The biggest difference I notice, these days, is that I’m not depressed. I’m finally not depressed. I guess on some base level, I had come to believe that I would always feel sad, that “sad” had taken over the neutral span on my emotional spectrum, that “neutral” had shrunken to a mere splinter of what it once was, and that happiness was at the tippity-top, still just as active as it always was, except not as often.
Marrying Jonathan closed the door on my active grief, finally, and now grief is as it should be, dormant in the most personal, private corner of my mind. I am in love, truly in love, with my husband, my living husband, and Chris has become a very cherished memory of a very cherished first husband. I feel sadness for him for all that he had to endure, but I know from the deepest part of my soul that all is as it should be. Everything is as it was always meant to be. I can see more clearly than ever that I was supposed to meet Chris, I was supposed to fall in love with him and marry him, we were supposed to learn a great lesson by moving 6,000 miles away and experiencing financial hardship and loneliness together, that we were supposed to come to the realization that love was all that mattered, that he was supposed to get cancer and die, and that I was supposed to grieve the great loss I suffered in losing all of the many wonderful aspects he encompassed. That was the journey that was always meant to be ours.
My journey is not new, and it’s not over. I’m on the same journey I have always been on. Me and Jonathan, Jonathan and me are what’s meant to be, now.
I find myself periodically terrified that Jonathan could die, too. I try not to think about it. How ironic would it be if I thought I learned all of my lessons about death, only to…oh, nevermind. Thoughts like that are a waste of time that could be spent enjoying his company and our love.
Our wedding was lovely. Our ceremony, even lovelier. The premise was “The Second Time Around” since I had lost my husband to cancer and Jonathan had experienced a divorce. We openly acknowledged our losses on our wedding day in front of our loved ones, admitting that neither of us would be the people we are today without our own personal past experiences. In fact, without our experiences, we may not have ever fallen in love with each other, at all.
Life is a beautiful, sometimes extremely trying journey during which we meet others who change us, others from whom we learn valuable lessons. The most beautiful part of life is that it’s not over until it’s over. We get chance after chance after chance to be happy. Past sadness only gives us the capacity to achieve more future happiness. The two, sadness and happiness, work in tandem.
I’m here. I never thought I would ever again feel as happy as I do now. Six and half years is a long time to grieve, but now that I’m through the hardest parts, I can see how much I have gained and grown from the experience of losing a spouse. I can now say the word “husband” and know that I mean Jonathan. And I can now also say that same word and know when I’m talking about Chris.
And most importantly, I can now know that both of those scenarios are okay.