On May 25, 2016, he asked me to marry him. Then, he died before our wedding day.
I have sat here re-reading those two sentences again and again and again. I just can’t seem to process the words the letters are forming. My mind can not make sense of what I am reading. My heart can not accept the words on the page. I do not know if this will ever feel anything but surreal.
Never in a million years did I think this would be the story of my life. It is fair to say Mike and I were just getting to the good part in our love story. We were leading up to the chapter where we were going to live happily ever after.
There was no way for us to predict that our story was going to come to a tragic end. Looking back, there wasn’t any foreshadowing. Everything was coming up roses for us. Our life together was magical. And, even as I was living it, I remember stopping myself – in the middle an ordinary moment – because I could not believe how beautifully everything was falling into place. Maybe it really was too good to be true. *Sigh.
Life was good for me and Mike.
Our life together was better than anything either of us dreamed of. And, really, that’s an understatement.
Then, one night Mike went to sleep and the next morning he never woke up. And, just like that, everything changed. Our story was over. There were no goodbyes. And, there will not be happily ever after for us. At least not here…
It’s been four long years since he proposed to me on a warm night in Mexico. I can feel everything about that moment when Mike asked me to be his wife. It feels like just last night; and, at the very same time, it also feels like a lifetime ago too.
Death makes the clock go haywire. When his heart stopped, time stopped making sense for me. I know that a significant amount of time has passed since his proposal; but, still, after all this time, I am not sure what to do with all our hopes and dreams that never came to be.
On this special day, I still wish Mike was my husband, but I know it is impossible. Some things are just not fixable, his death has taught me this. We were so excited about spending the rest of our lives together – as a family – and in my heart I still want to live this life we were planning.
I want to feel that hopefulness inside me again. I yearn to feel that same thrill about the future that I felt when he was alive. But, now, I have to reproduce these feelings of hope and joyful anticipation on own. And, that is one hell of a tough thing to do. But, I am doing it, day by day.
Although my mind understands that he is gone from this dimension, on days like today, my heart yearns for him to come back so that we can live happily ever after like he promised me we would. Today, exactly four years later, I struggle to live in the moment because I am daydreaming about a fictional life he promised me when he asked me to be his wife. I am lost in thoughts about an imaginary life that we never got to live. I continue to wish we were living together under one roof as husband and wife. It’s fair to say that I spend a lot of time wishing for things that are no longer possible. And, all this wishful thinking detracts me from living the life before me now.
Four years later, it is time to focus on the life I have, not the life that was supposed to be. But, this is much easier said than done. I don’t know much for certain, but I can say, I’m not as lost without him anymore. I don’t know why or how, but I am able to live without Mike with more ease now. I have finally accepted that Mike died and he is never returning.
I wrote parts the original blog, “Marry Me”, two years ago; and the good news is that my grief has changed since then. Sure, I still imagine our life in my head, but I do it in a less “desperate” way. I’m less frantic now. I’m more at peace, thankfully.
I know and understand that the life I shared with Mike is over. I accept the finality of it. I never thought I would, but I finally have accepted his death. I now can accept his death in my head AND in my heart. Wow. That is the first time I’ve ever admitted this in writing. It’s taken me, nearly four years but I’m finding my way back to life again.
In truth, especially today, I still very much want to be Mike’s wife. And, I think a part of me always will. I’m okay with this. I admit, it is very difficult to fully participate in life when you still want to be a dead man’s wife. This wishful thinking can force you to exist in a type of limbo. And, l have learned that limbo is a very dangerous place to be.
True living can not happen when you continually shift between worlds. Moving forward, I have to work to be present here in a more fulsome way. In the past, I existed here, and also some place in a parallel Universe. I spent most of my time lost in my head. And, it is exhausting to live like this. Slowly, with lots of hard work, I’m recovering from this type of existence. I’m starting to be more grounded in my life. I’m beginning to live more in this reality. This is big progress.
Life is for the living.
I did not; and I will be damned if his wife slowly dies here mourning him.
The best way I can honor Mike is to life a big, beautiful life. So, that is what I plan to do.
Four years ago today, on a balcony in Mexico, Mike asked me to marry him. He picked me to be his wife. And, I accepted. Then, Mike died before we said our wedding vows. But, in heart, we were married. Mike did in fact spend the rest of his life with me. That is a big blessing.
Still, in the past, I couldn’t be satisfied with this. I could not be content to live a future different than the one I imagined. It just wasn’t enough. And, now, maybe it is. That’s the mystery of grace. I am coming to peace with this mess that is his death. Now, it is nearly enough for me that Mike died happy and madly in love. I’m so very grateful that I shared my life and love with him. Mike spent the rest of his life with me and that does count for something.
Written: MAY 28, 2018