Monday, for the first time since I was 16 and took Sam to dinner and a movie, I went on a date.
Yeah, at 5-1/2 months, I went on a date. And you know what? It felt good. Really good. Because although Sam died 5-1/2 months ago, I hadn't related to her from a "romantic" point of view since before chemo. It just wasn't part of the equation. Caring for her was the number one priority - not being mushy and boyfriend/girlfriend (or husband/wife). We had our tender moments. We were still physically intimate when we could manage it. But I was losing her for a long time, and deep down I knew I was losing her. The amount of anticipatory grief I experienced during the last 2-1/2 years of Sam's life probably has a lot to do with my ability to even consider relating to a woman on any level other than platonic at less than 6 months of official widda-hood. "LA" is a single mom, really sweet, really supportive of my process, and extremely patient because of it.
Concern #1: That I'd be too hung up on Sam's personality or body type/physical traits to be open to anything different. LA is like a complete about-face from Sam, so concern #1 was rendered moot - and that felt good to discover.
Concern #2: That the Guilt Factor would be debilitating, and I would not be able to function socially. I kept waiting for it, but the Guilt Factor never registered - and that felt good too.
Concern #3: That skin hunger would drive me too deeply and too quickly into a relationship, which I'm totally not ready for. That's still a concern, so I'm taking things slowly and not jumping into anything serious. Not with LA. Not with anyone.
Bottom line? I felt human and alive for a few hours. I related to a female of the species and didn't do the social equivalent of pulling the pin on a grenade and waving it around. It felt natural and positive and I didn't feel any of the guilt I was anticipating, nor did I care about what "everyone else" might think. Guess I'm cutting myself some slack, which is one of those about-damn-time things.