I am my boss’s Secret Santa, talk about pressure! I got him candy, some silly socks as requested and I handcrafted decor for his office. But as I was reading his profile, this tie came to mind! And so I gifted him my husband’s tie. This is what I wrote on the note: I believe gifts have to have a story. That they have to be practical, that they are better when they are handmade, and that second hand is always best. Like this tie. Though not handmade, it is practical, it is second-hand, and it has a story. Boy does it have a story. This tie was owned by the greatest man I’ve ever known. Had you complimented his tie while he was wearing it, he would have taken it off and given it to you without question. Even as a total stranger, but in return, he would have asked for you to listen to one of his infamous dad-jokes which would have likely been made up on the spot. He was the type of guy who would never leave a room without making at least one friend. He was a NAVY vet who was funny, kind, wise, easy-going, and always stood up for what was right even if it went against the status quo. He would have loved knowing that this tie is going to be worn by an elementary school principal, his best audience after all happened to be 5-12yr olds. They always laughed at his jokes! Don’t be surprised if magically you start thinking up of random knock-knock jokes, puns, etc. It’s likely some of the Wesley Magic woven inside of it. Merry Christmas, I hope you like the story of this tie.
In a complicated relationship with… Grief. About two months ago I decided it was time. Time to wear my wedding rings differently. Wearing them on my left hand just felt fake. Like I was in denial. But not wearing them at all wasn’t an option. So I’ve been wearing them on my right hand. On the days when the grief is heavy, I wear them on my left (so please be kind to me if you see me wearing them on my left). This grief thing is so complicated. It’s a continuous internal struggle with self-doubt and questioning the things that may seem so simple to others. Friends, it isn’t that simple. The struggle is real! Real hard, real confusing, real crazy, real sad, real comforting, real beautiful, real weird, real UGH!
All but one photo came down. No more wedding, His & Her’s bedroom wall.
It’s now just HERS.
I changed the bedding to bright, happy florals. My mom made me pillowcases out of two of his shirts, and I kept his pillow case that still smells like him to snuggle up to like a blankie when I go to sleep.
Widowhood is weird, confusing, lonely, and of course, sad.
But if you don’t let the sadness overtake you, happiness lies in the love that once was and with that comes freedom.
When honestly all I want to do is stay in bed and cry.
But how would that honor him?
I can’t think of anything except for honoring him by remembering the way he loved me.
Man did this man L-O-V-E me!
On our 4th anniversary, he took to the keyboard and blessed me with these words that I will forever cherish.
And this is just a small example of how daily he would show and tell me how much he loved me (even when we fought).
The last paragraph hit me hard. (his full post below)
“When I remember my dad telling. me that day to finish something, to just do something, I can now say that I have and I will. I will finish my life on this earth with you as my bride, my best friend.”
Oh, Bubba. How my life has been blessed to have had you for the last fourteen years.
Thank you for finishing up your life on this earth with me as your bride. (I love how he always called me his bride and not his wife.)
You never gave up on me, though we had it rough for the first couple of years of our marriage. And you put up with so much of my stubbornness. My life has forever been blessed to have had you share your life with me for those short years.
Wes post on July 6, 2017:
The older I get, the more amazed I become by the longetivity of some things – especially now that I’ve gained the perspective of time as a man in his mid forties. As a teenager, I, as with just about everyone else alive, had only my teenage conception time. Understandably so, all of our older friends and acquaintances have much more experience than us and thusly, their experience of time is much more different than ours.
Both you and I have friends who have retired from the military; lived in their homes for decades; been married for forty plus years.
I can remember back in the early 2000’s a relationship I had with someone for five years came to an end. I told my parents, who both liked her very much. My dad, rest his soul, was visibly upset.
“Why can’t you just finish something?! Just do something.”
I thought I was already on that train. However, from the outside looking in, I obviously wasn’t.
Fast forward to St. Patrick’s Day 2006, and I met you; who would know that you would become my bride and partner for life. I didn’t know it then, but now I do and I’m so very excited and eager to build a life with you; much like the lives of some of our friends and acquaintances at church, only our own story.
When we looked into each others’ eyes on this day in 2013, I’m pretty sure neither of us had any idea of the path God would take us on, just like we currently don’t know the path on which God currently has us and will take us in the future. I’m just so extremely happy and excited that I get to travel down God’s path with you, my love.
One of the final scenes in an all-time favorite movie of mine, For The Love of The Game, depicts Billy Chapel (Kevin Costner) after arguably one of the greatest days of his life; he threw a perfect game – no small feat in baseball (140 years, only 23 perfect games).
What should have been one of the happiest days of his life quickly became meaningless as he was hit by the reality that he no longer had the love of his life, Jane Aubry (Kelly Preston), with him to share. He felt empty without her and he couldn’t feel a single iota of the jubilation his fans felt after the perfect game. I can honestly say that when I have a triumphant moment, I feel empty until I get to share it with you.
To quote Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) in Jerry Maguire, “You complete me.” You do. I love to cook for you; I love to surprise you; I love seeing the joy in your eyes, especially when I know that it was me who brought it to you.
My love, mi amor, there are so many things I long to share with you; so many memories I yearn to create. When I remember my dad telling me that day to finish something, to just do something, I can now say that I have and I will. I will finish my life on this earth with you as my bride, my best friend. I love you and it only grows stronger the longer we are together.
The 3 of us belong to a club that none of us EVER signed up for…
The Young Widows Club.
I met these two amazingly strong women through this (unofficial) club (their stories below) .
The three of us lost our husbands 3 days apart of each other.
Kelsey lost her Brad on 2/15/20, I lost my Wesley on 2/18/20, and Sarah lost Scott on 2/21/20.
Today we celebrate (odd word to use) International Widows Day.
We get a day?
So, do we win anything?
How do we celebrate?
How can you help us (or a widow) today?
Tell us that you are thinking about us!
Share a funny memory of our husbands with us.
And say their names!
Being a widow sucks!
We hope that you never join our club.
Now drop everything that you are doing and go hug your husband!
Tell him you love him. And forget that minimal thing he did last night to piss you off!
In her words…
Scott and I were married on 9/1/18. We were friends in college but didn’t date. We reconnected in 2017 and knew instantly that we wanted to get married and spend our lives together. We bought a farm property in Oklahoma and loved spending time with our animals and friends/family. We struggled with infertility since the beginning of our marriage and did 2 rounds of IVF. On my way back home from our 2nd round in Barbados, I got a phone call that Scott had suffered a seizure and heart attach while reaching a college class. Scott was in the ICU unconscious and passed 3 days later. He was an organ donor and saved several lives with his gift. We have 2 frozen embryos in Barbados and I hope to transfer one as soon as Covid allows for travel to resume.
In her words…
Brad and I met in December of 2017. Although both being shy, we quickly knew we deeply loved each other and wanted to spend our lives following Jesus together. We got married in September of 2018. My husband continually displayed the Lord’s love and kindness in all he did and said, including using his degree in mechanics to fix cars and really anything that needed repaired. My husband was born with a lung defect, which nearly took his life in 2014. After coming out of his coma and beginning the healing process, he gave his life to Christ. The doctors were unsure if complications of his lung defect would resurface, but there wasn’t anything that could be done to prevent it… without high, high, high risks.
Brad then lived a healthy and active life, while being closely monitored by his doctors. He had no signs of sickness until January, 2020. The doctors then tried many procedures, however, he passed away of severe complications at the age of 25 years old. February 15, 2020 is the day he went to Heaven. Three of his vital organs were donated to save lives, which so beautifully displays what he wanted to do with his life, and in his passing: to continue to give of himself to serve others and point them to Jesus. It’s been four months and I miss my husband more than words can express. I am taking it one day at a time, because looking ahead is too overwhelming. I do know I will see and spend eternity with Brad in heaven. I look forward to that. But in the mean time, God has me here for a purpose.
It’s amazing how much progress one can make in 100 days!
Maybe this is why the first 100th day of school is often celebrated in elementary schools.
100 days makes a huge difference when one puts in their work!
And grief work is hard work!
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m so grateful for everyone who has helped through the process, because I couldn’t have done all this work without you; including every single author of all the books I’ve read in the last 100 days.
I’ve probably read more books in the last 100 days than I did the entire six years of high school!