I love you like I love Mike

By Emma Pearson

July 16, 2024

18 November 2019

A little over 6 months ago, at the end of April 2019, two months before my 15 year-old daughter Julia died by suicide, and 2 years after Mike my husband died, I met a man on a dating website. He’s called Medjool, after my favourite kind of dates. Big, chewy, tasty, sweet. Yum.

Since there seems to be some kind of annoying gender difference whereby (many) single men prefer women who are quite a lot younger than them, and since I was only interested in meeting a man (approx.) my age, this Medjool was the only Medjool I met. He didn’t seem to share the common belief that prospective female partners should be 10-15 years younger than him. As it happens, I am 6 weeks older than he is.

I had one date with one Medjool. In truth, I had planned on having quite a number of Medjools on the go, but this Medjool was the one and only one “around my age” interested in me. Though as it happened, there were other women on the dating website interested in him, and it quickly transpired that Medjool was juggling not just me but another woman too for whom he was the only Medjool.  It took Medjool a little while to figure out – openly and transparently – that he needed to make a choice, which he did some 6 weeks later. Two weeks before Julia died.

Medjool chose me.

I am reminded of Meredith in Grey’s Anatomy who, at the end of Season One (I think), expresses beautifully to Dr McDreamy “Pick Me. Choose me. Love me”.  I loved that scene, though never for a minute felt it would apply to me in my lifetime.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st2jamNWcJM

Julia wouldn’t have liked the news but I am sure it was not a factor in her decision to take her life. I had planned to tell her and her older siblings just a few days into July, when the four of us were to be in Munich together seeing Elton John in his final tour. Julia never made that concert. She died 5 days before.

Fast forward a few months, the full impact of Julia’s death is still impossible for me to fathom, though I am immensely drained and sad and my heart aches for her.

AND I experience many moments of joy every time I do something I love, with someone I love. Such as Medjool. Or a friend. Or the dog. Or myself.

Much of life remains exceptional, despite the heavy, brutal, rapid-fire losses.

I am able to be present for much of my joy, grateful for all that I have, basking in this new love with Medjool. A second crack at loving and being with an exceptional man, the quality and calibre of Mike, who loves and admires me in ways so reminiscent of Mike’s ways.

Just two weeks ago, in a quiet, intimate moment, I said words that I had no idea were about to come out of my mouth: “I love you like I love Mike”.

Simple. Honest. Truth.

I love you. Like I love Mike.

Present tense.

Both And: I love you. And I love Mike. Both of you. Medjool and Mike.

Both, And, and Despite: Despite losing Mike, Despite losing Julia, Despite the fear of losing another child, I choose to love you, Medjool.

Number Two. Not Second Best. Not First Best either. Just Number Two.

I am grateful.

Thank you.

Thank you, Medjool.

And thank you, Mike.

Post Script: I sent this piece of writing and the photo to Medjool asking if I could post it here and on Soaring Spirits, and in addition to saying “Yes”, he wrote, Merci à toi d’avoir choisi de m’aimer moi, avec une générosité sans limite et de te laisser aimer toute entière également.

To Love and Be Loved. Increasingly I believe those are life’s fundamental, simple goals.

About Emma Pearson

3 thoughts on “I love you like I love Mike

  1. Emma,

    Thanks for sharing this from so deep in your heart. I cannot imagine the pain of loosing a child and in such circumstances in addition to loosing Mike. It must overwhelming and, as you describe, I remember my mother when she lost her soul mate and husband,and a few years her oldest son. Someone once told me that this feels like a piece of yourself is dying too.
    I admire and applaud your strength to move forward. Love, Beth

  2. I love this. Both and. Not more or less. Your words remind me of part of a poem I wrote the year Drew died:

    “In this way,
    true, deep, complete love is not easy.
    It is simple, but not an easy choice.
    Which is why
    whenever I see such love in the world
    It leaves me in overwhelm.

    Never a more beautiful thing
    have I seen
    than the immense bravery
    of any single human being
    that chooses the possibility of pain
    For the privilege to LOVE.”

    You my friend have that bravery. ❤️

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