“I think a change will do you good”- said the wise words of Sheryl Crow.
When a widow re-marries, it’s a complicated situation. It’s chapter 22 of a series that has everyone flipping through the pages to see how it all will end.
“She’s young, she’ll re-marry quick,” a well-wisher whispered to my mother at my husband’s funeral.
Read that line again. These are the real things that happen in the messiness of the reality show called life. There are no directions or manuals or sneak peek in the guidebook to happiness. I never read in a fairytale, “and on her second marriage she found a freshly divorced man and they walked away into the sunset dragging their loads of baggage.”
And yet- here we stand knee-deep in a mix of bliss and bittersweet.
When a widow re-marries, it comes with guilt, pressure, fear, and a lot of people’s opinions. The voices were often so loud I could hardly hear my own. The anxiety of making a wrong decision nearly kept me in the safety of my own nest I’d worked to build and walls I’d stacked around my heart to ensure it never feels pain again.
The unfortunate thing about heart walls is while they keep out the hurt they also keep out the joy. I’ve had to pry each and every board open to let the light in and that means asking for help, taking my time, and making some big scary decisions.
Today, I dropped my darling girl off for her first day of the second grade at a brand new school, in a new city, and with a new grown-up by our side.
I’ll never forget my first drop-off. She was one year old with a paci in each hand and I carried my girl on one hip and my crippling grief on my shoulders. I sat in the car and cried. I cried as I filled out the school paperwork and marked – deceased- by every father’s contact line. I cried as I walked away from this little tiny human and left her in the care of someone else. Each year has been a different version of the same scene. Me alone- marking through the lines of the nurse’s paperwork and explaining our complex family situation.
The girl who waves to the sky, I wrote and explained to her preschool teacher.
As the car door swung open and I fumbled through fixing her headband and placing her backpack on her shoulders, I couldn’t believe we were here, how far we’ve come.
I got back in the car with tears streaming down my face but this time things were different. I looked at the driver’s seat and the man in the green shirt was crying too.
“Oh gosh, she’s so brave,” he said- a little shocked at his own emotions.
We watched that little girl walk into her new school. Her daddy is in heaven watching down on her and her Dad #2 waving by my side.
When a widow re-marries- it’s a complicated situation. It’s also one of my new favorite chapters.