There is a man that loves me unconditionally…and he isn’t my husband.
There is a man that adores my son…and he isn’t his biological father.
There is a man that holds our hand without hesitation through the good, bad, and ugly…and he doesn’t have to.
He chooses to.
He chooses to give us his heart and take ours with tenderness and love.
After my husband passed away, I did not want anyone else to love. I did not want to entertain the idea of dating when people hinted at it. And I certainly did not think anyone could possibly love my son and I the way Tyler did. After all, he was my husband and Sawyer’s father. Those titles came with an inherent love and natural responsibility. So how could someone else possibly take on that type of role? Why would someone want to take on our mess of a life?
Nonetheless, he has loved me through some of my worst moments and times when I couldn’t even love myself. Often times it takes someone else seeing the best in you for you to realize you deserve happiness again. As a widow, happiness comes with so much guilt and affliction and It has taken me years to truly realize I want to enjoy what I have left of this life. That doesn’t mean that I leave Tyler behind or our life together, but it means that I am able to continue honoring his memory and keep his love in the most sacred part of my heart while navigating this new life.
Widows do not move on- we learn to move forward. I read a quote that has stuck with me over the years, “let me not die while I am still alive”. I understood what that meant to the best of my ability, but I didn’t truly grasp what it entailed. It means that we can give up and give in to our grief, or we can choose to live the best possible life given the circumstances.
There is not anything uncomplicated about choosing to love again, but our special guy continues to show me reasons that it is worth it. It isn’t easy everyday, but then again not much in life is. When Tyler and I met, we were both on the verge of 23 and our only responsibilities were going to work everyday and, for me, taking care of my dog. Life was seemingly simple- we graduated college, started our careers, fell in love, got married, had a baby…and then life fell apart in the most catastrophic way. In a blink of an eye, I was a 29 year old widow with a 10 month old baby and wondering what in the holy hell happened to my life. So no, love after loss is anything but simple. We each have our pasts and tragedies that have shaped us into the people we are and continue to become.
And did I mention the mutual admiration he and Sawyer have for one another. To see the way he loves my son as his own fills my heart with an immense amount of emotion. He has fostered Sawyer’s love of the outdoors, sports, and mastering the things men do in garages. I didn’t always graciously accept his help with Sawyer, but the more their relationship grew I realized Sawyer needed him. He doesn’t try to take Tyler’s place as Sawyer’s father in any capacity, rather he adds to the love Sawyer gets to experience. I will always be thankful for the depth of their relationship and the way he honors and respects Tyler’s place in each of our hearts.
And he does all of this because he chooses us…and we choose him.