Unlikely Community

09_24_09.JPGWhen Phil died on August 31, 2005 Matt and Liz Logelin were a happy couple with their whole lives ahead of them. As my body writhed in pain at the violent removal of my husband from my life, Matt was thinking about his next trip with Liz and the adventures that traveling the world with the love of his life would surely bring. While I searched for a new way to define myself in the role of a widowed person, Matt chose a ring for Liz to wear that would identify her as his wife. As my days passed in a haze of pain, his were filled with the clarity of purpose that comes from finding the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. We couldn't have been more different, Matt and I. Our lives were on completely disparate paths, until fate intervened.

On March 25, 2008 Matt's path tragically converged with mine. The day before he knew only hope and promise, but the death of his wife introduced him to despair and tragedy. Losing his young wife, the day after she gave birth to their first child, changed the course of Matt's life. That day he and I began heading towards each other, drawn by the power of shared experience and compelled by a desire to not allow death to have the last word. 

Matt's journey through widowhood is chronicled on his blog mattlogelin.com, and his desire to create a legacy to Liz and their love is spoken clearly through his work in founding the Liz Logelin Foundation. I am honored to be a board member for this organization, and included in the work they do to support widowed parents through the devastation that follows the loss of a spouse. This photo was taken last weekend after the second 5K benefiting the LLF. The 5K was followed by a wildly successful Gala that raised money to provide grants to widows/widowers who are struggling financially after the loss of their spouse. 

When I consider how different Matt and I are, I have to laugh. How would we have ever found each other while we moved in different circles, lived our unique life stories, and followed our hearts into our separate futures? And yet, we are the same. We now know the pain of loss. We now know that despair can kill you. We now know what wishing to be dead feels like. We now know that fighting the uphill battle of widowhood is best done with an army of people who understand the struggle. We now know that giving back is the best medicine. We now know that the unlikely community of widowed people that we both serve are generous, compassionate, and inspiring.

Though I wish I could have met Matt by some other whim of chance, I am proud to say that he is my friend. Congrats Matt on all you have done to honor Liz, you have certainly made her proud.

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