When I first was able to entertain the thought of marrying again, I was certain that I would fall to pieces when asked to utter the phrase, "till death do us part." Those four words mean something completely different now that I know what parting actually feels like. In fact, I often teared up when discussing my fear of this phrase with Michelle...before there was any threat of actually having to say it! So as my wedding to Michael approached, I was nervous about the vows section of our ceremony. Would I be able to speak?
As with so many other milestones on this widow journey, I was surprised to discover that the lead up to the ceremony was much more nervewracking than the actual moment. I found myself overcome with joy that Michael and I made it. Together we allowed grief to coexist with love, though the concept may not make sense to many other people. He didn't require me to walk away from my widowhood in order to become his wife. With the assurance that my love for Phil was safe, my love for Michael found room to grow.
This love includes my kids, my family, my friends both old and new, and my widowed community. Finding someone who could embrace every part of my life is a blessing I experience with awe, and instead of crying all I could do was smile.
But, I will share a secret with you. When Michael and I finally laid down at the end of a wonderful evening full of love, laughter, and friendship...I cried and cried. When he asked me what was wrong I said, "I don't think I believed until right this minute that this day would actually come." I explained to him that I feel like I held my breath for the two years we dated, waiting for the other shoe to drop. He kissed me on the head and said, "Don't worry, both my shoes are still on." ;)
I write this today being able to very clearly recall saying the words, "No one will ever measure up to Phil." The journey that has led me to the place I am today has been equal parts terrifying and amazing. This post is not intended to imply that being married again will wipe away all the pain of loss. Nor do I believe that marrying again is somehow mandatory as proof of healing. I just wanted to share with you my reality, which is that I don't have to trade in one love for another...I can have both.