February 2nd marked the thirteen anniversary of the year I lost my beloved, Brian. He was only forty-six when he went to be with the Lord. Way too young in my opinion. Our older children were married with children of their own, but our youngest two were a junior and senior in high school. They have spent the last thirteen years without their dad by their side to witness their graduations, marriages, birth of their children and so much more. It breaks my heart that they have had to miss out on having him with them through so many events in their lives. I spend many days doing the what if game wondering if things would have been different over the past thirteen years if he were still with us. Of course, there is no way to know how our lives would have gone as no one can predict the future.
Some years the grief and sorrow around this time of year is worse than others. In years past the day of his burial on the fourth brings me more sorrow than the day he died. This year it was the day he passed that put me in a bucket of tears more than once. Some years the days go by as if it is just another day and I question why I feel that way and then other years I barely make it through the days before and after without feeling guilty, lonely and depressed.
Brian was a great man who was loved by everyone who knew him. He was an LPN for many years and his patients thought the world of him. He was the kind of person who never met a stranger and who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. Our marriage was not perfect, and neither was our family, but we made it through a lot of tough times together.
Some days I feel guilty that I no longer live in Tallahassee where he is buried so I can take flowers to his grave or go visit and tell him about all the things going on in the world. Yes, I did that when I lived there as it was therapeutic, but ever since I moved to Tennessee in 2009 my visits back are few and far between. I ask myself why I feel guilty and I can never seem to find an answer to that question.
Some people wonder why I still grieve for him when I have remarried. To me grief does not end just because you found someone else to love and be loved by. I love my husband, but I did not marry him to replace Brian. I married him to have a companion in my life. Brian will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will not apologize for that.
If you’re dealing with the grief of a lost loved one, feel free to reach out and provide any comforting information that you can or if you just need someone to talk to, you can reach out for that too.
Back in January I had made a shadow box gift for my mom for her birthday using my Cricut, so for Mother’s Day I needed to find another gift idea. This time I came up with a sign. It would be easy for her to hang up in her bedroom and be reminded everyday how much she means to me.
A picture of me and my Mom from 2011 when we celebrated my parents 50th wedding anniversary.
I didn’t want to leave my girls out, so I came up with an idea for them to. I ended up making them a shirt and put their kids’ names within the word MOM. They turned out pretty good and they were both pleased with their little gift. These were all super easy to make. It wasn’t until I made these shirts that I realized my daughters became mothers ten years apart. Not sure why I never made that connection before.
Sometimes the pieces of my life include memories of a lost love who I still miss, grieve over and sometimes hate for leaving me and our children to coast through this world alone. Although the second of February marked the ninth year he’s been gone sometimes it still feels like it was yesterday.
When I met the wonderful man who I am married to, Greg, I had been a widow for six years. My children were all grown ranging in age from 22 to 32 and I had no plans to remarry although I had been dating for several years. I mainly missed the companionship of a man. I had accepted the cards that had been dealt me as far as being a widow, but that need to have someone to share my day-to-day life with was real and something I missed more than anything. All of my kids lived in another state and had their own lives and relationships when I remarried, but to them I should have stayed a widow forever. A piece of advice never in your state of grief promise your children you will never remarry cause those words could bite you in the butt later.
Widowhood wasn’t something I was prepared for although I knew was a great possibility the day my husband had transplant surgery. Prior to having the surgery he had gotten real sick and we were told without a transplant he would surely die. With a transplant the odds were more in his favor of living a long life. We did prepare for the inevitable, although we were really hoping and praying for a good outcome. It was not until three days after surgery that he slipped into a coma that would change not only my life, but the life of our kids forever. The turmoil we all went through during the six weeks he lay in a coma was more than I thought any of us could bare. I put up a brave front for my children, two of which were still in high school, but I was hurting more than I ever really let on. I put the pieces of our shattered lives back together the best I could and carried on. I had too for the sake of my kids. I returned to work after being off for eight weeks only to walk out on a job I had been at for five years. It would be four months before I would even consider going back to work.
I was depressed and most days I didn’t do much more than feed my kids. Most days I wished it had been me that had died. I hated my husband for leaving me alone to deal with the aftermath. Eventually I realized I had to go back to work, for financial reasons more than anything else, as my kids depended on me to take care of them. I know I let them down and I have said I’m sorry more times than I can remember, but it’s not enough.
Our youngest daughter graduated high school, then went to the local community college, which led to her moving out. Our youngest son graduated the following year and joined the Army National Guard during his senior year which would have him leaving for basic training in the summer after graduation and then a tour in Kuwait. Knowing that both of my youngest would be on their own and I would be left totally alone with an empty nest I decided to move out-of-state to start over. And start over I did. I moved to Nashville, Tennessee with nothing but the contents of my house and a car. I moved in to an apartment with no job, no friends and no family.
It made me have to survive on my own. Something I had never experienced in my whole life as I’ve been a mom since I was seventeen so I went straight from my parents to adulthood. I never experienced life without a man until my husband passed away. The experience made me stronger in some ways and weaker in others.
Stronger in the fact that I learned how to do so much for myself. It took three months to get a job, but I did it. I made new friends and I done things I never dreamed possible. I proved to myself that I could make it on my own. Weaker in the fact that I hate being alone. Loneliness is very real and can be very scary.
The loneliness is what lead me to Greg, but when we met I had no intentions of getting married. I kept telling myself I would be okay with just living together, but I knew deep down I would never feel comfortable doing that and even though my children were not happy with my choices, I needed to do this for me. In the three years we have been together so much has changed where my children are concerned, but I do not regret my choices.
With all that being said, I don’t think we ever quit grieving for those that we’ve lost. The way we deal with the loss and grief is what matters. I will always have the memories and stories of the times we spent with our children, which carries me through the tough days.
As I look at my future I know I will survive whatever is thrown at me. I have a wonderful husband, beautiful grandchildren and a future that includes making wonderful memories exploring this beautiful country as we RV all over the country.
Today was the day I married my best friend. After having lost so much six years ago, I never dreamed that I would find another man that would love me for me and be the rock and strength that I needed. I had been in a relationship for two years that was going nowhere and out of nowhere Greg came into my life.
He knew from the moment he met me that he wanted to marry me, but I wasn’t so sure. I played hard to get and even told him I wanted nothing to do with him the first week after we met. But he didn’t give up, he was persistent, and his persistence paid off.
We had met right around Thanksgiving 2013 and by Christmas he had moved in with me. At first we were just going to live together, but after several conversations on the topic we decided we would get married. We went shopping for an engagement ring on the 1st of January, which was right before we were leaving for Santa Monica. I wanted something simple as I’m just a simple girl, but he insisted on buying the big bling. He wanted to get it before the trip so I took the size they had in stock and once we were married and the wrap was added, it made it fit perfectly.
I expected him to wait to “officially” propose in Santa Monica out on the beach, but I was disappointed when he picked up the ring the day before we left town and pretty much just handed it to me when he got home. All for being romantic….lol!
Today could not have turned out any better. We chose a small chapel in Nashville, The Wedding Chapel, to get married in and the only guest were us and the photographer. The chapel provided the minister and music so all we had to do was show up. We didn’t want guests and receptions and all that, instead we wanted it to be an intimate moment just for the two of us. This more than made up for the proposal.
Our photographer, JB Photography, done a great job and even went out to Ellington Agricultural Center and took some outdoor shots after the ceremony. Having the photos of our special day means more than anything as those memories are always there for us to look back on and appreciate the obstacles we overcame to get to this day.
One of my favorite photographs of the day is the featured imaged at the top. I love seeing Greg smiling and happy. It truly was one of the best days of our life.
Below are some other favorites.
Our formal pic of the day.
I love the way he looks at me. It’s like I’m the only person that matters to him.
Another one where he’s looking at me with all the love a man can have for his wife.
I love you, Greg! Thank you for marrying me!
Because we met online, we are two less fish in the sea!