It has been almost a month since I last posted on here. Sometimes, life can get in the way of all of our commitments to others. Between the holidays, the busiest time of year at my work, travel, and budgets, sharing my weekly thoughts and anecdotes about life after becoming widowed took a significant back-burner.
But the primary reason I hadn’t shared is that my mind, in fact, my very being, was consumed by something that I couldn’t write about at the time.
An impending proposal.
Shelby and I had been planning to propose to Sarah (yes, the Sarah that writes here on Sundays) for a few months. I had secured permission from her friends, her siblings, and her late-fiance’s parents. I had spent countless hours in the garage making a ring, complete with an onion-shaped “stone”, as I couldn’t use a real onion ring, lest it either A) burned her finger, or B) spoiled and fell off. I purchased new tools to make it, since I couldn’t exactly ask Sarah for her “jewelry making tools”. I had Drew’s parents send me a piece of Mesquite from their ranch to make the box to hold it in.
Cutting, sanding, twisting, soldering, fusing, drilling, epoxying, and staining. Taking pictures along the way and sending them to her friends from a spare phone. Ensuring I communicated with parents and siblings clandestinely to keep them abreast of my progress. Having Shelby help as much as possible to make this special symbol of my commitment to spending the rest of our lives (hopefully) with Sarah. Even the purchases of supplies and materials had to be done under-the-radar so as not to clue my soon to be fiance into my goings-on.
There was a lot of thought and care put into the ring and the proposal, and it was consuming. In a good way, mind you.
On Christmas Eve, in front of Drew’s family, I took a knee, and asked Sarah to marry Shelby and I.
After a few moments of surprise and disbelief, she accepted my proposal.
And that was that. At 38 years old, 14 years after I proposed to Megan, and with an 11 year old daughter that resulted from that original proposal, I was engaged again. It all sounds simple, no? Sarah doesn’t have Cystic Fibrosis, or any other debilitating, terminal illness. She doesn’t bring a child from her relationship with Drew into our new family. She isn’t even tied to a geographic location, as the vast majority of her friends and family are scattered across the country. I love her. WE love her. All told, marrying her should be much, much more of a “no brainer” than it ever was with Megan.
All I had to do was make a ring and ask, right?
Well, kinda-sorta. Leading up to Christmas eve, I didn’t put much thought into the deeper meaning behind it all. I was laser-focused on making this piece of jewelry and planning the circumstances of the proposal. That part WAS relatively easy, because I had shifted from being a widower to the knowing that I wanted to spend the rest of my life beside Sarah, and nothing else.
It wasn’t until a few days later, after Sarah had experienced her emotions, thoughts, and overwhelm that my brain quieted, and my heart took over.
A few days after Christmas, I woke up, engaged, in Seguin, Texas, in Drew’s bed, with Sarah beside me, with Megan and I’s daughter at our feet on the air matress, in the house Drew’s parents owned, with plans to travel to the city Sarah grew up in, where her parents are buried, and visit her adoptive mother that stood in when Sarah lost hers. My parents, along with Megan’s, were 1400 miles away.
MEGAN was 1400 miles away. Actually, farther than that, if you want to get abstract about it. Really though, she has been there all along, right beside us as she was in life. Making sure I was happy. Making sure, above all, that Shelby is happy. She gave her life for this all to happen. Would she have had it any other way? Of course, but she couldn’t, so she accepted it and gave us our instructions.
Is marrying Sarah as big a risk as it was marrying Megan? You bet. Just because she doesn’t have an illness doesn’t mean we can’t lose her at any moment, as I’m sure many of you know. In fact, it may be an even bigger risk, what with Shelby, and having that knowing of death ever-present.
In the grand scheme of things though, it’s not really a “risk”. It never is, marrying someone. It’s a vow. I will promise to have and to hold until death-DO-us-part. The term “risk” implies that I’m not quite sure if Sarah will die. At this point, and if history is any indicator, she WILL die. I am fairly certain of that. I just don’t know when, and to be honest, it doesn’t matter when. I am going to take the VOW, not the RISK to marry her. To bring her into Shelby and I’s life more fully. To always honor our past lives with Megan and Drew, but just the same, honor our own lives together. Death be damned.