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Our Story Begins:
The Grief Gaffe..
4 Things NOT To Say

The question usually comes from left field, often following my flirting with a woman I find attractive, or – horror of horrors – the very rare occasion where I’ve actually had coffee or a meal with someone.

“How can you do that? It’s been so soon?!”

Some context here: the question usually comes because people know that, three years ago my wife, Andrea, passed away. I even had to have the discussion with my 14-year-old daughter. She says people have told her that I shouldn’t “move on” that I should just be happy I had found love once. I should focus on just raising my kids. Some might think this is my daughter’s fear coming out but I know better. She said she just wants me to be happy, if it’s the right person anyway.

Related: Our Story Begins: Dads and Daughters: Did I Set the Bar Too High?

Let me say this though; I get it. I understand that three years, to a lot of people, is the blink of an eye. I mean, the third wedding anniversary’s traditional gift is leather, folks. That alone gives me the implication that three years isn’t milestone territory, the “traditions” say you’re still working your way through things if you’re married.

So how do I just “move on” after a mere three years? There are a few things you need to know before you make comments to someone whose lost their spouse.

1. Are You Sure You're Over Her?

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I've known people who married immediately after losing a spouse. I've also known people who never married again. Loss is a bit of a misnomer, you haven't misplaced your spouse. I know where she is. It's what made her "Andrea" not the shell under ground that's gone. I think the whole "get over them" phrase is a bit off, too. I still love Andrea, my late wife. I always will. I will hear the first song we danced to at our wedding and it will always make me sad. Still, she's always here, with me, a foundation for our story. That's comforting in a lot of ways.