This Saturday was National Husband Appreciation Day. It was a day I want to celebrate. It is also a day that left me feeling very torn. As a remarried widow, I want to sing the praises of my new husband. Yet at the same time, I don’t want to forget how wonderful my late husband was.
Jared, my late husband, was my first true love. He was the man who taught me to never take a day for granted. To live in the moment. That none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. His life and his death shaped who I am. He loved me 100%. Every day. He love me completely and unconditionally. He always put my needs and wants ahead of his own. Even when he was sick, he worried about me first.
And he was an amazing dad. Loved our boy like there was no tomorrow. Coached his baseball and football teams. Helped him with his homework every night. Played catch with him in the yard. Taught him how to ride a two wheeler. And then taught him how to ride a dirt bike. He was very much a hands-on dad. Even when he was sick and couldn’t breathe, he was there for Steven. His face would just light up and he would beam with pride when he talked about our boy. How I wish Steven has been able to spend more than 10 short years with his dad.
Jared had cystic fibrosis. When he was born, his parents were told he would not live to the age of 10. But by the grace of God, the help of medical science, and his long transplant, he lived to be 37. He lived more in his 37 years than most adults could do in multiple lifetimes. We made so many memories. Had so many adventures. Just six weeks before he died, we took a four week holiday. Jared was sick and we had to rest frequently, but we took the holiday because he said I would have those memories forever. That’s the kind of man Jared was. He wanted Steven and I to be happy. To have a lifetime of memories. To smile when we thought of him.
Jon, my new husband is a fantastic man. He willingly chose to love a widow. To jump on the crazy train that is my life. Knowing that there’s a part of my heart that would always love another. And at the same time believing I would love him with complete devotion. He chose to be a father figure to my son. He chose to pick up and relocate his life because he didn’t want my son and I to have to go through any more changes.
He will never understand my widow journey. And that’s a good thing. I wouldn’t want him to. Just as I will never understand what it’s like to be divorced. And despite, or maybe because, our differences and our experiences, our lives together work. I am a different wife than I was with Jared. I refuse to settle. Life is too short to not be happy. So if I want something, I go for it. My new husband is black and white, very literal. I am so not. But together we work. I say he is my anchor, he helps keep me grounded. And he says I am his wings. I’ve taught him to fly, to live life to the fullest.
If someone asked me when Jared died if I was going to fall in love again, get remarried, and be happy with someone new, I would’ve said no. Absolutely not. But I am. I am happy. And my happiness now does not erase the happiness I had with Jared. It’s because of Jared, that I can be so happy now. It’s because of my marriage to him that I am a better wife to Jon. It’s because of his love that I love so freely.
For National Husband Appreciation Day, I honor both my husbands. The one who left this life way too soon. And the one I pray to grow old with. They are both wonderful men. Men who love me unconditionally. Men who deserve to be honored.
Have you heard about Hope for Widows Foundation’s annual virtual Widows of Hope 5K on May 15 and 16? Registration is now open! For details, FAQ’s and to register/support go to: https://racewire.com/register.php?id=12122 Anyone can join! Whether you are a widow, widower, or a friend/family member showing support, or walking in the loss of another family member, everyone is welcomed to participate. The deadline to register is May 15, 2021. The proceeds will directly support widows directly through their annual financial Restoring Hope and Peace Grants, Sunshine Boxes program, and our Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program.