Because of the Love that came Before


Yesterday was one of the most beautiful and hope-filled days I have been a part of since I began this entire widowed journey. We were in the woods, standing tall in the trees, three widowed people and a little girl who lost her mother. The setting itself was magic, and made even more-so when we heard of the significance of that place. For our friend, who lost her husband 5 years ago, was marrying her husband’s best friend in the place they used to go walking after he died… in those early raw months, they stood side by side, taking one step at a time down a path that he no longer could. Together, side by side, they began a walk into the future, not even knowing that it would lead to a different kind of side-by-side one day.

It was personally significant to me in a few ways that no one else knew until I mentioned it… but this is the first wedding I have been to in 4 years. I’ve been invited to many weddings, and refused to go to any of them until I felt able. And this one, finally, I felt not only able but excited for. Excited. What? How is that even possible? In fact, I didn’t have an ounce of fear in me about the triggers it would bring up. To my total surprise, I found myself completely lost in the moment.

As I watched her walk down through the trees in her beautiful gown - shining brightly - I just overwhelmed by the moment. So much love and beauty was all connecting, not just between her and her new husband, but between all of their kids, who had actually grown up together too. It felt like the most beautiful kind of original fairy tale… a real one, not one where everything works out perfectly with a perfect traditional life, but one where love permeates and envelops and protects and overtakes every single hardship. One that bring so much hope not because it’s perfect, but because the imperfection, the flaws in the story, are the very things that brought more love together.

That idea was made even bigger by the fact that we were all there, Mike and Shelby and I - living out our own version of an original fairy tale, and Kelley too, and the loved shared not only between us and the bride but also the entire widowed family we have met. It’s day like this that remind me in a big way that death has taught each one of us more about love than we ever knew before. It’s taught us more about family than we ever knew before. It’s taught us more about living than we ever knew before. And that is how they live on with us… through that endless energy of love that connects us to everyone we meet and love as we go forward.

I was so surprised that I didn’t have a single trigger during the entire ceremony. Especially since Drew and I never got to have our wedding day… this particular event had the potential to be loaded with triggers for me. Yet instead, I was just in awe that I was there, with this man I met because someone I love died, and someone he loves died, and someone his daughter loves died, and because someone Kelley loves died, and someone the bride and groom loves died… all that new love in one place, because of the love that came before it.

Showing 6 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Emily Sull
    commented 2018-06-11 16:27:35 -0700
    This brought a tear to my eye. How truly beautiful it is to read stories like these. I can’t believe how much strength you have for going though a death like this. I have been lucky to not loose someone this close to me, however I do remember my great-grandmother’s death to be extremely painful. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. Sending love to you.
  • amanda beelve
    commented 2018-01-24 17:11:15 -0800
    I am so inspired by your story. I can’t get over reading these, they are so empowering. Beautifully written. Thank you.
  • Steven Jenkins
    commented 2017-09-07 06:08:39 -0700
    We don’t imagine what is going to happened in the next minute or next day. I have read many inspired stories at and I get inspired by reading these type of stories. We don’t feel bad for anything happened in our life. We keep moving on to our future life.
  • Linda Tevebaugh Keeling
    commented 2016-10-09 17:35:04 -0700
    Sorry..pushed post comment by accident….
    Like I was saying, this so beautiful….I lost my John about 4-1/2 years ago….I just remarried about 6 months ago…..and our story is all about the love of our gone persons connecting us together.
    I actually met my now husband, Warner, 9 years ago, at new bible study group being started by the pastor who married us…just a few short weeks after getting married.
    Warner was there with his lovely wife, Judi…….
    Our group became very close and each of us became friends. As time went by, and as one or the other of us went through troubles, we were there for each other. The loss of my John was the biggest heartache our group faced together…..each couple and individual of that couple, were there with me every step of the way…they held me when i could not stop crying…when I said I was mad at God and did not think I could believe in him anymore…and Warner and his wife, Judi, were right there too…..Judi, who had been battling a lifelong battle with diabetes, was right there too, talking about her faith and understanding she was not going to live a long life….and she loved John….and her heart broke for him, me and us.
    Then, 18 months later, Judi died unexpectantly….Once again our group held Warner up….while they were still helping me stand on my wobbly legs.
    Then months later, we found Warner in despair…..we reached out to him…and gave him the support he needed. At that time, he and I really connected because he knew I got it….so we would talk often on the phone and meet up every once in awhile for lunch or dinner and maybe a common interest of a movie.
    It was a few months later that we admitted how much we enjoyed each other’s company, how much we had in common..etc….and Warner asked if we could date.
    I was not sure since he was still fairly fresh in his grief…I was 18 months ahead…..after we talked everything out, we decided to officially start dating….15 months later we got engaged…and 6 months later we got married.
    We have often and still do, talk about how the loss of our loves brought us together..and how John and Judi are very much a part of our love, etc….
    Hearing others stories is so uplifting and heartwarming…
    Thanks for sharing this one.
    P.S. And we live near Akron, OH…in Wadsworth…..
    Linda Keeling
  • Linda Tevebaugh Keeling
    commented 2016-10-09 17:06:11 -0700
    This is so beautiful….I lost my John almost 4-1/2 yrs….and just remarried almost 6 months ago…our story is all about connecting because of our losses too….
    I actually
  • Linda Tevebaugh Keeling
    commented 2016-10-09 17:06:11 -0700
    This is so beautiful….I lost my John almost 4-1/2 yrs….and just remarried almost 6 months ago…our story is all about connecting because of our losses too….
    I actually