Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Proposal

Dear Lisa,

When I get to Heaven, will you marry me?

I’ll understand if you say no.

I get that there are probably better options for you where you are, and with so many secrets of the universe to explore, I’m sure you don’t want to do them alone.  Can you wait for me? 

For some couples, they leave their spouse in their old age and the wait time for their reunion is just a few years, if not months.  You left me at age 39.  I may be down here awhile.  Will I be a distant memory or will you be the first one to greet me when I get there?

Can you tell how much I still love you?   How much I miss you? 

Can you see me struggle?  I think of you during my darkest hours.  I draw strength from how you dealt with your cancer, refusing to be the victim and living life until the end.  I use you for inspiration to continue with my life.

Am I doing okay raising our children?  Children you gave birth to - one of them during your sickness.  I’ve made mistakes with them since you’ve been gone.  And every night when I go to bed, I replay how I was with the kids.  Wondering if I am doing what you asked of me when you knew you were dying, “Matt, I need you to take care of our girls.”  Can you see me raise my voice less and listen to them more?

I am in the process of re-learning life.  Does it frustrate you to see how much I’ve figured out since you’ve been gone?  To see how better I am with my priorities; to see me understand how to appreciate life.  To treat people the way you were hoping to be treated.  You planted the seeds, but left before the flowers bloomed.  Does that make you mad, or are you proud to see your handy work of a different me?

Do you see me trying to live a life without you?  Trying to build something new for myself and take this pain and turn it into something positive?  Does that break your heart?  Or are you frustrated I’m not doing enough?  Are you sitting around a pool with all the other husbands and wives yelling down, “Come on guys, live a little!  Didn’t our deaths show you life is short?  Let’s pick up the pace! We’re bored watching all of the inactivity.  Not much gossip here in the land of eternal happiness, so give us something to talk about.”

Knowing what you now know in heaven, was I still a good husband? 

Does heaven allow you to look at all our old fights?  You know, the ones where we’re both arguing, “That’s not what I said!” “Yes, it was.” “No, it wasn’t.”  I’m guessing you can see now I was probably wrong on a lot of those. 

I can be a better husband. I can sit down and talk, to support your dreams and goals.  If you wait for me, we can have a marriage that Mark Antony and Cleopatra would see and be jealous of.

So what do you say, Lisa? When I get to heaven, let’s get married.  It will be fun.  You can wear white - white never goes out of fashion in Heaven.  We can get married during a thunderstorm – the lightening will be our candles – and we’ll rearrange the clouds so our party won’t get wet.  I’ll make Benjamin Franklin my best man; Audrey Hepburn, your maid of honor.  Martin Luther King can give the toast and Moses will lead us in prayer.

I’ll let you have The Grateful Dead be the band, if you let the Three Stooges sit at our table.  

We’ll honeymoon in a private villa owned by Howard Hughes and then buy a house with a river running through the middle, leading to a tennis court in the backyard.  We’ll hang out on our extended porch and watch unicorns drink from the river. 

Lisa, wait for me, and we can finish up that great marriage we were just starting to achieve before you left.


  1. Matthew,
    Your post is absolutely heart warming, fabulously creative and deeply heart wrenching. Your Lisa and my Tim are watching us struggle but at least we have a community of support on earth in SSLF. My husband was a judge in life so when you get to heaven ...hopefully MANY years from now... ask for him and I am sure he would be delighted to marry you and Lisa again. And perhaps I will be by his side to witness your eternal love after we have found another judge to renew our vows of forever soul mates. See you at that heavenly pool someday and until then, maybe I'll see you at a Camp Widow pool party!!

  2. Wow Matt! About a hundred times a week I think - Am i doing this right Jim? Am I living the life you hoped I would live? Have I forgotten anything? Would you be proud of me?
    What would you be doing if I was the one that died?
    Every week. I don't know why I can't stop myself from thinking - is this the life I was meant to live now that you are gone?
    Thank you for putting it into words.
    Like you I love more, I forgive easily, I try to find the beauty in every single day. His death has made me realized - life is so very short.
    I don't have a lot of time to get it right.
    But I am trying

  3. Matt,I have written so mant letters similiar to this to myy late husband asking him for answers. It rips my heart out that I can not get the answers and I still love him after 2yrs gone!

  4. Thank you, Matthew, for this amazing post. Many of the questions you ask, I often ask myself. I also lost my husband,Stephen, at a young age. He died from a GBM brain tumor in August 2011 at the age of 40. We were married for 5 years. I think what keeps me going everyday is that Stephen would want me to "live a little" and remember "life is short" but it is so hard at times. I often feel frustrated that our marriage was cut short and for half of our marriage he was battling brain cancer.

    Your images of heaven are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Your post is a great inspiration to those of us who are fortunate enough to not be living life alone because of death or divorce - a reminder to be the best we can be for each other, for our children, every day.

  6. Matthew, how our hearts in this community talk alike. Today would have been out 12th anniversary. Reading this makes me want to run to heaven and say Danny marry me again. I love you so much and miss you terribly. I too ask will he be there to bring me though when its my time and will he be there to take me in his arms again. I miss those special cards he wold make me, thank god I saved every card he ever made me. Thank you of sharing this with us.

  7. Although I have never written down the words I definately send those letters in my head. So well said.

  8. Lovely post, Matthew, you are a gifted writer. When I journal, it often ends up in a letter to my spouse. No, I cannot send it, no, he will never read it, but it helps me to cope so I continue. I keep asking if he'd be doing what I'm doing, going forward tentatively in life, taking the trials as they come...I sometimes think he would be coping so much better than I, so I try to do better every day. It helps to keep me going, knowing that is what he would want.

  9. Just yesterday I was walking my dog and thinking about Dave. Remembering how selfless he was with his time, and how selfish I was with mine.

    He wasn't perfect but he gained strength by helping others. Stopping by to say hi, and encourage others that might be struggling. Finding out what was going on in their lives. And I would be upset because he was late again for whatever. Maybe he somehow knew his life here would be cut short. He touched so many lives as a high school teacher and was genuinely concerned for struggling students and what was going on in their lives. And I sometimes feel sickened by how little I have done with my life.

    I can feel I've changed since he died, but not fast enough. It's been almost 20 months now, and I worry that my desire to 'change the world' is fading along with him. I know that he is still out there. He isn't gone. I too wonder what he thinks of me now.

  10. Pretty cool Bro - I love You and Lisa married - You are doing the best job and always getting better - She's no doubt very proud and gratified.

  11. Matt, Our paths have crossed many times when you were a young performer. When we meet again recently at a gathering in Madison, I was so shocked to hear about your wife. My heart was breaking for having lost my wonderful husband of 10 years, but realized my journey could not be as hard as yours having young children to raise. You have said so beautifully what I think about even after 6 years after his passing. You think when you take those precious vows of till death do you part that you will be older and had more time to enjoy the lives of each other. I would hope for everyone who has lost their spouse young or older that the memories of good times and bad, will give you the strength to move forward and continue with your life as your spouse would have wanted you to do. To set you sights on a goal and work to make that dream come true and along the way they will be there watching over you and protecting you from grieving too long. Because as you say, someday you can walk down that aisle again, but this time for eternity. May you have the strength and wisdom to share with your children what a wonderful person their mother was and share that love you have for her. Speaking as someone who never thought they could move forward after losing the most wonderful person whoever came into my life, you will one day that she will always be with you and she would want you do enjoy what life you have here with your children until the day you see her again. My heart goes out to you, Linda Sidley-Cimini

  12. Wow. I was completely undone by this post. Three years later and I can still be brought to gut-wrenching sobs so quickly. I have asked (and continue to ask) so many of these questions daily. I am continuing to move forward ever so slowly, as he would have wanted me to do. I just miss him so much.

  13. All I can say is, "Wow." And .... "That made my heart ached a little."
    I have no doubt that Lisa is very proud of you. And no, she doesn't remember your arguments. There are no tears and no sadness in Heaven. Thank you for giving me the picture of all of our spouses hanging out together, getting to know one another, and watching us. I love that image.
    And Valerie .... the change in you will never go away, and it's probably just as fast as it should be. You will always treasure life more fully and probably love and forgive easier. I don't think that will go away .... no matter how much time passes until you see him again.

  14. The imagery in your post was so touching, that I had to wait until I was alone to finish reading it, because of the tears. I also identified with many comments, such as driving alone on a Sunday. Unless we have young children living with us or are remarried, we really are alone. And I too often grieve the wasted moments in our marriage when we turned away from each other's needs due to our egos and selfishness. If I could only do it over. I believe that my husband is joyously happy, where ever his spirit is. I don't know if I'll ever see my husband again, but I hope so. That thought carries me forward. It did become less painful for me after about 3 yrs out. I still miss him so much, but have learned to move forward, day by day. I'm still evolving. My spouse died just as we entered retirement, so it has been very difficult for me to fill my days. Right now, I'm babysitting my precious 7 mo old granddaughter 10 hrs a day, M-F. That gives me the structure that I need in my day, but is probably too much. I plan to continue this through 2013, when my son finishes grad school and finds a job, and then I will return to my home in another state and do some traveling and join some groups. It gets easier one step at a time.

  15. The most romantic thing I have ever read. Period.

  16. Lovely post. My husband would always say to me our vows were for eternity & not till till death do us part, that our love was forever here and for eternity. I so agree, I am his forever, we are one.

  17. Wow, I am so glad that I came back to catch up on blogs that I missed since Sat. Saturdays are rough..hate the lonely weekends. Did not get back to reading blogs all the way back to this one from Sunday WOW I am so happy I did not miss it! Even an atheist as myself can get on board with a heaven that exists like this one.
    Your creativity is inspiring...I can see my Duke by the pool somewhere with some incredible personalities- bigger than life types.
    I hope to see you all at the pool at camp widow...The one photo I have of my LH the kids and I is of us in a pool It was used in a magazine article about fathers day - regarding his struggle with cancer and his ultimate death right before father's day.
    We had so little time as a family to go for holiday vacations.
    We were just starting to make time for us to do some family trips. The photo was taken in August and he was diagnosed with Cancer in September. Life is short and we know it...more pool parties.

  18. A friend of mine, just lost her husband last week at the age of 39. I can't imagine what either of you struggle with...know you're in my prayers.

  19. I lost my husband at a early age of 39. He suffered a stroke. We had been together since middle school never was apart. I lost my sole mate. We were married for 16 yrs.

  20. I lost my sole mate in Sept '2010. He was only 39. We had been together since 1984 in middle school. He had a stroke in June 2010 and was in the hospital for 32 days. I would be there day and night before and after work. Finally he went to rehilabition for 3 weeks and was doing great until that day on Sept 14, 2010 he had taken a fall and his home nurse thought he might be having a mini stroke to get him to the hospital so I did they did nothing for him sent him home and a day in half found my husband died in are bed. I still have nightmares of finding him.

  21. Matt, great letter, my friend. I hope it finds a wider audience as it reminds all of a better way to live. If we could only learn this lesson BEFORE we suffer a loss, think how great our lives would be. Your letter makes a sad heart sing, and a glad heart exult.
    Although Lisa is not with you physically, it is obvious she remains with you in love and spirit, and in the daily lives of you and the girls. This letter is a wonderful remembrance. Print a copy for each of the girls and save it for their wedding day. They will surely treasure it for its beauty, simplicity, love, and hope. May they find a love as true and deep as yours for Lisa. You, too, are planting seeds, my friend.