it. I was contemplating leaving my current girlfriend and giving it another shot with my ex wife. The next day I get the call that she died. She wasn't overweight, she didn't do drugs and she quit drinking years ago. But she had an underlying heart condition and she died suddenly of it. It took a few days for that to even sink in. I just talked to her! She was only 6 hours older than me (36). 

I knew how she felt about me and I'm pretty sure she knew how I felt about her. I just hate there were things I wanted to say to her that I didn't have the courage to say out loud to her face. There's a lifetime of this rollercoaster and messy, beautiful relationship. So here I am processing all the grief of her death (which is hard enough) as well as this messy, unfinished 18 year relationship we shared. I've been reliving all of it. The good, the bad and the ugly. The pain and the beautiful moments. Exactly half my life has been with her in it. I thought we had plenty of time to figure things out and get it right. I don't even remember what life was like before her.

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I am so sorry for your loss, I truly am.  I understand, it's a hard place to be in.  I hope you have supportive friends/family who understand how you felt and realize your immense grief.  This is what is sometimes referred to as disenfranchised grief as others don't always recognize it.

I hope you'll separate your feelings for her from your feelings for your GF...it needn't be and either/or for now it's enough to accept that you love both on their own merits, you have plenty of time to figure out if/whether your GF and you have potential or not...I just hate to see you make a hasty decision in the intense emotion you're wafting through right now.  Perhaps you're in the early stages and it hasn't had adequate time to develop fully.  The next few months will be telling, if she's understanding, respects your situation, is supportive, etc.  I know that sounds one-sided but sometimes relationships ARE one-sided for a time as situations warrant...obviously they can't continue that way forever, but when one is grieving it's one of those times.  We have to put ourselves first as it takes everything within us to process this, let alone figure out how to do our grief journey.

I hope you feel free to come here and post, any time, we're here, listening.

Disenfranchised Grief: 22 Examples, Signs, and Tips
Disenfranchised Grief: Hidden Sorrow
Disenfranchised Grief: When An Ex-Spouse Dies
Disenfranchised Grief: Mourning the Loss of a Dream
Disenfranchised Grief: When Grief and Grievers Are Unrecognized - SocialWorker.com
Grief Process
Tips to Make Your Way through Grief


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I’m so sorry for your loss.  I can relate in sort of a similar way.  We had separated for 2 years, we’re going to get divorced and i developed another relationship but it dissolved.  I already was in love.  He saw women for activities, no commitment connections.  We saw each other weekly.  He had been in my life for more than half of it.  When it became time to make that legal decision, we couldn’t.  We 'dated' again and renewed our vows.  He was the person for me and all the trials proved that.  That was over 20 years ago and he has been gone almost 7 years now.  I’ll never feel complete again.  That’s the hell of grief.

You are experiencing a hard part, things left unsaid.  We never think,and especially at your ages, that something like this would happen.  Time is usually on your side.  You got blindsided so cruelly.  I don’t know what to say about your girlfriend.  I’m assuming you have told her what happened and your feelings about each of them.  It will be her choice how she decides.  I also don’t know how tight that bond is if you were going to give it up.  

I think Kay’s advice is sound.  You have to tend to your no forever changed life with the void of your ex.  You can’t control your girlfriends reaction.  Only you know if you want her close or not.  All you can do is tell her your feelings.  She may be supportive, she may not.  But you have stepped onto a path you didn’t want to, but have no choice.  The priority is your ex, who sounds like was your life partner.   I can only view this thru guessing.  It is your unique grief.  I do know that you can talk here about any of it and everyone will offer support if they can.  You can at least get it out safely here.  It’s the first place I come everyday to be with others that 'get it'.  To get me thru another day.  There isn’t a day that has passed I don’t think of Steve.  Never will be.  

Hugs to you.  I hope the articles posted help a bit.  Your loss is so raw right now.  We say to be kind to ourselves meaning permission to feel anything you do and it is normal because it is.

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George was my person.  My soul mate, my best friend, my lover, my everything.  We had amazing connection, amazing communication, could relate to each other in spite of very different backgrounds.  The one person in the world that made me feel loved and protected.  The only one who ever cared about me.  

He's been gone over 16 years, I will probably spend the rest of my life alone.  This was never my preference, yet I can't imagine being with someone now.  I tried to rebuild my life, but went about it all wrong, that clearly did not work.  I'm used to being alone now.  I'm strong and independent.  If I was ever to find someone the bar is set so high, it's highly unlikely, they'd have to agree on morals, character, beliefs, have to love dogs, have a good sense of humor, have great communication, the list goes on and on.  Anyone know anyone like that?  It'd have to be someone that would accept who I am (and vice versa)...George never tried to change me, never tried to control me, I couldn't live with that, I had that for 23 years with my kids' dad.  And I couldn't handle being lied to, if I wanted that I would have stayed with my kids' dad...no hypocrites need apply.  ;)  So yep, it looks like a long lonely life looming ahead.

If I were ever to meet someone that fits the bill, we couldn't do comparisons...they'd have to understand my relationship with my dearly departed...hmm, sounds like I'll be living a long life with my puppy, Kodie!  All off this is a moot point as I don't even date.  ;)

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