The path that led me from wife to widow had been long, crooked, and painful.

I had spent the previous two years watching my husband fight, with grace and heartbreaking optimism, a rare and aggressive form of esophageal cancer.

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In particular, avoid over-reminiscing about your old life; it may make your new acquaintance feel excluded. You may long to clone your lost love, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever meet an exact replica of the one you were with. After all, the person you met at age 25 changed over a lifetime, and so did you.

Now you’re in a different stage, with a redrawn horizon.

When his cancer briefly disappeared, I rejoiced with him; when it reappeared, we despaired together.

I rode beside him in ambulances to emergency rooms late at night.

“I met so many wonderful people at target practice,“ she says, “and I even started entering competitions around the country with many of the people I met locally.” Now, four years after losing her husband, Mary’s confidence and sense of empowerment has grown, as has her social life.

“I met a man on Seniors Meet and we have been together for a while now,“ she says.

About a year after Mort’s death, Mary felt ready to start taking baby steps to move on and meet new people.

“Mort had been a hunter and had promised to teach me how to shoot,“ she says, “but we never got around to it.” When a shooting range, started by two former SEALS, opened near her home, Mary decided to learn what she had missed with husband.

“Neither of us wants to live together or get married, but it’s great having male companionship again.” Lots of people who lose their husband or wife feel like it's easier to be alone and not deal with the anxiety and other pressures associated with being social. Our well-being is based largely on interactions with others.