He seems to be a lost, tragic figure who will never smile again because the "love of his life" has been lost. He does need to grieve before he moves on to a new relationship or the next phase of his life; that is essential. An examination of the ways of nature tells us this. The widower should not be held hostage to the role society expects him to play for all time.
Hollywood loves this storyline, as does country music, and popular fiction. And the widower is human and has faults, just like anyone else.
I had fallen in love and wanted to know everything about this incredible man, including what had happened.
Being with someone whose first wife has died – a wife he loved very much – has the potential for a difficult subsequent relationship: a past love that can never be matched (not that it should be a competition), a woman who doesn’t grow old, rosy-hued memories that will only ever gain lustre, worries about comparisons that can’t be checked face to face.
In the first emails Tim and I sent each other we mentioned previous relationships – my failed marriage and his wife’s death at 36 from breast cancer – but only in a fact-finding kind of way.