I’m Ready to Love Again

I was 23 when I met the man who would become my husband. A few months after we started dating, a close friend of mine asked me if I thought he was “The One.” I had no concept, at the time, of who I wanted to be as an individual person let alone how to work another human being into that equation. I thought about it a bit and I said the only thing that made sense to my still developing, young adult brain…  “I don’t know if he’s ‘the one,’ but what I do know is that he is someone I want him to be in my life for a very long time.” Four years later I said “I do” when asked if I would love him for as long as we both shall live, idealistically converting “a very long time” into forever, and thereby declaring him “the one.” But just six years after that I watched him take his last breath, in that moment realizing that we wouldn’t get forever or even “a very long time” (although as a 23 year old I may have considered a decade to be just that), and if he was “the one” his departure meant I could be living without love by my side for an actual “very long time.”


They say that to have loved and lost is better than to have never loved at all. And while I’ve come to believe that may be partially true, the full truth is that losing a love is so cripplingly painful that avoiding it all together often seems like it may have been the better choice to begin with. While you are grateful for the time spent in love and the memories you made, the reality is that each of those memories has become colored by the loss you eventually experienced. An entire epoch of your life now defined by the tragic way it ended.

And these losses are not just limited to experiences with death. Anyone who has been through a difficult breakup knows that feeling of despair as you grapple with the major changes in your life that come with saying goodbye to a relationship. You were two, and now you’re just you, and it’s scary and confusing and just plain hard. Food tastes different. Songs you once loved now make you cry or scream or roll your eyes. And every plan you made for a future together has now been erased and you alone have to discern what comes next.

Likewise, losing love is not limited to just partner loss. My husband was in a sense “the one,” even if he was only the one for an unfairly short time in my life. But I have a mom who is also “the one” and only one of those I’ll get. My sister is the “the one” and only one of those I’ve ever had, and although my dad actually has six sisters I’m sure he’d say they are each individually “the one” in their own unique way. My brother, my father, each of my grandparents, family members and friends have been “the one” version of that individual that I will get in my life. Those that I have already lost have proven themselves irreplaceable, and as I inevitably say goodbye to others through the twists and turns that life brings my way I’ll have to grapple with the devastation that comes from saying goodbye to the love I have shared with each.

The impact of losing my husband instantly made me want to shut out the possibility of any new love from my life. His manner of death made the grief exceptionally hard as for more than a year we were practically joined at the hip as the cancer gradually took away his eyes, his legs, and his ability to form complete sentences. Everywhere we went we walked in lockstep with my left arm around his waist and our right hands clasped together. I could guide him away from something that was not within his field of vision using only gentle touches, a perfectly understood code that we developed seemingly overnight without any conversation or coordination. And without fail I could somehow read his mind and complete his sentences when the words weren’t there for him. The cruelty of the disease required us to become more than just partners. He needed me and I needed him as this supporting spouse role gave me a sense of purpose like I’d never felt before.

I have never experienced any greater love than to be trusted to care for someone in their most vulnerable moments, and yet the agony of getting to that point is something I’d never wish to experience again. How could I possibly let myself get close to someone else knowing that it could lead to this same type of pain? But gradually over the last year the incredible weight of this loss has become bearable. It’s still there. It hasn’t gone away or even lessened. But there are little rays of sunshine poking through the clouds hanging over the decade of life we lived together. I smile when I think about him and my still frequent tears are now, more often than not, ones of joy rather than despair. And in spite of the potential for pain, I’m confident that I’m ready to love again.

Now you may think that what comes next is an announcement that I met someone, and that I’m crazy head over heels in love with them, and that I think they may just be “the one.” And, that’s partially true. I have fallen in love with someone, but I haven’t actually met them yet. If all goes well, I will be meeting them on or around June 10th.

image0This isn’t how Travis and I imagined welcoming our first child into the world, but nothing about my life for the last 3 or 4 years is in any way how I imagined it would be. We started a pre-chemo family planning process not long after his initial diagnosis in hopes that he would somehow beat a seemingly unbeatable cancer, or at least be here long enough to meet his children. Watching and feeling this child grow over the past five months has been an incredible experience. I can’t wait to meet them and shower them with all of the love that I am so ready to give. I can’t wait to hold them in my arms and tell them that they are truly, and without a shadow of a doubt, The One.

Read my next post for answers to many of the questions you may have after reading this post: https://staringintothesun.home.blog/2020/02/08/all-of-the-questions-you-wanted-to-ask/



6 thoughts on “I’m Ready to Love Again

  1. Congratulations and blessings. As you anticipate the arrival of “the one,” know that God will hold you both in His hand. I love you! – Uncle Joe


  2. Through my tears emerges a big smile, you are amazing! Memories of your difficult journey are with us forever but knowing of the happiness you will be blessed with makes my heart full. I can’t wait to share the news. Congratulations from all of us at Schuyler Rehab!


  3. Congratulations on such a blessed event! He was an incredible man and I am so glad that you will be bringing a piece of Travis into the world; we’ll all be better for it.


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