Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Introducing Chris and Maggie

Like everyone else who shares the title “widower” or “widow”, I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t kick sleeping dogs or twist baby toes to make them cry. I can’t imagine what I did that pissed off the devil (or God) to get me to this place but here I am. Here you are. I’m not going anywhere so I might as well be polite and introduce us (me and my wife - we come as a package.)

I’m Chris Weaver. But I’m hesitant to draw the attention toward me. I’m just a guy who fell in love with a girl who happened to be the most fantastic woman in the world… and then she died. Now I’m the scribe, both for her and for me as I move beyond our loss. (I say “our loss” because we both lost: lost time, lost memories, lost love, lost experiences, lost pretty much everything.)

On June 14, 1999 this charming, delightful woman named Maggie Pilat walked into my life. It was immediately obvious to both of us that we had a very unique connection. Time has proven that, back then, we clearly had no clue how perfect a match we were. From that day forward we were inseparable (other than three pesky years in law school.) We were perfect together – like the hands of a higher force molded one for the other. When we met it was if my soul said “Ah, there you are! I’ve been looking for you!” I might could say that June 14th was the luckiest day of my life. But reality is that every day I spent with her was the luckiest day of my life. Maggie might have said the same (I wish you could still ask her.) So, imagine if you will how that feels – to have lived 3,612 days with your best friend, your perfect match. It took a long time for us to find each other but we finally did. We were the luckiest couple on earth. I was the luckiest man on earth.

If that’s not enough, the blessing of a fair amount of luck early in my career helped sweeten our time together. During the early 2000s, we enjoyed a lifestyle of silliness and indulgence together - romping, laughing, and exploring. I couldn’t have shared that time with a more adventuresome, enjoyable, appreciative and exciting person. We lived a fairy tale life of travels, food, and toys. What great fun it all was!

On February 28, 2004, I was privileged to watch my then-girlfriend, dressed all in white, walk arm-in-arm with her brother Virgil past friends and family while smiling the most beautiful smile I had ever (and still have ever) seen. Climbing the stairs, looking radiant, she took her place beside me on stage as my equal to proclaim our love and devotion to each other to all who witnessed. We became husband and wife.

On February 29, 2004, we did it all again, but this time in Las Vegas with Elvis leading the ceremony with 30 or so of our closest friends playing along. See, the first wedding was her white wedding. This wedding, on leap day, was mine. She was dressed as Marilyn and I, James Dean. It was just another chapter in the fairy tale that was our life.

On January 5, 2007, while Maggie was in her final quarter at Baylor, The Cancer called. Colon cancer, Stage 4. Our lives instantly turned into a whirlwind of surgeries, incomprehensible drug names, final directives, tests, and hospital stays. It was unpleasant. All of it. But through it all, she kept smiling.

Despite the diagnosis, we continued living our lives fully. While undergoing treatment to knock back the disease, she graduated from Baylor Law School, took (and passed) the bar exam, opened her own law practice and helped many people who were themselves having a tough time. She also traveled to Wyoming, Greece and Ireland; hosted an art show featuring more than 40 of her own fantastic paintings; and helped me raise two puppies named Kali and Niko. Likewise, I enrolled in and graduated from a business school called Acton with my MBA. We followed our dreams despite The Cancer. Every day we laughed, celebrated and had a great time. We were good at having a great time - REALLY good. Every day she smiled. As best we could, we made The Cancer a part-time gig.

Eventually, we couldn’t do that anymore. Eventually, fighting The Cancer took over our lives. Then it got bad. Then it got worse.

But she kept smiling.

On May 4, 2009 at 7:30PM she stopped smiling.

It took me a long while to remember how to smile again. Smile, heck, it took me a long while to FEEL again. Eventually, with the gentle and loving help of friends, I did. Now I can smile and laugh. I can even remember without crying. But my heart still beats with quite a limp.

Today, a mere two days from the two-year anniversary of her Angel Day, I feel I am more healed than not, more stable than wobbly and more happy than sad. I’ve had nearly five years of mourning now. The first three years my Angel held my hand. The last two she’s held my heart.

I’m honored to be able to share my travels down this road with you. I wish I wasn’t here. I wish you weren’t here. But since we are, let’s travel together for a while – you, me and Maggie. (Did I mention we come as a package?)


  1. So very sorry you are here joining us. You were a beautiful couple! I look forward to hearing more of your story, I'm always interested in the male perspective on loss.

  2. Hi Chris.

    Welcome to Widow's Voice. Like everyone will say, it is not a place any of us hoped to find ourselves, but a good place to be.


  3. Sadly we all come to this place because of loss, but luckily we are a pretty awesome group. So, since going through this life is something I can't get out of, these are definitely the people I want to walk this road with. Welcome to our group, thank you for sharing your story, and I look forward to reading more from you!!

  4. Hi Chris - I echo all of the above.

    Our dates of loss are not far apart (I just passed my 2yr on April 22nd), and my husband also died of cancer, though it was brain cancer. I see some similarities on our journey - through our time together, even after cancer entered we were as happy as can be. Even happier once we had our two little girls. We, too, smiled right to the end.

    Thank you for sharing, and I look forward to hearing more as well.

  5. What a beautifully expresssed post. Your words echo my feelings about our relationship, the onset of cancer, and our loss. The hardest part is the loss of that one person on the planet who is clearly your soulmate, and the comfort and intimacy that your hearts hold for one another. She is beautiful. So sorry for your loss. Thanks for posting.

  6. I've already posted once, but want to add something since colon cancer is prevalent here. If you have any family history of this disease, get yourself checked out. My husband had it, not fun. I also have a family history (in a sibling) and I go for screening every two years. If I didn't, chances are I'd be in trouble by now. And it can be developing for a long time without symptoms. It sounds bad but it really isn't, you are knocked out, have a colonoscopy, and you wake up in the recovery room with no memory of anything. People always ask me if there is pain afterward, I can honestly and sincerely tell you there is none, just a bit groggy for the first day because of anesthesia. It is so worth going for this test, because colon cancer can be caught very early on and has a 99% survival rate. Be proactive with your health if you have ANYONE in your family with a history. So weird how you don't have ANY symptoms and think you're fine, then you have polyps when they do the test. Thanks for this forum to encourage people to be proactive!!

  7. Chris, thank you for your post. Your wife was a very beautiful woman and your description of your soul mate description so resonated with me. My husband and I met when I was 15, we were together until he died from a glioblastoma in his 56th year.
    I have often wondered, if I had died and he was the survivor what would he be doing. in fact, I think about this a lot. I often gage if I should do something or not on "what would he do?" I am not sure this is healthy. But I can't help myself. Hearing a male perspective on mourning is very valuable to me. It helps to see the differences and the strengths on both sides. I have always "heard" men get over their grieving much sooner than women, but I find that hard to believe. I think grief is grief. If you love someone desperately and they die, the pain is deep and it doesn't matter if you are male or female.
    I would also say the same about brain tumours. My husband had so few symptoms, by the time his diagnosis came it was terminal, stage four. He lived a year and a half and died so quickly, a matter of days.
    It has been six months, somedays I feel I no longer know who I am without him, everything reminds me of him. I carry on but barely alive at times.
    I will never understand the why of what happened. I only know it did.
    I wish none of us were here. I often wished it had been me. Only because I suspect he might have coped better. My children say that is not the case.
    I don't know.
    I just know that he is gone and I have to carry on.
    thank you for sharing your journey.

  8. Hi Chris .... and welcome. I'm sorry that you have a reason to be here, but as MandyMy said .... we are a great group of people, if we do say so ourselves. I often say that, although it totally sucks that I'm in this "club", I have met the most amazing people in it. And I've never before experienced the instant bonding that occurs.
    I look forward to learning more about you and Maggie.

  9. Chris, thank you for sharing your story. Our timelines are SO similar, from the day we met, to the day we said goodbye, and it was cancer that separated us, too. I look forward to hearing more from you; and to learn more about Maggie.

  10. Chris, it's great to meet you and hear about you and Maggie's beautiful lives together and I can't wait to hear more about your lives apart. My story is very similar to yours, my LH and I fighting "the cancer" during college..in our case melanoma, definitely not stopping us from enjoying life's little moments as well as tough moments and smiling through it all.
    Maggie was lucky to have you - you didn't have to share her with us while she was on this earth, but I feel honored now that I get to know her too, through your words and smiles!
    I'm thankful you are here, Chris and that you and Maggie are finally cancer free!

  11. Oh, Chris. Just from reading what you say about her, I can't help but love her too.

  12. Chris,
    Thank you for sharing your story. Your love story with Maggie melted my heart.