“Some things are forever.” — Wanda


I am a gigantic nerd, and I’m weird. I admit it. I have seen every Marvel Universe movie made, and have watched the television shows produced by the company.  A love for these movies is something my husband and I shared. Watching these movies were moments in time for us to forget what was troubling or scaring us in the world – our way of escaping his illness and how it took its toll on us.

I’m about to demonstrate how weird I am.

There weren’t a lot of love stories in those movies and shows, but the one that struck me the most was the one between Vision – part machine, part human, part Infinity stone and all heart, and Wanda the Scarlet Witch, a being infected with powerful magic and no idea why or how to use it.  Their loving relationship reminded me so much of me and my husband, from the beginning to its jarring end. 

A brief synopsis for those who don’t follow the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Vision was originally created to be a destructive force, and Wanda’s powers were first used for destruction. When The Avengers got ahold of them, they both became forces for good and necessary members of the team. By virtue of their unique powers, they spent a great deal of time alone together. Their relationship eventually evolved into a loving one, such that they tried planning a future together. But like all superhero movies, there was a villain who could have cared less about what anyone else wanted. The villain eventually caused Vision’s death and a lifetime of pain for Wanda.

It would not be too much to say tht their relationship should never have been, but it was the most romantic and real relationship I had ever seen. So much so, that when Wanda was forced to destroy Vision to keep him from being used to destroy the universe, I felt that in my soul. I shed tears with her as he gently tried to reassure her that he was okay and he understood how hard what she had to do was for her.  I could feel my own heart breaking – watching that particular scene took me back to the day I had to let my own love go:

 “It’s not fair. It shouldn’t be you, but it is. It’s all right. You could never hurt me… I just feel you.” Vision to Wanda.

I felt every syllable of that sentence. 

I understood the unfairness of it all. I had lived that in my own life. My husband and I had become closer than we had ever been as we fought his illness. In spite of that, on the evening of  August 29, 2014, I was being forced to let him go. In this case, the villain was the combination of his health problems being much stronger than his body and medical science.

So unfair. It should not have been me who had to decide what was next and have to witness it too. But it was me.

Then a few years after the release of that movie, “Wandavision” began streaming.  All of the press surrounding this show did not prepare me at all for what I was about to watch…and feel.  I got way more than I ever bargained for.

“Wandavision” is a continuation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s storylines, focusing on one character in particular, Wanda Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch.  Viewers were expecting to see more stories and background about Wanda.  But when you begin watching it, the true theme of the show becomes clear and a bit triggering especially for someone like me.  This show was about grief and loss, and how one person tried to survive it. Wanda’s grief and the loss of so many important people in her life overwhelmed her so much, she created a “perfect” alternate life using “perfect” sitcom and television show situations. I won’t go into what shows she copied, but I can completely understand her coping mechanism. I wish I had the power to do that myself, to be honest.

She created the life and the family she expected to have with her love – the one she felt cheated out of. Wouldn’t we all like to be able to do that? To have a do-over where things turn out the way we wanted them to? 


“The urge to run from this feeling is powerful.” — Wanda

I felt that line and this scene. When she lets the reality of her loss hit her, it washes over her.  She drops to her knees, wraps her arms around herself, and begins sobbing.  Then, as the pain overwhelms her, she raises her head to the heavens and lets out the most soul-wrenching scream.  I did the exact same thing when my husband died, and again along with Wanda as I watched the show. I still feel the urge to run from that feeling of devastation and loss. I still wonder why I can’t.

This show depicts grief in a most realistic way. The overwhelming theme was how to survive it and embrace your inner power.  In order to do that, you have to rember that your love did not die the day you lost your loved one. Love manifests itself in different ways. For the widowed, our grief is how we show our love for our lost ones. Grief is love persevering. 

“Sometimes people get it right.”- Wanda

I am always amazed how people just don’t understand grief and loss. They say the wrong things. They avoid the person who is grieving.  They either expect you to be over it on their timetable or worse of all, act as though it shouldn’t be affecting you at all. Why is it so hard? It is a part of life and everyone will experience it.  But I am even more amazed when people get it.  The people who wrote for this show got it and got it right. They got it so right that I could put myself into the story and see how it completely parallels my own grief and pain. The writers of this show wove the grief story so well into the rest of the fantasy/superhero story well and I deeply appreciated that.

There are so many other scenes in this show that had me nodding “yes, that” over and over again, I could talk about it all day. Just do yourself a favor and watch it for yourself.  I hope it gives you the same feelings I had – that my pain was perfectly justified and that eventually I will work my way through it.

My final thoughts: I felt as though I was watching myself coping with loss when I watched “Wandavision.”  I realized that even now, I still loved my husband even though his physical being was lost to me. Our dreams did not die with him…they only took new shapes.  Our love is most certainly still alive.

Grief is, indeed, love persevering.


**All quotes and images courtesy of Disney +/Marvel


Cheryl Barnes was born in Atlanta, Georgia and after several moves with her family, settled in Indianapolis, Indiana. She attended college at Indiana University Bloomington, majoring in Public and Environmental Affairs Management. While she attended college, she laid eyes on Martin “Tony” Barnes and was completely lost. They became inseparable and were married on December 24th, 1991. After five years of marriage, their first son, Malcolm, was born on New Year’s Eve, 1991. After Tony obtained his Master’s Degree in Social Work, the family moved to Orlando, Florida. Tony worked as a counselor, while Cheryl got her dream job working at Walt Disney World. Two years later, their second son, Miles, was born in July 2004. Cheryl left Disney and took a job in accounting at a property management company. Everything seemed to be going well for the family and Cheryl made plans to attend nursing school. However, in July 2011, Tony was diagnosed with end stage renal failure caused by lupus. For the next three years, Cheryl cared for her husband while taking care of the boys and working. Tony’s health deteriorated as a result of several complications until he passed away on August 29, 2014. Thus began her new journey as a widow and solo parent.
Cheryl was devastated at the loss of her beloved Tony, but continued to work and care for their sons as she had before. As a way to work through her grief, she started writing, at first, only for herself. But, being encouraged by others, she began publishing her blog, “Widowness and Light.” Along with writing and being involved with several widows groups on Facebook while raising her boys, she works as a training bookkeeper at an association management company.
She plans to go back to school and obtain a Master’s in Social Work so that she can help other widowed persons cope with their losses. She is also working on a book about her grief journey.
Her hobbies are reading, attending Orlando Magic games, yoga, going to the beach, and just chilling with her boys.
Additionally, she is also the founder of Black and Widowed: A Unique Journey, a Private Facebook group and a contributing author of the book, Widowed But Not Wounded: The Hustle and Flow of 13 Resilient Black Widowed Women.
You can also reach Cheryl through her public Facebook page, Widowness and Light, which is based on her widowed journey.