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26-Sep-2019 20:48

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Hanging in Tammy Hill’s home are three photographs: one of Tammy and Mark Mulford on their wedding day, one of Jeffrey and Juanita Hill on their wedding day, and one of Jeffrey and Tammy with their combined family of 12 children.

Written in vinyl lettering on the wall beside the images are the words “All because four people fell in love.”Jeffrey and Tammy were both widowed fairly young, Tammy at 37 years old with four children (the youngest only 4 months old) and Jeffrey at 52 with eight children.

One reason for the lopsided numbers is that fewer men are available as women age.

The supposed “weaker sex” still tends to live longer than males, although the gap is narrowing.

There are older widows, but no solo or single parents with any children at home,” widow Laura Giometta Cleveland says. Fortunately for Shemwell, she was able to find comfort in the words her terminally ill husband Tony shared with her before he passed.“Tony wasn’t a husband who said ‘No, don’t get remarried,’ but he wasn’t a husband that said ‘Yes, definitely get married,’” she recalls. Her concerns, coupled with her grief, made it difficult to consider the possibility of dating again.

“Like other single people say, most lessons and talks are geared toward families. But one day, while visiting Nauvoo, she was running down Parley Street near the Mississippi River when she thought of the early pioneers who were leaving Nauvoo and how hard it would have been for them to get on boats to cross the Mississippi.“Across the river is unknown, and it’s pretty frightening,” Hill says, comparing crossing the river to choosing to date again.

61 percent of men and 19 percent of women were remarried or in a romantic relationship by 25 months after a spouse’s death.

Instead of dating specifically to remarry, she suggests approaching dating with the idea of “I’m just making a new friend” and as an opportunity to dress up and go somewhere fun. “If it’s really something that’s uncomfortable or causing a lot of pain, I think [that person] is not ready to date yet.

“You've done it, so you know it's possible, but you realize how hard it was to get to that point, and so the prospect of trying again is daunting and discouraging.”► You'll also like: Pregnant and Widowed at 21: A Latter-day Saint Woman's Story To combat similar feelings of trepidation about dating again, Shemwell decided to take it slow.