This blog is for Jim Marventano's family and friends to review his status and updates while he goes through treatment for Stage IV Colon Cancer. We can beat it together!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Something Different

This weekend Janet and Jim watched the kids while I went to Philadelphia to visit our friends the Kellys. Mark and Jim were best friends, and Terri and I have become very good friends as well. I haven't seen them since Jim's memorial service in Rochester two years ago. It was a long overdue trip. This weekend I got to meet some of the Kelly's friends - two couples who really stuck with them through Jim's passing. It was a real treat to get to see their everyday life. Terri was worried she didn't have enough planned. Um, hello - I slept till 9 every morning and took two totally uninterrupted naps. It was the best trip I've been on in a long time.

Seeing the Kellys and having the Marventanos here brought up a glut of feelings that I've been working on lately. Let me say this: it's a very, very good thing that I'm in therapy.

Thus far I haven't written many blogs about dating. Mainly because my dating life has been wholly uninteresting. Well, that's a bit of an understatement. My dating life has been a constant source of fascination and satire to my friends and acquaintances in a "ew, so glad I'm not in your spot" kind of way. Yeah, I so wish I wasn't in my spot either.

In October I met someone that I enjoy dating. He's the first one I've ever actually liked. His name is Eric. He's a real doll. BUT, it's hard introducing him around. A few of my friends have met him, but not many. My mom and dad met him. Mom loved him. So did Dad...but that's going to be an adjustment. Jim was really tight with my parents. The phrase "JimnI" was borne of my father's love for doing things with Jim.

I've posted a couple of things about Eric on Facebook. Before I left for the weekend Jim Senior asked me a couple of questions about him. I cannot imagine what they were thinking. Jim gently said "You know, you've got to live your life, Kate." He only asked me questions because he was interested. I got all nervous and weird and stammered out a few things about Eric. I felt awful. I know that they want me to be happy, and that includes meeting someone. But their son is gone, and I cannot imagine the pain and confusion for them as I begin to rebuild my life. They really haven't had to hear about my dating life, because hasn't been worth mentioning. Now I suddenly have someone worth mentioning and I know it has to be hard for them, no matter how happy they are for me.

This weekend I talked to Mark and Terri about Eric. It's not hard to tell that I dig him. I get all weird and flushed when I talk about him. I asked Mark if it was okay that I talk about him. (Right - like Mark is going to say no!?) Both Mark and Terri were very gracious. But again, I'm talking about Eric to Jim's best friend. I know the Kellys are my friends, too - but here I am, rebuilding my life, and no matter what way we cut it, Jim isn't involved. Mark was there that first night I asked Jim out. He was in our wedding. The four of us took vacations together.

Everything that happens with Eric brings up a flurry of emotion. The first time I had him in my house I was all nervous and jerky and weird about it. I've had a couple of other guys to the house before, but never felt weird. Why? *Because I didn't care about them.* I don't like him near the kids. Not because I don't think he's wonderful - I do. He's got a son of his own and he's very sweet and gentle with my kids. But because I've really had male *friends* near the kids - people that I made it clear to the kids are JUST friends. This is different.

The glut of feelings I've been working on? Guilt. Guilt is the biggest. I feel like I'm betraying Jim. Not betraying him, I guess. After all, he's been gone for more than two years. But...not sure if it's okay to like someone yet. I second guess everything. A few weeks ago my friend Liz helped me clean up and organize Jim's tools in the basement. I haven't touched his toolbench since he got sick. I didn't want to move anything. Well, I was ready to clean up the basement. After I moved his tools I went down there and felt sick to my stomach. Is it too soon? Did I do it because I'm ready to clean up or because of Eric? [Oh, THERE'S the overthinking Kate we all know!] I know that eventually I'll move some of Jim's stuff because I'll get weird if Eric touches anything of Jim's.

I dated one guy that didn't want to hear anything about Jim. I dated one that was very sweet and told me he thought there was room in my life to love Jim *and* him. (Actually, there wasn't...he's a great guy, but just a friend.) And now I'm dating someone that is okay with hearing about Jim. Who holds and hugs me when I cry about Jim. Someone who listens and gets that my life is ruined because of cancer. Someone that knows I have room in my life to love Jim and him.

I don't know what will happen with Eric. All we can count on in this life are death, taxes, and constant change. I do know that it's the first time I've felt very, very happy in two years. It was a wonderful weekend, wrought with emotion. I imagine that it's going to be that way for a long time. Every time a new scenario comes up, I'm going to wince in pain or guilt. I guess that's the process of learning and rebuilding my life. I don't even like to say "moving on". How could I ever move on without Jim? He's going to be part of me going forward. He'll be in my every action, my thoughts. I see him every day in my kids. And now I'm dating someone that is confident and gentle enough to let me celebrate and love the life I had, and is also willing to accept it and wants to be part of my new life.