Monday, September 20, 2010

Almost Married

By the time you all read this post I will be married. Even as I type these words I find that fact slightly unbelievable, because five years ago I was certain that my life was over. My heart was still beating, my lungs worked, my eyes opened each morning, but my LIFE was over.

I found the fact that the world as I knew it had stopped turning to be both limiting and liberating. On the one hand I was desperate to have my old reality back, and on the other I just wanted to move onto the next world as soon as possible. Either situation would have worked for me, because the point was to be with Phil again in one world or another, I didn't even really have a preference. Not caring was freeing, while desiring the impossible was infuriating. My days were marked by the swing of the pendulum...desperate, reckless, desperate, reckless. Looking back now I tremble at the memory of those days, and also marvel at the power of the human soul to somehow persevere. Because I have. Somehow I lived through the terrifying reality that my husband was dead, and that the life I reveled in was no longer available.

At one time surviving the absence of Phil from my daily life took every ounce of my energy. As I grew through my widowhood I began to see that recreating my life was actually a bigger job, made more complicated by the fact that not only did I lack the energy to create, but I lacked the desire. I wondered how I was supposed to manufacture a zest for life that I did not feel. Forgive me if you thought for a second that I actually have the answer to this rhetorical question. Because I don't. Personally, I consider the fact that a genuine enthusiasm for life has been returned to me a miracle.

(Disclaimer: I have been corrected before when using the word miracle, so I want to be very clear here. I am using the Michele Neff Hernandez dictionary of words and freely applying creative license to define something that I find totally incredible.)

Here are a few things I consider to be miraculous...the fact that my heart survived losing Phil because it really should have stopped beating, the idea that taking all of those little steps forward followed by huge steps back throughout the grieving process actually did move me forward, coming to the realization that love is worth the pain of loss no matter how devastating eventual separation will be, the finding of space for so many more people in my life and in my heart, truly knowing love and recognizing it when I felt a knock on my heart, finding a man who loves this new me in so many of the ways that the old me was loved for just who she was at the time, the fact that neither joy nor grief is mutually exclusive.

These are just a few things I personally consider to be gifts of an inexplicable nature. The fact that I can't tell you how I got here baffles me a bit, but grief has taught me to stop looking for the explanation and just enjoy the moment. Which is what I hope to report to you that I did every minute of September 18Th, and yes, I will post pictures. Thank you all for the outpouring of love and good wishes. I take them with me into this new phase of my life as treasures from the past that will brighten the future.


  1. It is just done me so much good to read your post and comments about the sheer effort of living after the man you adored died. It is coming up to the two year anniversary of when I lost my husband in a traffic accident and every day I feel as though I am in a vacuum. Yes, I have my health, three beautiful children and live a relatively charmed life, but life is not the same and I yearn for the happiness, love and companionship that we shared as a family every day for over 23 years.

    I wish you great happiness and tapping into 'Widow's Voice' is one of the things that has kept me going. Thank you so much, I can't quite remember how I found you all (I live in the UK) but it has been a great source of strength and comfort.
    We will all look forward to seeing your wedding photographs. God Bless.

  2. Congratulations, Michelle - I saw you on the Mike Huckabee show but heard about you from Kim (I'm her Mom). We widows sometimes can rise like a phoenix from the ashes - an image that is full of mystery for me in my own life. I was widowed six years ago and remarried two years ago. How did that happen? I have no explanation except that life is out there for the taking. I wish you another great and enduring love.

  3. Congratulations, Michele!

    You continue to amaze me with your courage and self-reflection.

  4. I love your post they have been the most helpful to me! They give such hope that emotionally my life will get better. Right now, I know I want to remarry, but like you say do not have the energy to do anything with that. Tommorrow will be a year since my husband died, and he gave me the best gift he could brfore his passing- he made me promise to love again, since I am only 46. It is good to know the conflicting feelings I have are normal for widows.Thank you so much for your hopeful posts. It was just what I needed today.

  5. Thank you for sharing your life with us through these post. You are a beacon of hope for my future. I feel like I am following the light to the lighthouse. Now seeing that you have found the lighthouse gives me the fortitude to keep going. The road is long, but there is life to be had again. God bless you and I hope you have so very many years of happiness to come.

  6. Congratulations! I have been reading your posts eagerly waiting to learn more about your journey. I hope that your wedding day was all you had hoped it would be and that you will be blessed with a wonderful marriage.

    I remarried only 3 weeks ago after my first loved passed away in a work-place accident. The second-time around is different, but it is oh, so, worth it!