Michele is filling in for Michelle D. today...who is currently lounging in St. John....
My best friend, and fellow widow, is now married.
The readers here have a unique view of this new marriage, because the majority of us have outlived a spouse. We KNOW how it feels to be "parted" from our loved one by death.
I'd wager that many of us said the word 'never' if asked when we were planning to date (let alone remarry) after becoming widowed. I can tell you first-hand, Michelle did. In fact, I believe we each said, and meant, 'never' regarding the possibility of another love in our lives as we navigated the waters of grief on our side-by-side surfboards.
For us, I believe the word never was fueled first by pain, and then by fear. During the darkest days of grief we couldn't figure out why the sun had the audacity to shine, let alone imagine a future that wasn't full of painful longing for the life from which we were unwillingly separated. The pain caused by death was blinding, all consuming, disorienting, feverish. I wanted to claw my skin off to stop the agony. There was no room for fear at first, because desperation and disorientation ruled. We were so lucky to find each other. Each time one of us dangled over the pit of despair unable to summon the strength to tie a knot in the proverbial rope with which to hang on for one more moment, the other one stepped in and provided a reprieve.
As the pain dulled slightly, fear came to visit. We began, each in our own way, to mold new lives. We dove into the multitude of tasks and responsibilities that were once shared, but now managed only by two hands. Every day brought a new challenge, and we shared them via phone calls, text messages, e-mails and sometimes late night tear-filled cryfests. Fear hovered in the background, and time and again we pushed it away in tandem, challenging each other to face the darkness and choose the light.
Over the years we have become accustomed to facing fear, choosing hope, encouraging each other as well as our larger widowed community to take the risk of loving life. Because at the end of the day, that was the source of our deepest fears. What if we truly love our life again? Will the carpet be swept out, and the fall into despair begin again?
The answer, of course, is maybe. Life gives no guarantees. Ironically though, hiding from life doesn't keep you any safer than living it large. I guess that is the lesson Michelle and I have taught each other. Live big, love big, and face your fears with a good friend by your side.
As I shared your wedding day, my heart sang for you my friend. Long live love, and here's to jumping off of curbs!