He bowled me over when he asked about my children first

Mother and children

Taking the plunge again is never easy, especially remarriage after losing your spouse of 16 years. I was in my late 30s, staring at life stretched out in front of me as vast as a desert, with no reprieve in sight. I am a typical Cancerian and attached to everything to do with the home, like family, keeping house, husband, and children. Now I was suddenly unmoored, with two children, a 15-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter.

The children, being young and resilient, had settled into their routine. In just a few more years they’d grow up and leave home for further studies, jobs or married life. Where did that leave me? I was clear that neither would I live my life through them and nor would I be a clingy mother, enquiring about their well being and intruding every few days.

Considering remarriage makes you introspect on why you want to remarry.

I realised that I wanted to grow old with someone beside me, and not alone. My husband had taught me to LIVE every moment, grab life by both hands, enjoy and not sleepwalk through it all.

So, when my mother got after me to meet this person who had also lost his wife sometime back (she had heard about him through her friends) I decided to go ahead. By now, after being alone for almost 4 years, I had realised that life is very lonely and dull without a spouse. I missed the companionship, the fun, the joy of being together, adult conversation and being a family.

I knew it wasn’t going to be a cakewalk and I decided to lay down some rules for myself; first that I wouldn’t make comparisons between the two overtly (it’s inevitable that one does compare in one’s mind, but to verbalise it is being unfair to your second spouse), second, though the journey onwards will be rough sometimes, I’d treat it as a bonus; after all, I thought that my life had come to an end when I lost my husband at the age of 38!

We met one afternoon at my mother’s place. He came with his mother, sister and her husband. Right away, I could see the bonding between them and the closeness they shared. But what won me over in an instant was that the moment he was introduced to me he asked after my children and wanted to meet them. I had left them at home. I was bowled over by that gesture and brought them over. He met them, asked them about their life, school/college, hobbies and interests and listened to their answers. He talked to them about his three children (two daughters and a young son) and endeared himself to me with his candour and ease.

Related reading: The first year of marriage

Everything else just fell into place seamlessly. My apprehensions about our eating habits (he is a vegetarian and I am a non-vegetarian), different languages (he is fluent in Marathi and me in English, as I from Delhi and had lived in North India most of my life, being an Army wife) and different cultures were summarily brushed aside by him saying that we have much larger issues than these inconsequential things, namely our children (ages ranging between 11 and 22) and if they get along well we have nothing to worry about. I was charmed by this logic.

How right he was in zeroing on the most important issue that concerned us!

We spent the next couple of hours filling in each other about our lives and it was such a relief to be able to speak about my first husband, as nobody (including my family) would talk about him thinking it would upset me, but I would be dying to talk about him. I knew he too liked telling me about his first marriage and his memories of his wife of 21 years.

By the end of the afternoon, we had decided we could take this further and would like to get to know each other and the children. I knew that if his children accepted me in their lives, I would be a good friend and support them whenever they need me. We were both aware that it wasn’t going to be easy, but we were ready to face the challenge.

Now 13 years later, I know that the decision we took that afternoon has been blessed by our spouses, as we have built a life together as a family, raised our children to face their lives with love and care, made them whole and confident.

Widows are human, too, and have needs

Even for a Second Marriage, Men Have the Upper Hand


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