Wednesday, July 4, 2007, Jon entered my life

Monday, April 18, 2016, he was gone

That is exactly 8 years, 9 months, 2 weeks.

458 weeks and 5 days building our future

3211 days full of laughter and tears, playing and fighting,

77,064 hours learning how to love each other well.

4,623,840 minutes both mundane and extraordinary

277,430,400 seconds of life lived together.

It’s now been 6 months since I lost the man I spent over a third of my life loving. While memories and regret kept me awake in the small hours of the morning, I am more pensive today than I am sad. It could be that I have become stronger in the last 6 months, it could be I have a very active toddler keeping me busy and distracted, or maybe I’ve moved into a different stage of grief. (Not that I have ever followed any of the stages everyone talks about.) I’m not sure, but today my thoughts have been looking over my past and the idea of my future.

I think perhaps it started this morning as I sat in Jocelyn’s room scrolling through Facebook while she pulled out every article of clothing from her dresser. I received a friend request from someone I didn’t recognize. I clicked on his profile and saw he was two years a widower. I’m guessing he had found me through the young widow/er Facebook group I just joined. I never accept friend requests from people I don’t actually know, but this time I hesitated. Maybe it was because he was really attractive in the same situation as me or maybe because he has a daughter slightly older than Jocelyn, but for a moment I considered accepting his friend request and seeing what came of it. But then I realized something: starting from scratch with someone is going to be exhausting. So I deleted the request.

When I consider all of the time it required and the trials Jon and I had to overcome in the 3211 days it took for us to get to the depth of love and understanding we reached… I don’t want to even think about starting that journey from the beginning again. But at the same time, I do want to think about it. I know I am not going to spend the rest of my life alone. The fact is, it’s very likely that I will end up being with someone much longer than I was with Jon. That both saddens me and gives me hope.

I’ve been listening to satellite radio, my solution to finding safe stations. I’ve enjoyed listening to music that isn’t found on the regular radio stations and last week I heard a song I hadn’t heard before.

Oh When I am married
there will be no magic words
there will be no transformation
just a white-dressed girl
and we will tie ourselves together
with a spoken solemn vow
and we will fight for one another
till they lay us in the ground
cause I am yours and you are mine
I am yours and you are mine
and there’s a love that grows between us
like a gently creeping vine
I am bound to fail you lover
I am bound to let you down
oh but do not give up on me
how I long to make you proud
and in my heart there is an ocean
throwing waves upon the shore
and if you go from me my darling
they will not crash anymore
Oh and when I am older
and my eyes no longer shine
still I’ll long to see you lover
oh you are my columbine
I have seen the mighty river
and I’ve seen the moon and stars
and I know there is no other
that could penetrate my heart
how you penetrate my heart
by Wilder Adkins

Not only did I feel like it was the most true-to-life love song I’d ever heard, but for the first time, instead of a love song reminding me of Jon, it made me think of someone else. Who that someone remains to be seen, but the fact that my mind went in that direction so easily startled me. One of the lines echoed in my mind for the rest of the day. “There’s a love that grows between us, like a gently creeping vine.” It reminded me of this quote:


(if you haven’t figured out by now I am a collector of beautiful prose and clever turns of phrases)

I have decided that this quote and that song are what I desire for my future. If I am to find love again, it’s not going to be online. It’s not going to be on a blind date. It definitely isn’t going to be in a bar or any of the other traditional places our culture tries to find love these days. Those avenues take too much time and energy, both of which I need to invest in myself and my children.

If I am to find love again I feel like it’s going to be so soft in its approach that I won’t notice at first. There’s going to be a foundation already laid upon which to build a relationship. If I have learned anything about love in my life it’s that flashy love burns out quick. I don’t want fireworks that dazzle in the sky for a moment and then disappear. I want a slowly building fire that will keep warm through the cold nights.

I know this is an odd subject to be writing about on the 6 month anniversary of my husband’s death. Honestly, I had no idea that this was the direction that my thoughts were going to go today. It might be surprising or offensive to some. When is it socially acceptable for a widow to start thinking about loving someone else? I’m pretty sure it’s longer than 6 months. I’m feeling rather guilty or maybe disloyal for taking such thoughts so seriously. I’m probably not ready for a relationship at this point. Then again, how will I ever know when I’m ready if I don’t think about such things? I have to let light into that section of my heart again. A wound cannot heal without fresh air. So I guess that’s what I’m doing. Slowly testing the strength of my heart.

That being said, I do miss him terribly. I wish he was here. I wish I was cheering him on as he watched his big dreams come true before his eyes. It wasn’t right that his life was cut short. It’s not right that I am forced to navigate so much uncertainty alone. But I am choosing to set my mind on a hopeful future rather than keeping my eyes fixed on my painful past.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.