After David died I felt so devastated and so alone. I spent a year just sobbing my guts out.
Finally I joined Match.com and met Gregory. He drank too much and made me miss David even more. I had spent so much time taking care of David and making things easier for him that I hadn't thought about myself and what life would be like without him.
After three dreary men, I began dating Rob.
Rob was not David. But he's Rob.
I thought of David after my granddaughter was born and how happy he would have been.
Partly it's time that has changed things and partly it's Rob; I can see, despite his flaws, that he's such a good person and good to me and that he really cares about me. He is now and David was the past. David lives on in the kids.
When my cancer was re-diagnosed in December, 2008, I was pretty sick. Having Rob in my life meant the world to me.
There is a cumulative effect of being with a good person who really cares about me. I'm sad David isn't here to the extent that we would still be raising our children and watching them grow and have children.
When I first dated, my kids found out. I was on the phone with my son when Gregory called to say he was waiting for me in the lobby of my apartment building. I told my son, I have a date tonight.
My son said it was an affront to David that I was going on a date. I told him, "You're not walking in my shoes. It's been a year and I'm living alone. I'm lonely."
Rob was the relationship that has lasted. The first few weeks, I didn't know he had this routine: He didn't touch me, didn't kiss me and after several weeks he said can I kiss you and then within 2 dates, we were sleeping together.
I had rented a house at the beach. We got there and he said, "What bedroom should I sleep in?" He said, "I don't like to presume."
I told him I date one man at a time. A look of total panic crossed his face.
Back in New York he had to break up with 3 or 4 women.
That was 2006 and around a year later he started to move into my apartment. But he kept his apartment. In the spring of 2008 he decided to sublet his place. He gave it to some brokers and they said he would have to renovate, but he wasn't willing to spend a penny.
The brokers said they could sell it and I thought oh my God where's the fall back?
They had a buyer and they sold it right away.
He's got all this art. Before the closing it was still just him and his clothes. And then suddenly there was so much stuff. My apt was already fully furnished. We used a base of his coffee table with my glass top.
No other furniture of his is here. He brought some pieces to the house we rent at the beach.
A few things he put in storage and others he gave to my older son.
Last weekend when I wasn't there he started hanging paintings on the walls at the beach and one thing was hideous. I said this is the first thing someone sees when they walk in the door?
He's an artist and he put up a self portrait.
In the bedroom, he hung a picture of nudes at a cocktail party. I said I don't like looking at that when I go to bed and when I wake up and that he should have discussed it with me.
He got the message.
He complains there is not enough room for his stuff. He comes in with his daughter, who is a personal organizer, and says if I could get rid of half my books then he could have more room for his books.
I had already gotten rid of books. Whatever he gets, he expands and then he thinks he owns that.
He took over a closet. Then he saved empty boxes on the empty shelves for regifting. He could use those shelves for books.
He re-gifted something to me. I told him I didn't want it. And then he gave it to his sister and she asked for a silver frame instead.
He gets gifts at a wholesale place. He doesn't understand you don't give gifts people can't return.
I have stipulated he can live here for 6 months after my death, assuming he pays half the expenses. Then he can have all the closets he wants.
I hope I don't sound too cranky. I love having Rob in my life.
I feel pretty lucky . . . considering.
Read more of Beth's stories about her cancer and the death of her husband.