Blanche’s Eulogy: Dating Lessons Learned

Posted by in dating after divorce, single women over 40 | 4 comments

My cell phone vibrated on my dresser yesterday morning, waking me from a fitful sleep. It was 7:45 AM on a Sunday, and I had slept only a few hours. Glancing at the missed caller’s ID, I wondered, “Why is my ex-husband calling me so early?”. If it was important, he’d call back, so I jumped into the shower to help wake me up. Sipping my morning latte, still wrapped in a robe, hair dripping wet, I heard the doorbell ring. 8:00 AM: who could that be?

My ex, dressed in a suit and tie (!?) stood at the door telling me that our close friend, Richard, had lost his mother. The email was sent that morning, and he was now rushing to the funeral in Manhattan. Would I like to join him. “Sure”, I mumbled, still half-asleep. This funeral superseded any plans I had on my calendar.

Richard’s dad had passed away only two months ago. Although I’d never met either of his parents, Richard and his wife, Gloria, were dear friends of ours when we were first married and living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I had recently reconnected with them, and they even attended our daughter’s wedding in December. I wanted to pay my respects.

The funeral was awe-inspiring. As the children and grandchildren rose to speak about their mom and grandma, I felt that I knew Blanche. They spoke of a mother who was their best friend, a mom who was a steady presence, at the door to greet them each day as they returned from school. She always prioritized her children and grandchildren, and they felt it. One granddaughter opened with, “I always knew that I was grandma’s favorite. She treated me like she loved me best. It was only when all the cousins gathered before the funeral that I realized that she treated all of us that way!”

The message was clear; no one was focusing on what grandma did for a living, what her Upper East Side apartment was like, or how much she owned. What stood out was her character. She knew what to value in life: education, good character, being present for her loved ones, showing up for anyone in need, and always seeing the potential for the best in everyone.

I am pretty certain that everyone at the funeral was touched by the beauty of Blanche’s enormously giving soul. I walked away with thoughts about how I wanted to be remembered by my family. I promised myself that I would judge my children less and focus more on the positive.

And I took it one step further, to the dating arena. I vowed that the next time I’m on a date, I will focus on what’s good about the guy, look deeper into his character, and not focus on why the relationship might not work.

In dating, we often look at what’s not working rather than what has potential to work. If we only focused more on the positive and didn’t jump to conclusions about someone’s character or potential as a mate, wouldn’t we have more success in forming relationships? If we only placed our judgment on the inner rather than the outer traits, wouldn’t we have an easier time choosing a mate?

So, thank you Blanche, for being a wonderful example of how I want to be remembered and how I want to live my life right now. Thank you for treating your family with love, for holding the bar high while loving them even more. Thanks for your sense of adventure, and for remembering to stop at every rest stop for ice cream!

I hope I have done Blanche a little bit of justice, by sharing a small piece of her enormous life. I hope I have inspired you to walk a little more in Blanche’s shoes.

Who knew that going to a funeral on very little sleep would change my life forever?



  1. Hi Sandy:
    I enjoyed your beautifully written post. This past weekend I also attended a funeral that was awe-inspiring. Unfortunately it was for a young 17 year old man whose life was cut short way too soon. Although it was gut-wrentching in many ways- it was also healing. During a magnificent testimony to the who the boy was and what he had managed to accomplish in his short life, we all felt more connected.

    It’s interesting that these life cycle rituals give us the opportunity to be so clear, direct and honest with our expressions. We all get to be so real with one another. It also reminds us of the gift of being alive and teh beauty in being connected to one another.

    My Best,

  2. Hi Bette,

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. How tragic for you to lose someone so young. I have a close friend who lost their 21 year-old son a few years ago. Although his life was relatively quite short, it was also very full, and he was so well loved. In contrast, another good friend lost her father-in-law at around the same time. His life, although quite long-lived, was not filled with the same sense of love and connection. He did not express his love to his children. The contrast taught me the value of the impact we make. How we live our values matters more than the length of our lives.

    As you stated so eloquently, it is a gift to be so real, direct and clear about our feelings towards one another. It would be wonderful for us all to pay attention to the gifts of our lives, rather than notice what’s lacking.


  3. Great post, Sandy. We learn life’s lessons in the oddest ways sometimes!

  4. Thank you, Rhonda, for your comment. I am always looking for deeper meaning in all that I encounter, so yes, I guess I will often find it in odd places!


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