Sunday, June 17, 2012

I Promise To Sing To You When All The Music Dies

     The title of this post was taken from the song Marry Me by Train.

      I haven't been able to read much this last year. I just can't sit down and focus on anything long enough. This is very out of character for me and very disturbing. I've continued to buy books, but they just pile up on my shelf. I might get ten or fifteen pages into one and then I put it down and can't finish it. However, two weeks ago I decided to give it another try and picked up One Summer by David Baldacci. I've read a lot of his books and have always enjoyed his work but this looked like a sappy tragic love story and I was less than thrilled. It's about a husband who is terminally ill and loses his wife in a car accident. He makes a miraculous recovery and the book continues with his life as a widower raising his three children. I was a little annoyed with some of the similarities to my life until I really started to read it. When the husband was ill and thought he was dying he wrote his wife several letters for her to have after he passed. Throughout the book he reads them. One of them is as follows:

"Dear Lizzie,
Christmas is five days away and it's a good time to reflect on life. Your life. This will be hard. Hard for me to write and hard for you to read, but it needs to be said. You're young and you have many years ahead of you. Cory and Jackie will be with you for many more years. And even Mikki will benefit. I'm talking about you finding someone else, Lizzie. I know you won't want to at first. You'll even feel guilty about thinking about another man in your life, but, Lizzie it has to be that way. I cannot allow you to go through the rest of your life alone. It's not fair to you, and it has nothing to do with the love we have for each other. It will not change that at all. It can't. Our love is too strong. It will last forever. But there are many kinds of love, and people have the capacity to love many different people. You are a wonderful person, Lizzie, and you can make someone else's life wonderful. Love is to be shared, not hidden, not horded. And you have much love to share. It doesn't mean you love me any less. And I certainly could never love you more than I already do. But in your heart you will find more love for someone else. And you will make him happy. And he will make you happy. And Jackie especially will have a father to help him grow into a good man. Our son deserves that. Believe me, Lizzie, if it could be any other way, I would make it so. But you have to deal with life as it come. And I'm trying my best to do just that. I love you too much to accept anything less than your complete and total happiness.

If you replaced the name Lizzie with Mel; the kids names with my own children; and Jack with Mike, this could have been written for me. When I read this my heart was touched and I knew that these words reflected what Mike would say to me if he could. He would want me to be happy. 
      John proposed. It was was difficult for me to picture myself with someone was impossible for me to picture the kids with someone else...but my time with him has been wonderful...the kids are laughing again...and I said yes!  I'm sure some people are like, "What?! How can she be engaged when her husband passed away just over a year ago?!" I shouldn't have to justify myself, and really unless you've been through what I've been through you can't possibly have any idea. I am not assuming that everyone will judge this but I do think there are those out there who just won't understand. This is not an effort to replace Mike; it is rather an attempt to replace a part of me that is missing. A part I never planned to lose. A part that, once lost, made life unlivable but again, if you haven't been through it you could never understand. 
     John and I met through church. He still lives in Williamsburg and comes in a lot to visit. I must say that we have the most unique relationship I've ever known. John completely and totally meets me where I am in my life right now and that includes the crazy that is my grief. I cannot count how many times a thought of Mike has choked me up and John just put his arm around me and let me cry. He stole my heart when he sat with Tyler one night and combed her hair after her shower. She talked about her dad and how he used to have long hair. He listened to her stories, asked questions, and completely respected that at that moment she needed to talk about her dad. He listens as Mason talks about his dad the artist, heart disease, and heart attacks. He plays video games with them and is sensitive to those activities that they did with their dad. We have talked with the kids about us getting married and they are okay with it. We stressed how this does not change how I or they feel about their dad. This does not mean that we can not talk about Mike the way we always have. This does not mean that we have to tip toe around those conversations. It means we have John here who wants to be a part of our future, while listening and understanding about our past.
     This was not something I was looking for. It is not something I thought I needed or wanted in my life right now. I was okay...or not...just struggling along with my role as the sole parent. When John and I became friends, I thought, "Cool, I get to talk to someone fun and for moments it takes my mind off my troubles." Then he came to visit and I started to visit him in Williamsburg. Our friendship grew and I began to feel guilty when I found myself smiling or enjoying spending time with him. My mind often went to that "What the heck are you doing?" place. I then realized that I have to live my life for my kids and myself and, if John makes us happy, then I can't see any downfall to that. More than anything I wanted some kind of confirmation that I was making the correct choice. I prayed about it and prayed often even before he proposed. I never felt bad about my decision but a part of me needed to know that my decision was right. One night I sat alone in my room crying my eyes out. I was yelling at Mike for leaving me and forcing me to make seemingly impossible decisions all alone and now I faced one that wouldn't even have to be made if he were still here. Then all of the sudden I felt a peace around me. It was almost like Mike had wrapped his arms around me and the tears stopped. In that moment I could have sworn that if I had turned around I would have been able to see him. As I sat there these words entered my mind, "Mel, I want you to be happy. It's okay." I have such a strong belief that this was Mike telling me that I didn't need to stop living for him. It was okay to miss him and honor his memory but that he was in a place of peace. He was in a place where he had work of his own to do and part of that was to help watch over our kids and me as we go about finishing out our life here in mortality. 
     Because of all of these things, I have given myself permission to be happy and yes I think Mike has given me permission as well. In a much earlier blog I mentioned that a few weeks before he passed he joked that he would not want people to cry at his funeral. I've always known that he would not have approved of the absolutely pitch-black hole I had encompassed myself in. I also know that it was necessary so that I could work on untangling the mess of who I had become. Nothing happens in life without a lesson to be learned. I know it's a cliche but I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. It's often hard to see things that way...especially when we aren't getting our way. While I cannot fathom the reason why Mike is not supposed to be here with us, I do have faith that my Heavenly Father loves me and feels my pain as well as my joy. John makes me smile. He makes me laugh. He puts a sparkle in my eye that has been gone for so long. He is kind and thoughtful. John is incredible with the kids and they absolutely adore him. We are blessed to have him in our lives and I am incredibly grateful for him. I have a life-changing decision to make. I am choosing to live life and be happy.



Unknown said...

All that I can say b/c I have been where you stand, is you are doing the right thing, Mel. You are still here-the kids are still here....and you are right. Mike would want for you and the children to be HAPPY. He would want for you to celebrate life. I never met Mike, but he loved you, and b/c of that-he would want you to find joy and peace and contentment in his absence. That's what love is all about. You have a life to live here, and to live it in a dark and lonely place doesn't prove your love for Mike. He knows of your love. He is in a new place and I am sure he has responsibilities to fulfill and things that he needs to master. I am happy you have your smile back. It's wonderful that John loves the children and makes them giggle and look forward to their time with him. And it's wonderful that he will provide a "soft place to fall" for you. I wouldn't worry about the "judges." There is an old saying that goes, "Unless you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes, you have no right to judge." And so it is. You've been down in one of the most difficult valley's that life throws at us. Making the climb to crawl back out is enormous. I KNOW there was a time you felt like the valley would just suck you up in it's vacuum, and that would be it. But the Lord feels our pain and gives us his peace and his grace. And by his grace, we somehow survive. Blessings to you, sweet girl. I wish you all the richest blessings our Lord has in store, just for YOU. Congrats to you, to the children.....and to John:) My heart is with you all.

Ryan said...

Wonderful post and congrats to your whole family. You deserve to be happy.

"Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart."

God bless.

Beverly said...

Good morning , Melanie ! I've been waiting for this blog post & as I sat here on the porch , this morning , reading it & I listening to the rain fall ( love rain ) ....I can't think of a better start to my day ! Needless to say , I'm so very happy for you !! And for the kids & John ! From the 1st pic I ever saw of him on Facebook.......I knew somehow that he was "right" for you & saw a kindness in his eyes that made me feel good inside, for you & the kids. BTW/ I love David Baldacci & am going to have to read that book. I hope you're able to get back to reading , like you used to....I remember you always had a book with you , while waiting att the bus stop for Sebastion , when I would be waiting on X. :) Wishing you ALL good things , always !!

ethompson said...

The black hole you refer to must have been your cocoon. You have emerged a new person and are spreading your wings! Congratulations to you, John, and the kids.

Unknown said...

I am completely thrilled for you! It's funny that I can completely not know you other than what you write on this blog, but as you described John and announced your engagement I got tears in my eyes! I hope you all find loads of happiness together! Congratulations.