Sunday, December 8, 2013

Where We Began

A big hello to everyone here at Soaring Spirits and Widow's Voice on my debut post. I'm incredibly honored and humbled to have been asked to join this team. I hope that we can help each other to feel heard, honored, and loved for exactly where we are in these years of tears. I've been a writer all my life in some form, but this is the first time I've ever written anywhere but my own pages. It means a great deal to me. So I thank you for reading! With that said, I will begin...

Last year, I was supposed to be standing at the altar – marrying my best friend. Instead, I was standing at that altar trying to tell a church full of loved ones who this man was in my life and what he had meant to me. Striving to articulate the sheer magnitude of this person was like trying to hold the all the world's oceans in my hands – an impossible task to ever fully contain him... and not something a twenty-nine year old woman should ever be faced with, or anyone for that matter. But there we were.

Drew and I met in Dallas in the fall of 2008. He was in flight school working toward his dream to be a commercial helicopter pilot. I was a web designer at the headquarters for a global fashion company. He was analytical, I was creative. He liked guns, flying, beer and war movies. I liked art, beauty, nature, writing… I was terrified of guns and hated war movies. On the surface, it sure seemed like we couldn't be more different, but underneath all that we shared deep passion and curiosity for life and a seriously goofy sense of humor. We both loved to learn, laugh and explore almost anything. I'd say that's a pretty good basis for the start of something awesome.

We became best friends over the course of the next year and in June of 2009, we started dating. As it turns out, all those differences are incredibly fun when you have two really curious people who love to explore anything new. He taught me how to shoot guns, build fires, and fly planes on the simulator. I taught him about design and how to look for beauty and art in everything around you. He introduced me to delicious dark beers and aerodynamics, to camping and Texas country music, and I took him to art museums and festivals and exposed him to incredible art he'd have never otherwise seen. There was skydiving, parasailing, hot air ballooning, race car driving and so much more. I was his first flight student – letting him practice his lesson plans each night with me while he worked toward his flight instructor certification. And of course.. he took me up for a few helicopter rides. These are by far some of the most special memories – watching him in his element – living his passion and sharing it with me. The war movies though… I never got on board there!

It wasn't always clear skies of course, but for 3 years, we built something strong and good together. There was always, above all else, an unspoken agreement from the beginning that we would be kind with each other's hearts. Neither of us had had a particularly sugar-coated life thus far, so we had our insecurities and issues. But somehow together, we never clashed. Instead we learned how to help each other to become more aware, heal some of the past, and choose new and better ways to cope with life's challenges. I have often said that it was as if I could see the little boy in him, the one that was good and pure and hadn't been hurt or made insecure by the world yet... and he could see that little girl in me, too. It was as though we grabbed the very core of each other and pulled it right to the surface where it could breathe. Together, we were more who we were always supposed to have been.  


It's amazing to look back and see how much impact just one person could have on my life in just three short years together. On any given day, I can look at myself and see a whole list of things about me that feel as though they've always been there... but they haven't. They were the things he brought out, the things he exposed me to and shared with me and taught me, the parts of myself that he saw and encouraged that no one ever had before. I cannot hardly imagine who I was before I met him. Before beer and western boots. Before a passion for flight, which he passed on to me. Before the camera he got me on my 27th birthday – and my love affair with photography that is still going strong today. Who was I then? Surely me, but so much more myself because of him. 

And then of course, it all ended. And everything… as you well know, changed. I changed. And that part, my newfound friends, is a story for next week. 



43 comments:

  1. You have a comment, beautiful friend! This is so heartfelt and real and filled with deep love. Im so happy you are now part of this team of amazing writers, because you have such a clear and pure and hopeful voice. I love the picture collage too. You tell your story with such grace. Love you xo

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    1. Thank you so much for all your ongoing support Kelley. It really means so much to me, for real. <3 Love you

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    2. Beautiful love story...beautifully written. Wish they both didn't end too soon.I have a beautiful love story, too, which unfortunately came to an end here on earth, but continues in my heart. I feel your pain, and I wish you comfort and peace and renewed joy in all your endeavors. Hugs, Grace

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  2. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing the beginning of your story with us. Beautifully written.

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  3. In this age of 140 character thoughts, it is wonderful to read an account of love, loss, and life that demonstrates how profoundly people can affect each other's lives.

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  4. What a beautiful love story you have shared with us. Welcome to a place where none of us want to be but if we must, we embrace each other and lift each other.

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    1. Thank you so much Kathie, I agree, sure wish we didn't need it, but I'm awfully glad we have a place like this!

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  5. Beautifully said and welcome.

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  6. Loved reading your first blog - you are a great writer and love your collage and your story of you and Drew. Glad you are part of the SSLF team of writers.

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    1. Thank you so much Judy - what a warm welcome you have given me! I really appreciate it.

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  7. Kelley Lynn and Sarah, I lost my husband, the love of my life, in 2011, due to an sudden heart attack in the middle of the night beside me. The shock and loneliness clings to me still. I think of him, miss him, and still love him 24/7. Last night I watched a Hallmark movie and saw this phrase that I copied down and memorized. I want to share it with you both and all the others here on WV:

    "Eternity is where true love exists."

    Yes, the love I still feel for my husband, my lover, my fighter pilot, my hero is for eternity. Rich now soars with eagles and waits for me.

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    1. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful quote. I have a special place in my heart for fellow pilot wives - you are right, he soars. You might enjoy this poem I wrote last fall:
      http://our1000days.com/2012/11/29/teaching-angels-to-fly/

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  8. This is great! I could feel the excitement as I read about the early part of your relationship. My husband and I were opposites also and many people said we wouldn't make it. He died the day before our 39th wedding anniversary. My heart breaks for your loss and I look forward to reading more of your writing!

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    1. Oh Donna, thank you so much for sharing a little about you and your husband, and for the compliments! I admit I felt a bit nervous and emotional to write this all out, all the comments have really helped me feel so warmly welcomed. =) Thank you!

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  9. Sarah, so beautifully written. I can't even imagine how it all must feel, but you have dealt with it with such strength and, like Kelley Lynn said, grace. xoxo

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    1. Thank you again Lisa, for all you continued support. You made my heart smile.

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  10. Sarah. There is approx 40 years between our ages, more than you have been on this earth.
    We can only learn from our past, and live for today, and hope tomorrow will come. Whatever time all of us had with someone special, it has deepened our hearts that will be with us until that last breath we take. Long and hard journey that there isn't an easy way but living a day at a time, and hope it is better than yesterday.
    God Bless on this Lords day..

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  11. Welcome, Sarah. Your writing is as beautiful as you are, as is your story. I look forward to getting to know you better.
    :)

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    1. Thank you so much Janine, I'm looking forward to getting to know you through your posts here too! =)

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  12. My beautiful angel. You already know how I feel about you and am so glad that we have met. I'm so proud of you and all that you accomplish every day. Your words have a way of weaving themselves into our very core as we silently nod in agreement to the emotions that you express so well. Thank you for sharing your story, thank you for honoring our stories by helping others to understand grief, THANK YOU for being you.

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    1. Thank you again my friend for the beautiful words and support. You are such a blessing. <3

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  13. My beautiful angel. You already know how I feel about you and am so glad that we have met. I'm so proud of you and all that you accomplish every day. Your words have a way of weaving themselves into our very core as we silently nod in agreement to the emotions that you express so well. Thank you for sharing your story, thank you for honoring our stories by helping others to understand grief, THANK YOU for being you.

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  14. Welcome, Sarah. I look forward to sharing our stories here.

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  15. Wow. I like you already. My husband was a helicopter pilot as well AND he bought me the camera that started my photography hobby. Yep, I am me, because of him. Very well written, looking forward to hearing more from you!

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    2. Hi Tara, oh my goodness! Aren't we kindred spirits! I am looking forward to getting to know you more. I hope you'll get this, I thought you might like this poem I wrote last Nov:

      http://our1000days.com/2012/11/29/teaching-angels-to-fly/

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    3. Thank you for sharing that! It was absolutely beautiful!

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  16. Welcome Sarah. My partner was also a pilot- loved planes, flying and teaching people to fly. He died 9 weeks ago from cancer the day before our 5th Anniversary together. Too short a time together. Haven't even really taken in that this has happened. Still feel like I am stuck in a bad dream. Finding this blog helpful though. Looking forward to reading your posts, x

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    1. All pilot wives have a special place in my heart - its really a culture all its own, isn't it? I'm so SO sorry for your loss, you are right, your time together was much too short. Keep reading and sharing here, be gentle with yourself, and surround yourself with as much love as you possibly can. The hearts of others will be a powerful way that your wonderful husband gets his love to you <3

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  17. Beautifully done, Sarah. I enjoyed the photo collage as well.

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    1. Alicia - thank you SO much for reading. It means the world to me, it really does <3

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  18. Yes, "Eternity is where true love exists". đź’•

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    1. Grace, I'm so glad that you find the quote as accurate as I did. My love for my husband and his for me will follow us into eternity.

      Karen

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  19. Welcome Sarah! I believe your debut has been extremely successful. Your story is so incredible of two dissimiliar people coming together to form a special bond and then tragedy. You have touched me with your words. Looking forward to hearing more!

    Thank you.....

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  20. Hi Sarah,

    As a friend of Kelley Lynn's, I've seen her speak of you a fair bit and have read your story on your blog.

    As much as I wish you didn't have to be on this journey, I will say I'm glad to see a fellow unwedded widow join the Widow's Voice team. I say "fellow" because...my fiance passed September 4, 2004. I think we have a unique journey even within widowhood, and that makes me all the more grateful for the inclusion and support of Soaring Spirits.

    Wanted to let you know if you don't already about the Unwedded Widows Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/unweddedwidows), which is for UWs and supporters. Pinned to the top of that page is a link to our group, which is private to UWs only. You are of course welcome to join either or both. Friend request too if you like--search on Connie Winch.

    Thanks for sharing with us and.... *hugs*

    Connie

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    1. Oh Connie, thank you so much for your love and kindness. It means a lot to me. I was surprised to see that I am the only one who was not yet married (and although I refer to him as my fiancé, he in fact was still a month away from proposing, but fiancé just made more sense to go with now). I'm so sorry to hear of your loss, but grateful to be meeting you.

      You know, i'm actually in the Facebook group you mentioned, I think Sandra shared it with me. But I haven't taken the time to come on really yet. Looks like I'll need to pop in and say hi on there and start to meet some of you amazing folks. <3

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    2. My fiancé didn't get the chance to propose either. I started calling him that after he passed because it better fits the reality that we had agreed between us we were headed for marriage.

      xo

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    3. I totally agree Connie <3 We were just the same

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