Like everyone else who shares the title “widower” or “widow”, I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t kick sleeping dogs or twist baby toes to make them cry. I can’t imagine what I did that pissed off the devil (or God) to get me to this place but here I am. Here you are. I’m not going anywhere so I might as well be polite and introduce us (me and my wife – we come as a package.)
I’m Chris Weaver. But I’m hesitant to draw the attention toward me. I’m just a guy who fell in love with a girl who happened to be the most fantastic woman in the world… and then she died. Now I’m the scribe, both for her and for me as I move beyond our loss. (I say “our loss” because we both lost: lost time, lost memories, lost love, lost experiences, lost pretty much everything.)
On June 14, 1999 this charming, delightful woman named Maggie Pilat walked into my life. It was immediately obvious to both of us that we had a very unique connection. Time has proven that, back then, we clearly had no clue how perfect a match we were. From that day forward we were inseparable (other than three pesky years in law school.) We were perfect together – like the hands of a higher force molded one for the other. When we met it was if my soul said “Ah, there you are! I’ve been looking for you!” I might say that June 14th was the luckiest day of my life. But reality is that every day I spent with her was the luckiest day of my life. Maggie might have said the same (I wish you could still ask her.) So, imagine if you will how that feels – to have lived 3,612 days with your best friend, your perfect match. It took a long time for us to find each other but we finally did. We were the luckiest couple on earth. I was the luckiest man on earth.
If that’s not enough, the blessing of a fair amount of luck early in my career helped sweeten our time together. During the early 2000s, we enjoyed a lifestyle of silliness and indulgence together – romping, laughing, and exploring. I couldn’t have shared that time with a more adventuresome, enjoyable, appreciative and exciting person. We lived a fairy tale life of travels, food, and toys. What great fun it all was!
On February 28, 2004, I was privileged to watch my then-girlfriend, dressed all in white, walk arm-in-arm with her brother Virgil past friends and family while smiling the most beautiful smile I had ever (and still have ever) seen. Climbing the stairs, looking radiant, she took her place beside me on stage as my equal to proclaim our love and devotion to each other to all who witnessed. We became husband and wife.
On February 29, 2004, we did it all again, but this time in Las Vegas with Elvis leading the ceremony with 30 or so of our closest friends playing along. See, the first wedding was her white wedding. This wedding, on leap day, was mine. She was dressed as Marilyn and I, James Dean. It was just another chapter in the fairy tale that was our life.
On January 5, 2007, while Maggie was in her final quarter at Baylor, The Cancer called. Colon cancer, Stage 4. Our lives instantly turned into a whirlwind of surgeries, incomprehensible drug names, final directives, tests, and hospital stays. It was unpleasant. All of it. But through it all, she kept smiling.
Despite the diagnosis, we continued living our lives fully. While undergoing treatment to knock back the disease, she graduated from Baylor Law School, took (and passed) the bar exam, opened her own law practice and helped many people who were themselves having a tough time. She also traveled to Wyoming, Greece and Ireland; hosted an art show featuring more than 40 of her own fantastic paintings; and helped me raise two puppies named Kali and Niko. Likewise, I enrolled in and graduated from a business school called Acton with my MBA. We followed our dreams despite The Cancer. Every day we laughed, celebrated and had a great time. We were good at having a great time – REALLY good. Every day she smiled. As best we could, we made The Cancer a part-time gig.
Eventually, we couldn’t do that anymore. Eventually, fighting The Cancer took over our lives. Then it got bad. Then it got worse.
But she kept smiling.
On May 4, 2009 at 7:30PM she stopped smiling.
It took me a long while to remember how to smile again. Smile, heck, it took me a long while to FEEL again. Eventually, with the gentle and loving help of friends, I did. Now I can smile and laugh. I can even remember without crying. But my heart still beats with quite a limp.
Today, a mere two days from the two-year anniversary of her Angel Day, I feel I am more healed than not, more stable than wobbly and more happy than sad. I’ve had nearly five years of mourning now. The first three years my Angel held my hand. The last two she’s held my heart.
I’m honored to be able to share my travels down this road with you. I wish I wasn’t here. I wish you weren’t here. But since we are, let’s travel together for a while – you, me and Maggie. (Did I mention we come as a package?)