Monday, September 8, 2014


Dirk and me, moments after we co-proposed

As we hike through a mountainous eastern Oregon wilderness, I feel that dip in my stomach, like the moment before you plunge down a roller coaster hill as I think about the man walking in front of me on the trail.

I feel solid in footing and grateful for the chance to be living a life with him. I feel, after knowing him for 8 months, that he had become my closest friend, ally and partner. I also know that Dave would be so happy to know that I was feeling all those things again. It sure didn't feel like I ever would.

When we stop to eat lunch next to a mirror-calm alpine lake, the feelings intensify and something tells me to tell him exactly what is in my heart and mind. I tend to do the vast majority of my thinking about emotions internally and only very little externally so I had held the thoughts and feelings inside all morning, rolling them around in my mind, looking at them from all sides.

When the thoughts won't leave me alone, I know it's time to say something.

I wrap my arms around his waist and he wraps his around my shoulders and rests his chin on the top of my head.

Into his chest I tell him  I'm so excited for our future together.

You are? he whispers wistfully.

Yes. I want to be your wife.

The words feel like tiny tender seedlings, so determined and yet so vulnerable.

You do? he says again, with gratitude making his voice lilt at the end.

Are you proposing to me? he asks.

Yeah. I think I am! The words grow in power.

Hold on he says. And he breaks our warm circle of arms and turns away from me, toward his backpack.

Abrupt and unlike him, but okay, whatever I think. He tells me he is cold and getting his coat, but why in the middle of such a momentous conversation?

And then, as I watch him pull out his jacket and unzip the small chest pocket, I know. I sit down next to him on a downed tree trunk. I silently watch his every movement in disbelief. I should've known. I guess I did, somehow, actually know. In someplace other than my mind.

Will you marry me? he asks and he hands me his grandmother's ring. The one he'd told me about but I hadn't seen yet.

At first, the shock. How could I have proposed to him and then the ring shows up here in the middle of nowhere? Then, the realization. He'd been planning it all along.

He'd been just about to  propose when I beat him to it.

Then, the tears, from both of us and the laughter at the delight of being on the same wavelength yet again. Then a tight hug and several happy, laughing kisses. The ring is too big to fit so we zip it back up safely. It is now so precious to me.

Did I ruin it? I ask him, suddenly realizing that I might have stolen his thunder.
No! he says,
You made it so much more special! 

Relief. Joy. More tears. We hike on, grinning.

Even a year ago, I never could have imagined how much hope I'd have for the future again or how full my heart would once again feel.

Here we go.


  1. Cassie. .I don't post much yet read your writings and all the others every week.
    Congratulations! !! What a beautiful story. .and now a beautiful new memory!
    I have just started dating a wonderful man a couple of months ago and have surprisingly learn that I am able to deeply love again. ..I am 27 months out from losing my John. ....
    I am so happy for you. ...when is the wedding?

    1. Thank you so much. Congratulations to you for allowing yourself to be that vulnerable again. It takes courage.
      The wedding will be late next summer, we think. No date set yet.

  2. What a hike!! Cassie, congratulations - for opening your heart and feeling vulnerable and investing in an unknowable future with him. That you did blows my mind, and sets an example to me to trust in the ultimate kindness of the universe. Much much happiness to you both.

  3. Congratulations, Cassie! I have been reading your posts for a couple of years and know it has been a considerable journey for you. Of all the widow's voice writers, it is your writing that has resonated the most with me. It is your combination of vulnerability and courage that I so admire. Wishing you all the best.

    1. Thank you for saying that and I'm so glad my words have resonated with you!

  4. OMG, congratulations Cassie. My boyfriend ha s been telling me all summer that when I was ready he would ask. Thursday I said I was ready and Saturday he asked. I truly feel that the depth of feeling I learned to accept when Bruce died has made me experience this so much more fully. Congratulations!

    1. I agree. No taking much for granted anymore.
      Thank you and congratulations to you too!

  5. Wow! I am almost 60 years old and had my husband for only 16 years. This hit me like a ton of bricks...I will never have this sort of happiness again.


  6. Anonymous. ..I am 60 years old...and I found love again. ..we are never to old for love.
    Lost my John 28 months ago. .3 years dating. ..5 years married (remarried at 53)...
    Been blessed with love once again. ..

  7. WOW!!! I couldn't be happier for you. Congratulations!! Looking forward to hearing wedding plans.

  8. I am crying tears of JOY for you both! I LOVE the co-proposal...absolutely FANTABULOUS!!

  9. Congrats Cassie! I'm so very happy for you!
    And such an awesome story!

  10. I was bawling my head off reaading this. Crying because Im SO happy for you. Crying because Im soooo nowhere near the place you are yet, and I wonder if Ill ever get there at all. Crying because Im happy that someone else IS in that place to have love again. Crying because I love LOVE - the power of it, the sadness of it, the rarity of it, the beauty in it. Go, be happy, my friend. We love you!

    1. I feel the same way, Kelley! So happy for you, Cassie, but no where near the point of being able or ready to love like this again. At 27 months out, I cringe when friends tell me "I have someone you should meet." or when my SIL (10 years a widow) tells me "You're young. You should go meet someone so you won't end up an old lady like me. It's too late for me but not for you."
      I still have hope for me and my SIL but not just yet. Congrats again, Cassie, and I'm keeping hope alive for myself, Kelley and anyone else who loves LOVE.


    2. Kelley, thank you so much. So sweet of you to say. XOXO

  11. Oh Cassie this is so profoundly wonderful...congratulations. I've learned so much about second chances by being connected here. When Mike died I had no idea it would ever be possible...but the heart is bigger than I knew. I'm glad you share this revelation. What a wonderful story, this co-proposal - something you'll never forget.

  12. Cassie, what a wondrous, amazing thing. I am so very happy for you and your love. Your words have always been special to me -- perhaps because we are birthday buddies (I clumsily mentioned that when we met at Camp Widow once) -- and I am so grateful you continue to share your journey with us. Wishing you all the joy my thoughts can hold.

  13. So happy for you. I love the co-proposal story, so sweet. Blessings to you both.

  14. oh, Cassie, I am beyond thrilled for you and Dirk. tears of joy running down my cheeks...what a story of love coming full,
    whooda thunk it?! and so much happiness still to come. it gives me hope when sometimes just a flicker of a thought, a wish that a great love would be in the cards for me, too, someday. I've often muttered to myself that I am too damaged, but now I know that is not true - if love is meant to be, it will happen, so I send it out to the universe and try to BELIEVE. the photo of the two of you is so wonderful - what a marvelous memory and what a fabulous story you will both be able to tell. many happy returns!

    much love,

    Karen xoxo

  15. I am so happy for you. Love the co-proposal! -Snowygirl

  16. I'm so very happy for you!!! I cried happy years reading this story. I've been following you for a couple of years...I'm not widowed but my mom died when I was 8 years old so I shared the sad and lonely journey my dad embarked on as a widower. I wish you much happiness!!!

  17. Congratulations Cassie! It has been quite a journey for you, and now is only continuing. Best of luck in this new chapter. Long live love.

    1. Welldone! One of our kind has made it out of the abyss. Thanks for sharing your journey. Your words have given me courage even through the tears. I'm getting my groove back laughing,flirting.responding to the male vibe I had missed so much. Dirk is a lucky man. Best wishes and hugs.