A Meeting, A Date, Hope, Disappointment, Hope, A Beginning

The beginning of this is an excerpt of a young man’s story, having had multiple surgeries on his jaw for cancer, about a very early interaction with a woman after several years of cancer treatments and surgeries. Afterwards, follows my reply and my story:

“Obviously, when you get to know each other better, you start finding out, maybe you’re not that compatible. Then, I noticed that she lost a little bit of interest in me. I got really mad, I got really hurt and upset, it hurt my ego. I was blaming her for this, I was like, ‘Fuck this shit, fuck this bitch, I can’t believe this.’

Then I took a second to really think about the whole thing, and I realized she came into my life not once, not twice, but three times and three times she was the one who reached out to me, who started talking to me, and she gave me this feeling that I had forgotten I was able to feel. I hadn’t felt this way in fucking four, five years. So then I realized, just the fact that she was kind enough, and open enough and confident enough, to reach out to me, it made a permanent change in my life, it made a permanent change in the way I felt, the way I looked at myself, and the way I perceived everything around me.

Instead of me being angry and hurt or not wanting to take it further, and instead of me being mad and upset with her, I had to be so grateful that this person reached out to me and made me feel this feeling of having this one-second crush again, feeling like a teenager. The point of the story is: not everyone who comes into your life is there to stay. It’s okay for them to go, because everything happens for a reason. When things go back, don’t embrace the negative feelings, don’t focus on your ego being hurt, focus on the good they did. She did so much good for me. And I know to this day she has no idea what she did for me, she has no idea the impact she made on me at this time — but she did.

It took me some time to realize to realize, wow, I should be so grateful for this confident woman to come in, make me feel great, and start the rebirth of Big Boi Benzo! She’s one of the many factors of why I’m talking to you today, she is one of the many factors of why I’m in Barcelona again. She made me feel what felt like to feel confident again, to feel loved again, to feel this rush of adrenaline again.

You can do and have anyone in this world that you want to if you’re just willing to open up and believe in yourself.”


 MY comment to this young man’s story on I HAD CANCER blog site, follows.

So, let me start by saying thank you for sharing from your heart, and being so open about confidence and self-esteem, self-worth, and all that goes along with those things that make you feel comfortable in your own skin. And, for talking about how trusting that being yourself … although it means risking hurt and rejection… is the only way to be open and honest and the only way to find someone that loves you for who you really are.

That being said in one huge breath, although I do not have cancer, I was caregiver for my wife for 21 months dealing with her pancreatic cancer. We were together for 17 years, married for 16. She died this last January, eight and a half months ago. I am just starting to have the courage to approach a woman and ask for contact information after some conversation. It is not easy on multiple levels. The interaction with people is NOT difficult. The interaction with the thought of further pursuit of interaction, IS very difficult initially.

I met someone in a synagogue service recently. I struck up a conversation. When we left the synagogue, I asked for her email and we exchanged and put it in our phones. I was excited, like a teenager. I sent her a message that night, the next night we talked on the phone for two hours, and we arranged to meet for a walk on the beach, and a bite to eat, the following day.

In my typical fashion, I was overly excited. Mind you, I just turned 64. I am not a youngster…lol… nor have I ever been comfortable approaching a woman and asking for a phone number, never felt I was that “good looking”, nor the type a woman would easily say yes to.

This woman was easy to talk to and to listen to. She was attractive. But something seemed “off” to me at the end of our date, when saying goodbye, and I went to give her a hug and she seemed less than enthusiastic. And no, lol, I didn’t think it was that she was disappointed that I did not go to kiss her goodbye. Although I did say to myself later on, and in an email to her, that if I knew that was going to be the last time I would see her, I would have kissed her goodbye. (A good title for a song I will write….. I just wrote one called… “Dating Blues”… on my facebook page…lol..) Anyway, the hug was lukewarm. Some part of my brain picked up on that and the way she said goodbye to me. I sent her an email that evening, saying how much I enjoyed her company and would like to spend more time getting to know each other.

My name is Neal, not John…but I got one of those Dear John letters or in this case, an email the following evening. “Due to circumstances in my life right now, I need to work on some things on my own. I wish you well…” etc etc… On some levels I was crushed, since I had such high hopes and I was thrilled to converse with someone on a really personal level. I even had written a song and played guitar and sang it for her ( it is called….”Morning”…. and really is a sweet and pretty song….and NO, lol, I do NOT have a terrible voice…don’t think that’s why she balked and walked…lol)…anyway…

I was sad, a little angry, disappointed…. but I also tried to not steep in those emotions for more than a brief time, realizing she helped me along in my process of getting out there, being myself, and also to temper my enthusiasm a touch, and do a little holding back and not sharing tooooo much toooooo soon. And, you said it. Not everyone who comes into your life is there to stay.

Look, bottom line is, I am lonely. I am not done grieving for my wife, and some of that will always remain, just it won’t be quite so cutting…..like the glass on the beach….sand glass or beach glass? ….sharp when it is first on the beach and it will cut you and you will bleed…..versus weathered glass that has had its edges smoothed by wind, water, sand, and time…………it doesn’t cut you any longer, it is smooth and pretty and you can touch the edges and you will no longer bleed.

The bottom line is loneliness. After the acute grieving, this unbelievable chasm, this indescribable ache sets in, and no, I am not talking about horniness and plain out of my senses for sex..lol. That is another topic for another day …not so funny…lol…also a real issue, but different than this.

The ache of loneliness is wanting a companion to share some of the things I enjoy doing, and enjoying things someone else wants to do. Feeling comfortable with sharing feelings and being oneself with someone else. Being comfortable being alone, but sharing experiences with another in a deep way….like you said in your writing….your whole attitude and sense of being felt uplifted when you met and were first seeing that woman.

Anyway, I will keep writing songs, and singing, and one of these days, I will find someone to sing harmony with me. Not necessarily literally, although that would just be an added bonus. I am getting more comfortable taking action, and not just thinking about taking action. And, that is feeling good inside.

This interaction was another step along the way. I am working on it. I am in it. And, “it” is just being present, and being more comfortable in my own skin as I continue to work on knowing myself better. At the moment, that may come across as being “needy”. “Needy” because I am hungry for companionship and lonely. Maybe that will seem less desperate as time goes on. For now, I am liking myself just where I am, and taking each breath, one after another.

This is Neal Harvey….good day!!

Neal Klein
Life After Emilee, on the loss of my wife to pancreatic cancer. I’m not accepting comments right now but please feel free to get in touch via my Contact page.