Stories Of A Double Widower With Isaac Byrd Jr. Part 1

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Isaac Byrd Jr. | Double Widower

It is indeed not easy to deal with grief after losing someone dear to you. But what if you have to go through the same pain twice? Joining me in this conversation is Isaac Byrd Jr., who opens up about what it is like to be a young double widower. We explore the lessons and realizations from his two partners who have transitioned to the next life, as well as the important role of music and faith in his grieving journey. Isaac also shares his experiences of going back into the dating game, especially now that it is mostly done through online applications.

 

I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.  


Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide.

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Stories Of A Double Widower With Isaac Byrd Jr. Part 1

Hello, Isaac, welcome to the widowhood. 

Hello, thank you for having me, I appreciate it. 

I will say, that even though this is Isaac being welcome to our widowhood, we’re having this conversation because he already was a member of the widowhood.

I guess technically I was. 

For sure and I want to tell you guys, I am intentionally always looking and stalking. Isaac can say that I stalked him down on TikTok and found him. I said, “Hi, how are you doing? Could you come to talk, please?” 

It was cool. She’s not the creepy stalker. 

They are out there just so everybody knows that. I said hello and I’m interested in this. This is our website. Please look at this and then get back to me. I didn’t come on hot and heavy real quick onto Isaac. It was just like, take a look. I will tell you, he was pleased with our website. He said, okay.

I was very impressed with what you’re doing. I got to do it. 

 

Music Background

I appreciate that because there are not enough men in this space sharing to encourage. I see all of the equipment in the background. What’s up with that? What is that representing your life? 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Isaac Byrd Jr. | Double Widower

Music has been, always been in my life since I was a child. I started playing instruments probably around the age of three or four when I got my first set of drums and my first trumpet. Music has always been around. My father was a guitar player and singer. He also wrote. He was a good artist, he could draw very well. He has a lot of paintings in the house and different paintings around from artistry that he’s done over the years. 

Musically, of course, my dad had everything to do with me getting involved in music, but one of the things he did was give up being a touring or aspiring musician to be a family man. He always played his guitars and all those different things. My first bass guitar is right back there and then one of my dad’s favorite guitars right here because I was recording earlier. My dad would be proud right now because he’s going on to glory and it’ll be two years on April 24, 2024. I was recording guitar today. It was funny because when I was a kid, I took a liking to the bass first. 

He was teaching me guitar and I said, “I want to play bass.” He said, “You got to learn guitar first.” Somehow he agreed to teach me bass. I will play the guitar and I don’t do any of those on a stage. I usually do it in studio work stuff. I have enough to get by. I feel I have enough skill in guitar and bass to get by to do recordings because I know what I want typically. This is my studio area right now. This is what it is.

 

Father

I have so many questions, I’m going to try to pace myself here. One, you mentioned your Dad, if I heard you correctly, stopped being on the road for his music to become a family man. What impact did that make on you? 

I guess the impact was he was always here. My father was always involved in my life, whether that be in music, sports, and specifically when we did Boy Scouts and stuff like that. He was my Cub Scout leader. He was also my Scout Master at one point. I want to say that was before I was even born, that he made that decision to not pursue it heavily. I could see that impacted our lives in such a great way for myself and my sister. When I look at that, that sacrifice worked out for our family. My mom and he were together for 47 years. 

When you think of relationships, were you looking to mimic what you saw your dad doing or what did you pull from his being a father to you and how you want to show up in life? 

First of all, my dad was a Marine Corps veteran from Vietnam. 

There are some complexities with that. 

Yes, my father was a very intelligent man differently. We would consider Jim Crow, he was born in 1946 and grew up in Greenwood, South Carolina. My father came up through a very different world than I did. His being a father and a husband and my parents’ relationship was ultimately the first thing that modeled marriage for me. We do take and leave some things that we see for sure with our relationships or our family or our parents and stuff that. 

However, his presence was an asset to me because a lot of people don’t get that. A lot of kids that I grew up with, even my age, still didn’t get having both parents around and I did. There are a lot of things that come to mind. When I became an adult and then certain life situations happened, I did hear his voice a lot of times. The things that he would say when I was a child and I’d say, “I don’t know what he’s talking about.” It made sense 30 years later. 

That part right there about hearing your dad’s voice. You said there are a lot of different ways. Can you share one or two different ways that you’ve heard your dad’s voice and decisions or in living life? 

The biggest one that I share a lot of times if you ever see me on a podcast or any other place, especially when it talks about emotional intelligence and things that. My dad had his form of it, I guess. I think emotional intelligence is the new phrase for it. My father always used to teach me to control my passion. He was teaching me how to be in control of my emotions, no matter what the situation is, in the sense that I can make logical decisions but also in the sense that I can control myself so, I don’t make bad decisions that I will regret and things that. 

One of the things that I remember is I used to be a hothead when I was young. You say a couple of two words that I didn’t and I might be in your face. I also came with the territory where I grew up in the west side of Baltimore City and the neighborhood in which I did get picked on a lot when I was very young, before high school.

Because of you’re height? 

Before high school, I was not tall, but I’m six feet in real life now. 

That changed the game. It was like, “Okay, hold on.” 

When I hit that growth spurt between eighth grade and ninth grade, it started hitting the weights and playing football at a high level and wrestling and all that stuff. By that time, I probably knocked out a couple of people in my neighborhood. 

The word was out and when you say West side, I was born West side of Chicago. You just say West side, anything. I thought, “Hold on for a second.” 

It was one of those things it was like, all right you have some respect. I remember him talking about the control your passion thing and one of those things that the particular phrase has kept me from many bad decisions or probably walking away from that even in a professional world, “You know what? You probably don’t want to do that.” Even in relationships, “You know what? Don’t do that.” Flying off the handle might put you in prison. That phrase has carried me and I’m 42 now. That statement rings very true for me in so many aspects. 

 

Flying off the handle might put you in prison. Share on X

 

I love that it’s a simple statement, but it transcends every part of your life.

Yes, Even to the point of being a widow and during the time of planning funerals and things that, controlling, being able to be of a somewhat sober mind. In the midst of that, you said, it transcends all of those different parts of my life. 

You mentioned being a widow. Do you prefer the term widow or widower? Does it even matter? 

I do usually say widower, I just said a widow at the time. 

I have heard some men use the term widow interchangeably. That’s fine. You drop that bomb. Let’s talk about your widower story. What does that look like for you? 

First time, I’m actually twice a widower. I know that might be a shock to a lot of people. 

You’re right because they’re saying that he said he was forty-seven. He said he was a widower and now twice.

No, I’m 42.

I’m sorry. What year was your dad born? 

My dad was born in 1946. 

I was trying to figure out what I need to get out of my wheelchair because your girl over here, 57. Can I make sure I got the numbers right? 

He was well into his seventies. 

42 and twice a widower, that’s the elevator statement right there for sure. 

It’s an interesting thing to be. It’s also an interesting thing to say when you’re in a certain situation. I.E. dating. 

We’re not going to jump to that, but I do. I’m pinning that because we are going to get to that. Your perspective as a widower is so much different than I think that what widows receive. I’m okay if we jump around, but I want to give honor to your widower journey if you would. 

 

First Widower Journey

Sure. My first time with my widower journey started on April 8, 2017, to be exact. I just celebrated or celebrated the life of my second wife. Her name is Shmeka and we had a very interesting relationship because we got married in four and a half months. 

Did your parents get married that quickly too? 

I don’t know how long it was. It is funny that you asked the question. My Mom and I recently had a conversation. I want to say it was about a month and a half ago. We were sitting there talking and my mom was sharing with me how she and my Dad met because I didn’t know. I knew they were in the same neighborhood thing. Once he got back from Vietnam and stuff that.

I didn’t know exactly the story of what got them to, and she shared it with me. It was cool. I’d have to ask that detail for my Mom, but I don’t think it was a super long time. I don’t think it was. It was very different, but I think both of us were on purpose. When our paths crossed, it made sense to us. The one only time that I ever dated anyone I worked with. The one and only time. 

We worked at the same company and sat next to each other in training class. Funny, oddly enough, but we were on the first team together because we helped set up this entire department that was there when we worked at this particular company. Now, fast forward, it was funny because I look at God for a lot of things and answers. 

I only believe that I was hired at that job to meet her because about a month and a half before we got married, I got laid off. She stayed, and I got laid off. Right before we got married. I think God only worked that out so that we could be together. That’s how I looked at it. That has to be divine because there is no way. I don’t normally date anybody I work with, never, and this one time, here it is. 

We had a great relationship. Part of our relationship as we’re still friends and coworkers was she found out about me as a jazz artist and she asked for my signature on a post-it note. Everybody used to clown her about it. They asked her why would she even get an autograph. She said, “You don’t even realize who that is right there.” She posted it on her cubicle and it was so interesting because later ended up getting married. For some time, she was my manager.

A couple of things. Has she been a manager before, or does she take this on as being your wife and just being able to work together? 

She had not been, but she had always had a dream of being one.

Now we go back to purpose and intentionality to meet somebody, to be her husband, to fulfill a purpose and a dream of her life. How did that feel for ing how do you feel God set that up and had that purpose fulfilling? 

That was great because not only did she get that with me, she got it with other artists. We used to manage several different Christian, rap artists, and then there were a couple of singers that we could manage and that was her baby. I just happened to be the person who oversaw the company itself, but that was her thing. 

It worked out because I was already in the music business. There was a lot that I could show her from that, her gift in administration was bar none. One of the main reasons why it worked out well for her was because that was it. I’m a visionary. I can see the end from the beginning. She put the other pieces in the middle and it worked out very well. She loved doing it. It was fun. We had a good time doing it. 

Your norm is not to date somebody at work. What was the prompting to date her? 

I don’t know. As one of my college friends says to me, Isaac, you have a type. I like classy women and I like them thick too, but that’s okay. 

Putting that onto the dating thick and classy. I got to put that back to the dating. Ladies take note because he is single now, but go ahead. 

One of the things that, that I, when it came to her, she just always was well put together and she didn’t come to work looking terrible or like hell freezes over because I know sometimes you know, life be life in, between just an adult having responsibilities can be challenging, but she always came, she always looked good. 

We just always had a good cordial thing and it was just interesting if she was here, she would tell you, “You always had this phrase that you would say to me and I knew that I looked good.” She always looks at it. I’m not sure exactly what turned the tide for us, but it was just this one particular day, I think we just decided to exchange numbers and then from there I had no idea. We went out on a date and then. 

Four months later, you were married?

Yes, because we spent time together. Let me tell you how fast it was, we spent after work or after the things that we had going on personally, it was two weeks straight. After two weeks, I was like, “God, talk to your boy.” Unlike some people, I prayed to God a little differently than you all. 

It’s important that you say that and a couple of things, I’ve often heard that a man knows early on if this is the woman he wants to be with. Making that decision and executing may take time, but that sense of wanting that woman in this to be my partner, you just confirmed in that statement to me things that I’ve heard, which I think is interesting for women who want to hang around for a long time waiting for somebody to make a decision. I’m going to put that underneath the dating area because we are just slipping, but that’s right there. 

I know I talk a lot about that on my TikTok and different stuff. I would agree that men do know. Now I’ll say on the other side of being a widower and moving in the dating world is vastly different.

That’s for sure. Four months and you guys get married. How do you deliver that to the family or friends? How does that show up in the conversation? 

Straight to the face. I come from Baltimore. She was from Columbus, Ohio and we both grew up in the hood. We went right at it. I think for my parents, it might have been a little bit of a shock because I had previously gone through a divorce and stuff like that. I was a different man. I was on the whole my path was very different and it was already set. Family can either get on board. We believed what God said about us, it was just going to be me and her, was our attitude but our families were completely supportive. 

How long were you two married? 

I want to say we were almost to our four years. 

What you would want to share about her passing and what do you remember about that?

The details of what happened and how would I experience it, I would never wish that on my worst enemy. That’s the challenging part about losing a spouse in the way that I did was a very tragic situation. The thing that I remember, I was doing something recently where I was sharing about it. I think I was on a live or something. 

I was actually on the anniversary, I shared it on my TikTok and I was encouraging people to love people. Life is short. You don’t know when your last breath will be. All these different wars or gender wars and all these different things that are going on right now that I see across social media and just a lot of hatred in general between races and all kinds of different things. I just said, “You know what? Just turn that corner and love people, respect people. Love them, create experiences, all those things, because you never know.”

One of the last memories I have is that we always cracked jokes when she was leaving me at the time. We prayed together and she had a smile on her face. I’m trying to remember what the joke was, but she cracked a joke and we laughed and she had a smile on her face. I didn’t know that that was the last time that I would get to see that smile. 

If I have any memory, that’s the greatest thing. I didn’t get to say bye but in a sense I did, because I prayed for and things like that. We cracked a joke, we smiled and told each other I love you. When we parted ways at that moment. I think that for me, comfort comes in at times because it’s not like we had some terrible argument or anything like that. 

It wasn’t a drag-out situation. Of these, I’ve seen some movies where the person they parted off of an argument and then someone gets in a tragic accident or something. Then they go through the entire movie regretting their whole life because they couldn’t take themselves out of the emotions that happen in the middle, maybe an argument. 

That’s one of those things I encourage a lot of people to do this petty stuff, I didn’t even work it out. It’s not. Cherish every moment you could cherish because you don’t know when that person is not going to be there or you don’t know if you could ever create that moment again. Those are the things that I hold on to. 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Isaac Byrd Jr. | Double Widower
Double Widower: Cherish every moment you can with the person you love. You do not know how long you will be with them or if you could ever create that moment again.

 

That is beautiful. I’d to echo what you said. We often hear people say, “You never know when it’s going to be the last day.” That is not a cliche. That is not, “Ha ha ha.” For real though, people say, “If something happens, we know it’s the reality of when something is going to happen.” 

I say it all the time. Life is going to happen. You can consider this life, and I was sharing that with someone recently too. I said, “Life is going to happen to you. It’s a matter of when.” Not on whether it’s going to, it’s just a matter of when. Your day might not be today, might not be next week, and not be three months from now but when you meet that, it’s going to happen. 

I was talking about that in general, even with death. I was saying that recently, and I think it was a personal conversation I was having with someone. They said they had lost someone and I said, “I know it hurts. Nobody likes it but it’s the natural evolution of life.” When I said that to them, they paused and they agree, “You know what? You’re right.” 

It made them look at it very differently. Natural evolution of life. You came into this world and you’re going to leave this world. It’s an evolution. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. When you look at it from that perspective, the question they had on their social media is, “Are you afraid to die?” I told them, “No.” I gave them a reason why I wasn’t and they were shocked at my answer and they inboxed me asking, “How do you do that?” 

Death is a part of the evolution of life. I said, “However, I also knew where I was going when I left, which is where the comfort came.” Now, I don’t want to leave here too early and I’m still enjoying life.

I want to raise my son and all. I have a daughter’s graduating high school here in a few short weeks. I want to be around for certain things, but death is an evolution of life. 

In that evolution, how did you cope? What did life look like for you after April 8, 2017? 

I’m going to get real with you all. 

This is called Real Talk, so we’d appreciate it. 

This is the only way I can be. I need people to understand how real this is even for a man and just in general, the thoughts that go through your mind. The first thing is we were a blended family. The older daughter at the time, outside of my biological daughter, took care of her niece. She was a guardian to her niece, whom she raised as our daughter. 

The hardest part of that was telling a 14-year-old child, the mother that she knew was gone, that in itself would break anybody down. Immediately the next day, I’m just there because I am still in disbelief. I didn’t sleep. I’m on our floor and I said, “God, I don’t have nowhere else to go. I don’t have anybody else to lean on. I have never thought I would ever be here.”

Not at least this early, I was 35 at the time. I said, “God help a brother out. You are going to have to tell me something.” Again, this is how I pray a lot of times. A lot of people think they are extra holy. Yes, I still reverence God. However, I prayed to him like, “God, listen, I don’t know what this is going to be and how this is going to go. I don’t have anything, I don’t have anybody else.” 

“Part of the things that I know is that there’s a purpose in my life, there are things I’m supposed to do and I’m not supposed to do that alone. I can’t be in this condition for a very long time. I don’t know how that’s going to look. I don’t know when you’re going to change this whole situation, but my life can’t fall completely apart right now and I need you to help me.” That was my prayer the next day. I’ll never forget it. 

There’s so much in that one. The idea is that you turn to God instead of away from God. Oftentimes in grief, people don’t want to interact with God. For you to speak from your heart as far as what you knew for your life to be versus what that current situation is. The idea of still having hope of an existence and a fulfilled purpose that you spoke about existed, but yet still being in disbelief and devastation and all those together intertwined. 

This is the thing that I’ve always shared with people. At that very moment when she took her last breath, the thing that I remember is what I’ve learned my entire life when it came to the Word of God and being a Christian and identifying with God’s Word and studying and all of those things. All of that word, the word of God says, hide the word in your heart. All of it became real at that moment. 

Not that I didn’t lean on the word before or the word of God wasn’t real to me. All those years of ingesting scripture became real to me when I had nobody, nothing else. The world as I knew it, crumbled. The only thing I had was God because I have never been here, but you’ve been here because you sent your son. You’ve been here because you were there to awaken Lazarus. You’ve been here. I don’t know that. 

Now, I need you to help me because I have nothing else because nobody I know around me has ever lost a spouse. I’m 35 years old. Who am I going to call to ask that? I can’t call my parents. Both of my parents were still alive at that point. I can’t call my sister. She still has her husband right now. I have no friends to call. I am not got nobody. Who else am I going to call? 

You mentioned scripture and God. What are you reading that’s giving you and telling you what God is saying? What does that show up? Just in general. What is a book that you’re reading that is giving you this word of God? I’m not making assumptions that anybody’s reading this is understanding where you’re getting your effort. I want to be clear. 

I got you. For me, it is the Bible. It is the word of God. It is the holy scriptures. 

 

Interacting With God And Others

Someone whose spouse has died and they’re the total opposite. They don’t even want to hear what God is saying. Have you interacted or engaged with somebody? How did you share what you were experiencing versus how they were seeing it? 

I think I have, I have experienced with people that even if it wasn’t their spouse but their parents or whatever the case is, and I’ve always shared with them that I’m a very honest person with people when it comes to God and the relationship because faith is a very difficult thing for a lot of people. I find it very easy. I don’t understand how God made me that.

I find it very easy to believe in the Lord and believe in Him beyond most people. My faith level is very high. Everybody is not that way. What I share with people is that it’s okay that you’re upset with God right now because those emotions are real. However, if you let Him in, He will give you peace if you are willing to ask Him for it and willing to go to the very peacemaker or the very person who is of peace. He is the man of truth and peace and love. If you go to him, he will give it to you. 

If you put yourself in that position to be vulnerable for it, he will love you through it and you won’t understand. The peace that surpasses all understanding, that scripture is real to me. It’s beyond real to me but I can’t tell you, I have no answers to how I live life every day. I tell anybody, I should be bumping my head up against the wall and a padded room, hugging myself based upon the things that life has dealt me. I got a poker face.

The question that I was going to ask you was, how are you still smiling? How are you still happy? We haven’t even talked about your widow or journey after she died, but we know that there’s a part to do that since you mentioned that, how are you smelling? It sounds as if you still have hope, you still have expectations for a good life. You have not allowed this to swallow everything in your existence. 

The only reason why I have hope is because I understand that it’s obvious I still have purpose here. I may not understand exactly all of that purpose. I do understand part of it. Part of it is that I have to live my life publicly for other people. Part of my purpose is that regardless of how life crumbles for you or falls apart or whatever your heart’s ripped out of your chest, you can still live life and move on. 

When people hear about it, I’ve gone through very public widower space on both occasions and people have questions and they are like, “I don’t think I’d be able to do that.” Neither did I. I didn’t think that either, but here we are. You can choose to be stuck in grief and all the stages that go along with it or you can choose to move forward. 

Understand those emotions are real. You’re going to deal with them, deal with them when they come, but don’t stay there. I’ve always been a half-glass-full person. I’m always been an optimist, never a pessimist and because I’m that person, I don’t do well in sorrow and despair for very long. Do I cry? Absolutely. Do I have the times when I don’t want to deal with anything or anybody? 

Have I had times where I asked, “God, for real, why?” “Why do you do this?” “For real why did you let this happen to me?” “Why did I have to lose all of this?” “Why did that part of my life fall apart?” “Why did I have to go through this?” “Why do I feel I’m being cheated out of certain things?” I don’t understand it all. I still don’t. However, I’m still here. My name means laughter. Let’s just start there. I am the Isaac of the Bible. My mother wasn’t supposed to have any children after my sister. They prayed to God and asked for me, I’m a miracle. That being said, I lived a miracle life. 

 

Darkest Moments Of Grief

Even in that, when you think of Shmeka’s passing, what were some of your darkest moments in that grieving process? 

That cold feeling in a house without anybody. That cold feeling. The darkest parts were just, you start to run through your life together. You start to think, “Did I do certain things right?” “Was I a good husband?” “Was I a good father?” All of those things.  All of those thoughts come through your head. All of the darkest moments are just things that I thought about that happened or transpired between us as a couple. I screwed up there. “Could I have made that better, maybe she would have been here still.” 

There are all kinds of things that go through your head. You think about those things and then you think about, “We were planning to do this and that, but now she is gone.” That’s gut-wrenching and it hurts. It hurts beyond any words that you can describe because it’s just a very bottomless pit in your stomach. It is like, “What is life going to be now?” Trying to figure that out and then decided to get up to do something different. 

In that part there, we say those words and you mentioned we decide to not be stuck, we decide all those things. What does that action look like? What were those actual steps? What was something that transpired that was that shifting of not being stuck for you? 

One of the things that I did quite regularly. One of my former pastors at the time, I stayed at his house for about two or three weeks after she passed. Being in their house was very peaceful. It provided me with an escape from the world. It provided me with prayer in a different form because not only this is a pastor that I served for years, but he and his wife and his family. I was under intense care during that time. 

I didn’t have to think about bills or anything but just, Hey, come here. Your room is here. They’ve prayed over this room. This room is used for pastors, prophets, or whatever. They use this room specifically for healing or an escape for people. That room was just full of peace. I got good sleep during that time and they just gave me a jumpstart. The other part for me, as you said before, I ran to God and not away from God because I have nobody else. 

Even the pastor that I stayed with. He and his wife are still married right now. He didn’t know what that felt like, but he was present. I think that the most important part is he was present. His first lady was present and every day I literally ran to the altar and just laid on it. I did and I would just cry for hours. Then I’d get up and go out about my day during that time. 

It jump-started me into Uber and lifting. When she first died, I couldn’t sleep obviously. That’s a big thing. Insomnia becomes a thing. I would drive around the city of Jacksonville, Florida all night, and find a bench somewhere. I would go to where I asked her to marry me and I would sit on a bench. I probably still have the picture somewhere. 

I believe that there was a light from heaven that was not there any other time when I asked her to marry me, it was this light that shone from the sky down onto me and her. It was only there for that time. It was very divine. And.

I would go there after driving around and I would just sit there at that spot for hours on end until I would get tired enough. Then I would go back to Bishop’s house and I would crawl in bed for however many hours and then get up. I would just be busy all day and then do it all over again. At one point I thought that since I was driving around wasting gas, I started Ubering. I Ubered and Lyft. That’s how I started on that journey at one point. I would do that all night. That’s how I got into Uber and Lyft. 

 

Going Back To Dating

How do we go from that to dating and getting married?

I don’t even know when the transition happened because I wasn’t interested. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’m ever getting married again.  

At this point, you’ve been married twice.

I’ve been married twice at that point. My initial thought was, “I am not doing this again.” I tell everybody, “Oh no, you don’t want to get married again.” That’s going to be your initial thought. am not nobody loses the day sponsored, be like, “I can’t wait to get married again.” Not what you’re thinking. I promise you it is not a thought.

Especially if you had a bad marriage and then you had a good one. It’s we’re going to call it up, We’re going to rock it safely right here. We are good. 

I like going out on time. I’ve been a champion all my life. I tell that to anybody. I got rings. I got trophies. I’ve been a champion for real and I’m like, “I don’t know if we’re going to bet it.” I initially was like, “No.” How’d I turn that corner? It went back to that prayer. First prayer I said, “God, what I know you want me to do, can’t do it alone and I am not going to be able to sit here. You know what kind of man I am. 

I tell people that the single life is trash. These people say, “I’m excited that they love being single.” I feel like a fish out of water. How that started was through friendship and I wasn’t expecting it. Part of that was, and this is how I ended up meeting my last wife, through widow, widowerhood, or we met under those. 

Crazy enough story. I know it makes sense, but the story is very important. Her brother and I served another pastor in many, and we’ve been around ministry around the city of Jacksonville before. Her brother and I were friends, he’s a musician too and other stuff and he’s a pastor. Long story short, when my late wife lost her husband, my then-wife at the time, Shmeka, and I were at the service the next day after the funeral. 

This is where it gets interesting. We pray for this woman. We prayed over her and all that service and comfort for the loss of her husband, not knowing that I would experience the same thing about six months later. We reconnected, and I called her brother. I said, “Could you ask your sister a question for me about sleep?” 

Number one, she’s young, I’m young, and she’s the closest person in any type of circle that I’m in that can give me some understanding of how are you doing life outside of losing your spouse. He said, “Sure. I’ll ask her.” The conversation for those of you who love the DMs started on Facebook.  I know, “Sips tea.” right? I went into her DMs on Facebook and I said, “How are you doing? Hope all is well.” I just dug in, “How do you sleep at night?” “How do you deal with the insomnia?” That’s how we started. 

What was the timeline from the death of your wife to when that conversation started? 

I’d say about two and a half to three months. 

But this was a conversation just reaching out to someone else who had lost a spouse. How do you cope? You started creating a community with the first person closest that you knew because you needed a blueprint. 

Yes, because I had no answers. Again, I got nobody to call on. All of my friends are married. They are all like, “We don’t know what to do with you.” Consequently, for those of you who are reading, let me help you out. I’m a very real person. You’re going to lose friends.

No, not always. I’m going to say no. No, I have not lost a single friend but most of the time, you are right, it is a majority story. I will say that. I just wanted to point that out. 

I’m just saying, that I’m not trying to be doom and gloom, but there are going to be some people that you expect to be there for you that probably will disappoint you. 

To that point, I will say that it’s true, but when that happened, I had to instantly think, who did I know how to be there for them? I learned something on the journey of losing my husband. I had no emotional bandwidth to show up for anybody. I didn’t have the capacity. I knew how to just understand it was sad, but the level in which I know now, made me relieve people, “Why would they have shown up? They didn’t know how.” 

Their ability to do that was limited but you are right, the majority of people that I speak with, they lose friends, they lose interactions for a multitude of reasons. Some people can’t handle the sadness. The grieving person does not often know how to convey what they’re feeling. People ask, “What can I do for you?” 

My spouse died. You just gave me something else on my to-do list. Jump in and just do something that you see I need. Come cut the grass, come wash the dishes, drop me off a food cart. That part is super difficult and you’re already at your low point. This is not when you need people to start running away, but you’re right, it is a common thing that people experience and it’s sad. 

I wasn’t trying to be negative about it. 

I was just being funny. 

I know but to your point, I agree. You don’t know what you need. I think my biggest thing is that people who have eaten at my table, people that I’ve possibly, in some cases, employed, and people that I’ve had what I would consider a covenant-level relationship with, and people who said they are going to do things and they didn’t. It was disappointing on top of what I was already dealing with. 

 

It is extremely disappointing when the people whom you have a covenant-level relationship with fail to do the things they have promised to do. Share on X

 

It’s that statement, “If you need anything, just let me know.” That statement. People should not say that. 

I had a whole conversation with someone. They called me and said, “What do you need?” This was in the most recent loss of my wife. I was like, “I could I need some more formula.” This was my son was very young at the time. We’ll get into that. They never called me back and I never called them. 

You got a limited exposure. It’s like, “I don’t have enough emotional bandwidth to give you that and I still have to deal with what I’m dealing with.” You mentioned your son. Is your son from your most recent wife who passed? 

Yes.

Her passing in the timeline to his birth, what did that look like? 

Roughly two and a half weeks. 

 

Second Widower Journey

What do you do in finding yourself here again? Because you’ve been very clear, “God, I need a partner.” And what you think you need is gone again. 

We met through the common space of being widows. I needed someone to share with me. This is where I get squirrely with dudes and men, I’ll say men, who have a hard time listening to women because I learned a ton of things from her. Number one, I learned a lot about the brain and how neurons fire and all of these different things because that girl is quite intelligent.

I will tell anybody that my wife was smarter than me. No problem with saying that. The rest of you are all to be walking around here with your chest poked out and all egotistical and that somebody can’t be smarter than you. That doesn’t mean I still didn’t leave my household or anything. Doesn’t mean I had to fight with her because I didn’t, but she was smarter than me. She taught me a routine when it came to sleeping and how to get to a space where you walk your brain down a path for you to be able to rest and all of those things. 

When I would forget things, she would be the first person to say, “Isaac, it is all right, you’ve been through a lot. You’ve been through something very traumatic. Your neurons aren’t firing the way that they normally would because of the trauma. You may have to be extra diligent about writing things down to keep yourself together.” Seem to always run into these women who are very good at administration. 

God brings you what you need. 

Yes, because I can tell you right now, listen, I can do it. I’m a visionary, I can see the end from the beginning. And the beginning and the end. I don’t necessarily know all the pieces in the middle. Somebody for me is always the person that can fit those parts together. I think that’s just how God has always wired me. She made that part on how to get sleep and all those and be able to rest and all those things. That was what our friendship ended up starting. 

I remember us talking about it because we used to talk about telling our kids and our grandkids how we met. We’re going to tell them our first date is this. I gave this story on TikTok. I used somebody else’s example, or I stitched a video or something. It’s way down my TikTok page somewhere. People try to tell me that wasn’t a first date.

If my wife was still alive, she would tell you and you would tell her she was wrong. We had stated this particular day was our first date because up until this point, we were friends. On our first date, we ran into each other at Walmart. She was still out of work after having had surgery and we ran into each other at Walmart and I asked, “You want to go have lunch? Let’s go over to Nukes.” 

The Nukes is a place that has good salads. We go over there. This is going to tie into my gift as a seer and someone who sees God will show me dreams and then I walk through them. Now with that being said, I don’t always see the people in the dream, but I do usually get the scenery, maybe a building or whatever. I might not know all of the details.

I have walked through several of my dreams in my lifetime. This is one of them. We’re sitting at the table. Now this came from just running into her at Walmart, asking her to go to lunch, we were together for eight hours. We sat there until they almost closed, we ate lunch and we sat there and we talked. In the middle part of our conversation, I did this and I said, “I’ve been here before.” That would be the day that we had a turning point. That’s when I said, I’m not in that moment, but we need to have a conversation because this is not normal. 

Are we in 2018 at this point? 

I think it was still 2017. I’m sitting there in that thing, and I noticed the guy right there with his son at the counter. That lady over there and that couple sitting at the table were there. I didn’t know who was sitting across from me, but now I do. That’s how vivid my dream is.

Do you recall the timeline from that dream to when it transpired? Same year, months? 

No. Years. A lot of my dreams. Just me walking with my son holding his hand, just me and him, years.

When you get married. You were thinking this is for the long game. This person I’m going to stay married to. We’re going to grow old together. This is going to be the redemption story. This is where it’s going to turn around. I would envision there is a lot of hope and expectation and fulfillment and what this looks like. How long were you married? 

We just celebrated our second anniversary. 

Celebrated our second anniversary. You just had a child. 

Yes, her prayer was first, but our prayer was to give me at least a year with my husband before we have a child. Then my son, now let’s put a pause right there, this little thing. God promised me a son years prior, like a dream or a vision. As I said, I’ve seen a picture of my son and I walking together, holding hands. He’s a toddler now. 

That was before meeting Shmeka. Now did we try to have a child? Yes. That was the vision of me or the promise of having a son before her. Now, here we are. I’m with Renae and we get our year together. We worked for our child. That was a plan. It was a lot of practice. We put a lot of work in. You ladies had an app, I was shared on the app. I knew exactly what time and when. We were at that level. She lost 35 pounds, I lost 40.

 

Differences In Grieving

How did you grieve Renae differently than Shmeka? 

That was very different. It was very different because we just had a son. How I grieved her was very different. I wasn’t as going to God as I was before. I didn’t forget him, but that blow was so heavy that I didn’t know what to say to him. Even though he knows our moans and our groans, he stores up our tears, all those things are real.

I said, “God, I thought, you said, grow old together.” We had all these plans and visions and here we are again but not only are we in here again, this promised child is here. He hasn’t even got a chance to touch his mother. Not only that, I’m out here by myself. We’re in the middle of a world pandemic and I’m just supposed to just move on. I have to make sure I take care of him.

At the same time, while grieving his mother is no longer here. I have no answers. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know why she is not here. I can’t understand any part of it. I’m in a state of loss and confusion, but a blow to my gut. It is like Mike Tyson just knocked me out and I did not get up and I got a broken jaw. I got broken ribs. I am.

beat to the street. I am not got nothing, I can’t say nothing. I have nothing to say. Now I got to plan funerals, I still got to work, and I got to take care of an infant by myself. I can’t have people around. At this time, my immediate family, or my parents still live in Baltimore. My bonus parents live in the same city, but we have to limit the level of contact that we have. Again, I’m here with me and God because I got nobody. Now I have a child. I’m a single father. Reality is real. My son is already home now. 

A week later, his mother passed away. I’m trying to figure it out. I am lost. Now up until that point, was very hopeful and prayerful. Talking every day about some of the things or our last conversation together. I never knew that would be our last conversation, we had talked about breastfeeding and different things like that. I remember us talking about it and when she had to be in the hospital with our son, the last conversation that we had, she had just awakened. 

We were talking and the NICU at the time, you can do visuals. Of course, I’m taking pictures and videos. We talked about this and this was our thing. She didn’t want feeding time to be only her. I do hear a lot of conversation around that. Women who have children, a lot of times don’t include men or the fathers in the feeding time. 

That’s when you tell me and you’re referring exclusively to women who are nursing.

In general, a lot of times, when you hear from men, when their children are born, in most cases, A lot of women take on the responsibility of that nurturing. I understand why, but particularly the majority of women from what I can see and just what I visualize are not intentional about saying, “I want you to also take part in this bonding time of feeding.” 

My wife was very, very big on that. One of our last conversations was she was like, “My God, you guys are right there feeding him.” Those are the memories I can hold onto. That was a blow that I don’t have any answers to. It’s still very difficult as I go through these different milestones with my son right now. I’m here. In a lot of ways, there are still things even with my therapist, and we’ve had these conversations. I’m like, “God, for real?” I’m not mad at him. 

I think part of it is I just don’t understand why he has to not have his mom. I couldn’t have thought of anybody more deserving of being a mother. She was one of the things that she wanted to be. She’s already been. She was a mom. She got him here. I hold on to that but I ask why couldn’t she still be around. 

What year did Renae transition from this world?

September 6, 2020. 

 

TikTok And Introvert

What drew you to TikTok? 

Oddly enough, we used to laugh at TikTok. We were like, we don’t need to get on there. There’s a bunch of people doing dances and stuff. That was what it was initially about but loneliness drew me to TikTok. It created a community for me because we’re in a pandemic, we’re all in the house, very little contact with the outside world. Although, contrary to belief, I am very much an introvert in a lot of aspects or just in general. “Don’t do that.” I know here’s the thing. 

You’re talking about in-person. You are an introvert? If I came through your neighborhood you’d be like, “No, we are not doing this in person.” What does introvert look like for you? I am so confused. 

Everybody’s confused when I say that. Naturally my personality and just in general, I’m cool with being the guy who sits over in the corner. I don’t have to be the center of attention. I’m not a fan of it. However, God has always put me in front of people. my gifting and music and things that have required me to be in front of people. Let me explain something to you. For those that don’t understand, a lot of creative people are great on stage or do things, we don’t necessarily like it. 

That’s fair. When that moment is over. To that point, I think the words introvert and extrovert are misunderstood. An introvert from my studies, you gain your energy internally. You don’t need exterior forces to stimulate you. You can show up in outside spaces, but your strength is inward. And I can relate to that. I can hang out with people and do stuff, but at the same time, I can stay in the house for three days, not take a shower, and do nothing. I am not going to talk to anybody. 

I’m fine with me with a book. I don’t need other people’s stimulants to recharge me. I need time alone. I can show up in spaces. When I hear introvert in that regard, that resonates with me because I prefer to recharge independently of other people. That’s what I hear when I say that. But for people to think introvert means you probably don’t want to be by yourself, you can go ahead and check out Isaac then you all message me and tell me what your assessment is, what he’s saying over here. 

I like people and I enjoy people, but I have a people quota. Again, because of my space in the music world and my career, it requires me to be in front of people. I can’t necessarily just disappear. Now, if you want to be theoretical, I did disappear. I hadn’t been on stage until last year after my wife passed. I stopped posting on Instagram, and all that stuff.

I had a son and life was very different, but did I miss doing music because music is not for me? My gift in music has nothing to do with me. I just happened to be the vessel that was bringing it to the earth. What I do musically is give to people listening to good music and things that help them have peaceful things or set the mood for their evening, riding down the road or whatever. Music for me is a gift to be given. For me, I do that because that’s part of who I am as a purpose for me. Outside of that, I’m Gucci over here. 

 

Music is a gift to be given. Share on X

 

Alone Time, Golf, And Math Nerd

What nurtures your soul? What feeds your soul? What strengthens you? 

My alone time is cool, but I’d rather be alone with someone. That’s a real thing which is where the single life is very difficult. I don’t have to be out doing a bunch of stuff. Some people will say that they got to do this and every weekend they got to go do something. No, I don’t have to do that. Give me somebody I can hang with. 

That was the thing about being Renae. We were best friends, for real best friends. Like hanging out, I can be around that girl 24 hours a day. We never argued. Did we have disagreements? Every relationship has disagreements. Never screamed at each other, never cussed at each other, none of that.

There was never a time that we disagreed, nor that she ever disrespected me publicly or anything that or vice versa, she never raised her voice at me. 

She always honored me in a way that I’ve never even experienced. It’s very high regard and I respect that. That was one of the greatest relationships I’ve ever been in and it was the greatest. I find strength in my love of golf. One of my most peaceful places, if you find me on the golf course and people know me, I love golf. love it a lot. 

I would say that I was sitting retired for a little bit. I did have this one point where I didn’t work a full-time job and I was just doing music and I was out performing. I could hit the golf course two or three times a week. That was great because this is what the CEOs feel like. That is how they roll. Golf is one of my favorite things to do. Nature, the concentration requires. 

If people know anything about me, when I get involved with something, I’m involved. I’m not like, “It’s half of it.” “It’s just the fellowship with the guys, here let’s drink a couple of drinks.” “Let’s take out the shots.” No, a brother competes. I join tournaments. I was on a couple of amateur tours locally, I’m in leagues. I don’t just do stuff. Ages ago I was trying to go pro bowl because I was bowling so much and winning different stuff. I was that into it. I still have five or six bowls of balls. When I say I’m a nut bag about this stuff, my golf clubs are custom to my style of play. 

When you are in it, you are in it win it when you do stuff. 

Yes. Musically is the same way. I have everything that I could ever want to work with that I can explore. 

Let me ask you this, publicly on stage performing music, very vocal on your TikTok, hosting different lives. What is something that people don’t know about Isaac? 

I want to say recently. I did something on my TikTok that people coming in. I’m a math nerd. A lot of people don’t understand that. A lot of people don’t know that I have quirky encyclopedia-level knowledge of certain stuff that just doesn’t make any sense why I know that, but it’ll come up in a conversation. 

We can be out in a social situation and having drinks or something and we’ll be discussing something. I’d say things and people would ask, “Why do that?” I was the kid that watched Jeopardy. I was on the academic team in high school, similar to Jeopardy. A lot of people wouldn’t know that I love chess. The numbers thing is a big deal for me. Chess, a lot of people wouldn’t have a clue. 

 

Dating Today

Are you dating now?

I am out and have been active in the dating world. That’s been interesting. 

What does dating look like for you now in comparison to young guys? 

Let’s say it was very different. Dating now is very interesting. A lot of people have a lot of entitlement attitudes. A lot of people don’t know what they want. A lot of people talk of a good game, but they don’t know and they don’t know how to execute it. That can sound somewhat judgmental from my perspective, but having walked through a space, I know what I want to do in life and I know I can’t do it alone, I move in a certain space of how to do that. 

Seeing people say, “If you are not making this amount of money, then you can’t even talk to me.” “If you don’t look this certain way, then you can’t talk to me.” “If you’re not trying to take me on these level of trips, then you can’t talk to me.” I’d be like, “All of you sound a little crazy.” Yes, the Cheesecake Factory. First of all, the cheesecake is good. Let’s just start there. Nobody says that date loaf is a blessing.

I’ve been going to the Cheesecake Factory since high school. The night of prom, we all went to Cheesecake Factory, because that was a big dollar back then. When I look at the dating world and have walked into it, it’s very different now. It’s very different because I have a toddler. That goes to the thing about whether I get married again, or because I’ve always dated with the purpose of marriage. I’ve never dated just to be dating. First of all, I don’t even know how that works. Let’s just talk about that. 

You’re asking me questions now? 

I want to ask you no questions. I just wanted to put that out there. I don’t even know how that works for people. People would be like, “I just, just to be dating.” There are people that I follow on TikTok and I follow them for many different reasons, but I’m curious how they go out with so many different people and expect to become or get into something long-term when they’re entertaining so many different people. 

Now, as intelligent as I am, and still seeking knowledge, There is no way. I tell people, I could never be a player. First of all, I wouldn’t be raised that way, but I do not have it in me. What I’m not going to do is go out with Tina and then be over here with whoever. Tina likes sunflowers, she likes roses, now I brought you a set of orchids and you are upset. I do not have time for that. 

You’re not texting 25 women, “Hey baby.” “Good morning sweetie.” “Good morning queen.” 

I am not doing all that, I do not have the time. It’s too many. I can’t do it. I don’t know how people do it. I’ll be like, “You all are asking for yourself to fail. For me, I am comfortable with getting settled with one person. 

That needs to be thick, classy, and attentive. Those are my notes. Make sure I threw those in there. You would get married again? 

Yes. Marriage is on the table. This is what came for me. This is a very real part of the conversation. Again, I had to come to space because everybody’s journey as a widower or widow is very different once they become single. I tell anybody, let’s just be real. Just cause I don’t have a wife doesn’t mean I don’t have to do certain things, adulting. It doesn’t mean that kind of stuff like you don’t get any urges anymore to be in the comfort or arms of a woman. It gets way worse if you ask me once you lose someone. Go for a healthy relationship in your marriage, a healthy sexual relationship, and then all of a sudden it’s done.

Sex is not the only reason to get married for you. 

No, but I’m just saying those are real parts of it. 

We can use that word in this podcast. We can use the word sex. 

Yes, but it’s the real parts of it. For me, one of the more fulfilling things is cuddling and stuff like that. 

You talk of that human touch, that intimacy when you are used to being touched, just caressed. We’re not on TikTok live. You’re not going to get a banana for saying anything. 

What I’m saying. People talk about touching being a love language and I’m like, yes, that went out the door about a year after my wife passed because we loved on each other so much. I was still good. After a year, My god, I need somebody to hug me. I am used to cuddling and being on the couch. I would fall asleep there most of the time. 

She got mad with me because of the movie, The Accountant, if you’ve never seen it, go see it. I’m sure you can find it on any Netflix. Anyway, long story short, this is when we were still still in that before friends and crossing over into a relationship thing. I fell asleep on her thigh and I guess I had seen it already, but somehow in the middle of my nap, I got up and told her what happened at the end and then went back to sleep. 

You are a spoiler? You’re that kind of person? I’m putting this on your notes. 

It wasn’t that I was that person. It just happened. I don’t know that I would. 

Now you walking and talking to sleep and you’re not responsible for your actions. Is that what you’re going with? 

I don’t even know. I got it, that was a good story and it was told about me all the time. When it comes to the dating world, when I first got out into the dating world again, I went through that god-awful dating app. 

I met my husband on a dating app. It’s hard. There were a lot of problems. 

I’m not completely ruling them out. 

I’ll give you some dating apps. Later we can talk. 

I will say I use the round number of a hundred I’m going to give you that for a reason. I probably have, I would say, either swiped or interacted of some sort. I will use the number of at least 100 women over time. Out of all of them, only one remains as far as contact is concerned. 

That’s fair because you talked about people’s interactions during dating. A lot of that, is what you see on social media, how people are showing up, and what they think relationships look like but how do you drop the, “I’m a widower twice and been married” in the dating app? What does that look like? At what point does that show up? How does that land when you present it? 

You are all about to get a couple of stories. How that looks is people say things like, “Did you kill them?” 

Are they texting or in person when they say that? 

Texting.

People show up differently when texting than they would in your face. 

I know. That person in particular tried to say, “I have a dark humor.” I politely said to them, that it is one of the most insensitive things you could ever say to a person and I said, “Do me a favor. Never say that to anyone else in your life.” I use it as a teachable moment and this comes back to the control, your passion that my father used to say, because as much as I wanted to rip her apart, what was I going to do? It is not going to change anything. 

She would have been like, “See? Dudes out here can’t control their emotions”. You’re not going to get the satisfaction. What that did was she exited herself out. She said, “You know what? I am disrespectful.” She blocked herself. She went away. She said, “I am so sorry.” I don’t even want to try to do anything with you because I can’t even stand next to a person like you, and she left. 

The initial was I was about to give her a straight-up child city. I was about to let her have it, but I didn’t. That’s one way it shows up in the conversation. People ask you, “Have you ever been married before?” or “How did your last relationship end?” I said, “My wife passed away and they were like, “I’m sorry to hear that thing.” Depending on how long or where the conversation goes, we’ll get into the details of how many I’ve been married before. All of those things have come up in situations. 

You make a point. This is more advice, for a widow or a widower that’s dating. Is there a systematic way of when you say this how you don’t, or when you give in that? You are single, even though you’re single by being a widow, and when you want to divulge that or how has that been for you as far as when that comes up? 

This is very early on. I’ve even done it in the app. I’ve even done it in a dating app. 

Your dating profile says widower.

I think I did have it when I had my profiles. I don’t have any profiles anymore but when I did, I did have it in there. Sometimes I didn’t, I think on one, I might’ve not, or  I think I was testing what was given or not given or did I get more success with this profile versus that one because I had that in there? Some people for some odd reason, think you’re going to compete with a dead person. “You can’t replace her.” “You can’t be her.” 

I’ve had to have that kind of conversation. I said, “You’re not her. You could never be her. Stop talking about her as if you’re going to be in her shadow. You’re not.” Now, do I have a child that resembles her in the best parts of us? Absolutely. Now, do you think you can get rid of her as far as memories are concerned? The answer is no. She will always be somewhere in the picture in a reverence space because that’s his mother. If you can’t handle that, then we’re not a good fit. 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Isaac Byrd Jr. | Double Widower
Double Widower: Do you think you can get rid of her as far as memories are concerned? No. She will always be somewhere in the picture in a reverence space.

 

Ideal Woman

What type of woman is a good fit for Isaac? 

A believer in Christ. That’s where a lot of people fall short because I’m not bending on that. Ten toes down. That’s what it is. For me, marriage is the end goal. I don’t just date, just to be gay. I’ve never done that. When I first got out there, I was like, “We got to step our toe back out here because we need to at least interact with women because we like them. That’s what we like. 

This is the conversation I have internally. I was giving you all the inside of my brain. This is what we like. We still like the touch of women. We like all of that. When I stepped my toe back out, toe in the water, I said, “Okay.” Initially, I was like, I was very fenced. It wasn’t off the table completely, but I was like, “Do I want to experience this again because I’ve already experienced it twice now.” That’s a very real thing. it was the first time was already one thing, but two, and I only wanted to make somebody else a widow. That’s a whole thought too. I only want to make somebody else that pain because they were, we were doing life together and then now I’m not here. 

Isn’t that what we’re committing to when we make these vows? We don’t see that, but that is how a relationship goes. That’s the successful relationship story. 

It is. Let’s just be real. We all romanticize the fact that we think we’re going to be here forever and you don’t want to think about that side of it. Now as a person has been through it twice, but even before that twice, it becomes real when you talk to a person, especially if you’re getting serious, you start to ask that question or you give them that conversation. 

I don’t have an issue with, “Listen, if I were to leave this early before you do. Don’t sit around and wait or leave your life. Now, if you choose to stay by yourself, that’s your business but don’t think that’s honoring me in some way. If you’re still here and you still want to enjoy life, please do that. And if there’s someone that wants to do it with you, go ahead and do that.” 

 

Questions For Tina

You’re talking about having real conversations when you’re married, what life looks and all those things. Speaking of questions, I’ve asked you quite a bit. Any questions for me? I’ll flip it a little bit, and give you an opportunity. 

I vaguely remember, but I think you told me how I got connected with you seeing your story. I was like, “Aha, she got married again.” You were married for 20-plus years, weren’t you? 

Mark and I were married for 29 years. 

Now, that is the question for me. How did that turn around for you? I didn’t even crack five years on either relationship. 29 years and didn’t decide to do it. I’m the first widower in the family. When my father passed away, my Mom had these candid conversations here and there. I asked her, “Mom, what’s your feeling? Do you think you’re ever dating again?” This was at least over a year after my dad passed. My mom said, “I am not getting married again.” I expect that she was with my dad from the time she was 19. 

My husband and I together since I was 18. We met in the military. But how old was your mom when your dad passed? 

My mom, how old was she? She’ll be 67. So she was 65 when my Dad died.

I have seen widows in their 80s when they got remarried. It blows my mind. But for-

That’s what she said. 

Everybody says what they say when they say it, but you’re allowed to change his mind later. 

Yes, she changed her mind. I said, “Do you think you’ll date?” She replied, “I’ll probably date again but as far as marriage, no.” I doubt it because she’s pretty set for when it comes to lifestyle and stuff like that. Again, you and I know that might change given different circumstances and you meet someone. 

My lifestyle is set up and fine. My husband in the second year of our marriage, we had that real conversation. What does it look like when one of us is not here and we set that other person up to be fine? They didn’t have to need another person for their existence. We made that plan. I’ve seen widows get married very quickly because they didn’t have the financial ability to maintain themselves. 

Coupling was essential. I wasn’t driven by that reason and when I came to the place, I was hanging out with a friend and they have, they’ve been single, they’re in their forties and I put a glass down and they moved it right away because I didn’t put it where it was supposed to be. I was like, “Okay, Tina, how long before you lived in this life where you forgot to make space for somebody else in your world?”

When you’re interacting and doing everything yourself, you have your way of doing stuff. I said, “Do you want to make space for somebody else in your life? I’ve been in a lot of prayers, a lot of self-soul searching, and saying, “I do have space for somebody else.” I had that conversation with my husband about when we were not here, that I want you to continue living. 

Continuing living doesn’t always mean recoupling. If that’s something you want to do, I want you to have joy. Mark and I spoke about that. I knew we were okay with that conversation. He told me, “I want you to get remarried.” My children heard that conversation because we have adult children. A lot is going on but I said, “God, how are we going to get there though? I’ve been with this man for 32 years.”

I am not going to do it. I have expectations of how a relationship is going to go. I need monogamy. I need commitment. I need truth. I need communication. We do have to have the same faith. After 32 years, the sister will go out single. I’m not trying to get raggedy on the end because I was thirsty. We don’t need to do that.

There was a lot of swiping left. A lot of this doesn’t make any sense. The first date I went on with Fred, we met, we had been talking on Zoops, and I said, “I’m tired of people telling me they six feet and I’m looking at the top of their head and I’m five nine.” I need people to show up how they say they are. I’m 5’9. I’m not wearing heels. 

Listen, that is why my statement is what it is. That is good. 

My late husband and I were the same height. I’m wearing heels now, you need to be six foot to get on this ride, that’s just the way it works and nothing else. Now on the opposite end, my husband was intimate two to three times a week, he died, and I dried up. There was no feeling, there wasn’t any thirstiness going on. I thought I was ready to become a nun. I guess, I am not going to be an escort out on these streets. All right, thank you, Lord. I appreciate you for saving me.

I have no face whatsoever.

I talked to widows now. It did not hit but on our first date, I stood up and hugged him and I said to myself, “We’re back.” On that very first date, we sat down and talked for hours. It was so organic and easy and natural. It has been that way for five years. I could not make that happen. 

I think that’s the thing that makes it wonderful 

I love, I still love Mark today. Now I’m going to tell you. Fred and I are getting ready to get married. And someone asked me about names. I never thought about changing my last name. We’re out eating. I asked him, “What do you think about my last name?” “What do you mean?” “We’re about to get married.” He said, “Your children would not have a parent in this world with the same last name if you changed your name. Why would you do that?” 

I said, “If there was any doubt, this man knows him up.” He said, “I don’t care about that. You love me and we’re going to be married. What that looks like and everything. That’s irrelevant but you ought to be changed your name anyway, that’d be complicated.” I said, “You don’t have to say that. You could have left it at my children had been all cute.” 

No, we got to put that down there. It’s got to be a joke. 

It was, but I could not have imagined it because that’s what I thought was like. God, I’ve been with Mark for 32 years, touching another man’s hand, somebody kissing me, making love to me. Did I cry the first time we made love? I did, because I said to myself, “Mark is really dead. I am out here.” I got up the other day earlier than Fred to get a cup of coffee and I was downstairs. I said, “He has left this world and I have a whole nother life. Wow.” 

I think that’s what people don’t realize is that those real internal conversations still happen. As you said, Now, I got into the dating world, I interacted with all these women but part of that is how only one of them remains. As far as being in my life still, you’re at a different stage of life where I still have a child and I am full-time with it at home. If I’m going to bring a woman into our space, they have to be okay with being maternally involved and be a Mommy to my son. Part of my decision-making for wanting to get married again is because I understand the balance of what that did for me. 

Going back to my original question, What is that structure in your household, in your family? 

My son needs a Mom. Even though his mom is no longer here, he still needs a Mom. There’s a balance that comes along with that and every woman can’t do that. Every woman isn’t mature enough to handle that and every woman isn’t mature enough to handle that my wife is going to come up. There are pictures that I sit down with my son from time to time a week. 

In his pictures of me and her together and things like that. That’s how he got here. There are going to be conversations, there are going to be milestones, there are going to be things. You’re not in her shadow, but if you’re not mature enough to handle it, I can’t deal with that. I can’t deal with that because you should understand we will have a life. She’s still a part of that life though, because that little boy that you have right here came from her. You can’t get rid of her and if you’re a selfish person, we’re not going to go anyway. 

You got to be able to honor her. I know when we first had our first conversation, I said, “We’ll talk for a little bit.” It has been two hours. I knew you thought when I first told you we would do this, you said, “90 minutes.” I said, “No, it can go for a week.” There is so much we have not even spoken about. I want you to be able to wrap up this conversation. I want to host space for us to have another discussion because there are a lot of other things I’d to talk about if you would be willing. 

I sure would. I’ve enjoyed this. I’m glad that I was able to come because I don’t often talk about my story. I’ve had several people in my life tell me, “Isaac, you need to write a book.” I said, “Shut up. I don’t want to write a book.” I don’t feel that’s something that I want to do specifically because it’s so much you have to pull out emotionally. I don’t know if I want to go back down that road. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, we’ll be all right. 

 

Closing Words

I’ll let you wrap up this conversation. Maybe there was something you wanted to talk about we didn’t particularly cover, but I’ll let you close out this discussion. 

I think the biggest thing that I would want to end the conversation with is grief is part of life. It’s going to happen. The older you get, your loved ones, whether that’s a parent, siblings, family members, relatives, whatever you want to call them, or friends, you’re going to lose someone. Don’t be stuck in the fact that you lost them. One of the things I learned a long time ago is to celebrate the dash, which is the nice sign that goes in between the day they were born and the day that they left the earth.

What’s in between that is memories and experiences that you’ve had. You can celebrate those memories. You can rehearse those memories. It doesn’t have to bind you into a prison. You can take the chance to decide that, “I’m still here” and choose to live still and create new experiences, but create those experiences without them and decide that you’re going to create a new life. It looks different now with yourself and whomever else, maybe if you still have children but you decide to do that. 

My therapist, sometime last year, that’s what cracked the code for me, where I was stuck. I’ve always been a very person to move forward, but I was stuck in a space where I remember us saying this and I’m looking at a vision in this book that I have. I write visions in and all these things. Am I supposed to still do this? My therapist just said to me, “Isaac, you now have to let that vision die and create a new vision for you and Isaac III without Renae.” 

That turned my life into a whole new space. I haven’t stopped writing music since because I went a good portion of the time without playing my trumpet or writing any music. Since then I’ve put out two singles. I got another one coming. I’ve gone back to performing on stage, getting therapy, having a good community, having God, and you’ll be high. If you’re missing some components in there, I’m just going to say from experience without all three of those components, it may be a little tough. 

I highly encourage therapy. I highly encourage God, a good community, and you have to discern that community because everybody can’t be with you during this process. It’s unfortunate, but everybody can’t roll with you. Sometimes people fall by the wayside but if you can just tell people, “I don’t know what I need, but if you could just show up and be present, that’ll do enough for me.” 

Just come sit on the couch, let’s watch TV, watch a movie. Let’s just go get something to eat. I don’t necessarily need to talk about any specific thing, but if you’re just present, I’ll be cool. If we are all real about that, that’s what most of us just needed. It was just someone present. That would be the thing that I would end this with good therapy and good community, and God will get you through it all. That’s how I still smile.                                       

 

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Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.

I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide