Thursday, November 5, 2009

Some things you just cannot make up

The wind is blowing lightly.
The rain has stopped.
It is the calm before the storm.
What will the storm bring?

This has been a weird and trying week. Two weekends ago, I was talking to my friend and she said the energy in the air felt "off." I agreed. She said it felt like the calm before the storm. I agreed with that too. She was talking about the disconnect she felt about the reality that they were going to have to put their sweet dog down not yet settling in. As usual, I had no idea what I was talking about. I pretty much just make crap up as I go. I'm easily entertained that way. But some things you just cannot make up.

Last week, the week of Halloween, I had 6 new members join my young widow and widowers meetup group. That in itself was odd. Usually, the group grows at a rate of one or two new members every month or so. Normally, when a new member joins, I send them an e-mail welcoming them to the group. I could just have a canned e-mail that meetup sends out for me, but I like to tailor them the best I can based on what the new member has put in their introduction.

The first of the six was a gentleman and I did not get a good vibe from his profile. He did not say anything about being widowed in his introduction-it read more like what you would find as the header for a personal ad. The types of groups he was interested in joining also made it appear he was just looking to meet women. So, I sent him an e-mail offering my condolences, stated how I find it helpful to be around others whose partners had died young, etc. I was trying to clearly state what the group is about without coming out and accusing him of not being legit. Then I sent an e-mail to my assistant organizer and asked him to check out New Guy's profile and tell me what he thinks. I didn't say anything else. I wanted to know if I was being paranoid. My AO, as meetup calls them, also said he didn't feel this guy was right and said I should kick him out of the group. We went back and forth and I ultimately decided we needed to give him the benefit of the doubt. I have heard and read several stories of men and women preying on the widowed; I just didn't want to believe it though. Word on the street is we all have hefty life insurance payouts and are so lonely we will sleep with anything with the right parts. Um, no and eww.

I sent my e-mails to three others, leaving me with two. One, a widower and the other a gal who joined the group looking for support for a widowed friend. She however is not widowed. So, I decided to leave her for last so I could think a bit more about what to say to her. I went to e-mail New Guy #2 and looked at his profile. All the groups he is interested in joining are centered around sex. Mostly tantric sex. I paged my poor co-worker to my office (I was on my lunch break at the time). I said bad words. Lots of very bad words. I decided not too send my e-mail. Later, another co-worker got an earful with even more bad words. She just laughed. Not at the situation, but because for some reason my co-workers think it is really funny when I get all riled up about something. I decided I wasn't comfortable sending a welcome e-mail to New Guy #2. I was afraid he would think I was offering to help him with his "sexual healing." (Marvin Gaye is now ruined for me. So is White Snake, which has nothing to do with this story, though it does have to do with the male anatomy, which I guess is the tie-in). So when I got home, I called my AO so he could send the welcome e-mail to NG #2, which was the point of my call and which we finally got to in a very circular fashion. He answered the phone "Hey, I learned something today" (gotta love caller ID), so it really is his fault I didn't start out the conversation by getting to the point. In all fairness, at least 90% of our conversations take a very long route to get to the point, if by the end of the route we still remember what the original point even was.

Forty eight minutes later, which felt more like 15, we hung up having made the decision he would e-mail the new guys. I told him I didn't care what he said to them. I trust him-I knew I didn't have to write his e-mail for him. He ultimately sent them very polite e-mails in which he told them we had to protect the safety of our members and based on their interests, he was removing them from the group. I didn't know he could do that as the AO, but I am glad he did. (I wonder what else he can do. I should probably look into that. Although, I'm not really that concerned about it because like I said, I really do trust him). I stand by his decision. This was Monday.

Yesterday, we had another new member join our group. She joined because she had just broken up with her significant other. Seriously. I know that I loosely define widow so I can include myself (kind of a given since it's my group and all), but are you kidding me? Are there really people out there who do not know that widowed means there is a death of a person involved? Like, a real death. Not just wishing they were dead. And she RSVP'd "maybe" for our next dinner. She thinks she feels bad now. Come to a dinner with a bunch of angry people whose partners can't wake up one day, realize they made a mistake and beg for forgiveness. And then see how you feel. That's what I wanted to say in my e-mail explaining why I was removing her from the group. Instead, I politely suggested she might find she relates better with a divorce support group. Sally the "football widow" better not join our group-I don't think I would be able to stop Angry Heather on that one.

Seriously. You just cannot make this stuff up. I feel this is the storm my calm was preparing me for. The absurdity is almost comical and would be if I did not have the emotional well-being of a group of vulnerable women to take into consideration. I have reported these three to meetup to see if they can determine if any of them are the same person. I simply cannot have people come into my group with ulterior motives. I am not running a dating site. I am not running a group for people looking for rebound hookups. I am running a group for people who want the understanding of others who can help them get through the most devastating time of their life.

My co-worker made the comment today that beyond the disbelief of all of this, she feels anger. She said she has seen the tremendous leaps and bounds I have made since James died, with starting this group, with joining other groups to put myself out there, with regaining some confidence in myself and she said things like this make her afraid I will take huge steps backwards-that I will lose faith in people. I told her it absolutely does slam a door for me. It does make me want to stay in the cozy and safe confines of my house. All I really know is James. What if I do put myself out there and in the end, all I get is scammed? The thought makes me not even want to try to find love again.

It is still calm outside, but the wind has picked up a little. There is a storm coming. It is supposed to be a big one. Hopefully, the only thing it brings is wind and rain.

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