Now, at age 54, and thanking God for reaching this age, I have worn many titles over these five–plus decades.
But “widow” wasn’t one I would have dreamed of or picked, of course.
After 25 years of a very successful, loving honest, faithful and an always “God first” marriage to a real life “Prince Charming,” the words “dating” or “back on the market” weren’t given a second thought.
Someone close to me suggested that I “find another man” about a year after God called my beloved spouse home in 2007. I can remember that whole scene like it was yesterday, but thankfully with much less of the gut-wrenching pain.
My husband, William Lee Culp III, returned home from a three-week hospital stay and asked if the three of us—he and I and our son, William Lee Culp IV,—could have a party. Complete with cake, ice cream and as much fun as humanly possible. This crossed my mind as being a wee bit odd, but given the length of time he had spend in the hospital, I thought this was the reason for the proposed fanfare.
But it wasn’t.
After we had our small but unusual celebration, he asked me to come to our bedroom and to shut the door firmly behind me. He wanted to speak privately and not yet involve our son as he had enough on his mind with his J-ROTC and high school graduations coming up in a few months.
To put it in a nutshell, he quietly announced he had stage 4 lung cancer and had about six months to live.
Here is where I will still, forever remain at a loss for words, and I am a communicator in every sense of the word! To fast forward, he actually lasted 13 months before God’s final call for him to come home.
He was a stately, no, extremely handsome man, who stood 6 feet, 5 inches, with a body crafted only by God himself. He sang falsetto like any of the creators angels sing, and he was a master tradesman to boot.
Even as a struggling young couple with an infant, he always saw to it that our basic needs were met.
Later God allowed him to utilize those talents and more, to increase the earthly quality of our lives in most areas. Including but not limited to; traveling, higher education for the both of us, and in volunteering as a way to “give back” for all that we had received. We came into the relationship each having one child each: a daughter, from previous relationships or marriage, the son (William IV) is now a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. My husband held on those extra months to see his son graduate USMC Boot Camp in Parris Island, SC.
We called him our “bridge blessing” since he was our child together as a couple. At the graduation, our son walked up to his dad and pressed something into his large, thin, chemo-roughed hand. I saw a tear trickle down my husband's still handsome jaw line, and I teased him saying” you big woos, look at ya.”
During our years together, one of the things we had in common to the very end was our deep sense of shared humor. So he responded back with something like “Shut up Deborah, I’ll have to deck you”
It turned out that the item William IV pressed into his Dad’s trembling hand was his newly-minted “Eagle Globe and Anchor,” the official emblem of the Marines. It means that they protect us by air, by land or by sea, hence the “Eagle Globe and Anchor.”
By now I am certain that I’ve more than laid the ground work on the topic of why of dating over 50 is a hard one for me.
After the equivalent of a lifetime with such a wonderful blessing of a mate who never compromised his core values and lived them to the very end, how could I even dream of anything else?
Can you imagine the nonsense that I’ve heard since becoming single again? Some of it is just unmentionable but is it possible to date and maybe even love again? And I am at the point of giving it a try?
There are some things I know I will never compromise now that I deserve and do expect in a mate.