When your husband dies, so do all of your dreams.
How do I know, you ask? I say that from experience. The hole left in my heart reminds me. When I was 26 years old, my husband was killed by a drunk driver. It left me with three children under 7 years old. He was more than my husband. He was my protector, best friend, boundary to the world, my lover, and my future.
Near the anniversary date of his death, I found I was very lonely. I craved companionship. I craved that connection. The kind of connection you only get from another man. Not sex. Not even intimacy. Just a connection to let me know I was still alive.
Friends tried to help. They set out on a mission: Find Sara a new husband. Their intentions were noble. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I wasn’t ready for that. Not just yet. I did need to talk, laugh, and have fun. I also needed to lean on someone. I had no one I felt could share my burden. Everyone I knew had their own.
Once I realized this search had potential, I was on board. And, it worked! Although, I don’t think it went as they had planned. At least not in the beginning.
I did meet a guy. A guy who was already interested in another girl, of course. That figures. I wasn’t sure he was someone I could or would date anyway. People kept throwing us together, and we both kept showing up. He had a great smile and the thought of finding someone to just be with, was appealing.
After awhile, we realized we did have a good time with each other. But, there was this problem of this other girl. We had to have the I-am-pursuing-other-avenues-talk. He was very honest with me. He had no idea that I already knew what was going on. I was okay–with all that. The number one reason? I don’t want someone who doesn’t want me. I was happy being friends. We could keep learning about each other and he could keep working on figuring out what he wanted.
Everyone needs to start where they are. Being friends is what I was ready for. He was there for me. When I needed him, he was there. Holding me while I cried.. Watching movies with me. Helping me with the kids.
After a month or so, we were dating. Still not exclusively, but dating. She was still in the picture. That was okay with me, although it was getting harder to put out of my mind. I wasn’t ready for anything more serious, but I could feel myself falling.
My friends bothered often bothered me with pesky questions. Wanting to put my feelings for him in a neat little box. Wanting clarification for my relationship with Tim.
Them: Is he Mr. Right?
Me: Well, I don’t know, but he is Mr. Right Now.
Them: Why do you let him go see that other girl?
Me: I have no hold on him. I have no right to say anything.
Them: Why are you so patient?
Me: Why would I want someone who isn’t sure if they want me?
We took our time and when I was ready, I told him he had to make a decision. I told him I didn’t want someone who didn’t want me, so if he wanted her, it was okay. We could stay friends. I just needed to know my boundaries. He cried. I wanted to make it very clear that I am fine on my own. I don’t need anyone. I want to share my life and if he doesn’t want the same thing, we need to go our separate ways. I was falling, and falling fast. I needed to know where I stood, where we stood. He told me that I was too good for him and deserved more. I left it in his hands to do with what he wanted.
It took him awhile to make a decision. I even helped him help her through some rough points in her life. For instance, she crashed her car. We cut our plans short to get her car from the tow yard. And when she ignored him until it broke his heart and he refused to ever speak to her again, I talked him into being nice and staying friends. I didn’t want to leave questions unanswered in his head.
I don’t ever want someone to be with me because they can’t have someone else! What a terrible feeling that would be. I wanted him to try to make it work. I wanted her to flub it up so he didn’t want her anymore. I wanted to sit back and watch it fall apart or watch it flourish and move on.
Over the next few months his choice became clear, and he moved in. Big steps! Strange things started happening. When he brought in his furniture, we realized it matched mine. His silverware matched mine, too. His style in decorating, matched mine. There were no questions in our minds that this was supposed to happen.
Within 2 years, we married. He had supported me going back to school, watched me grieve the loss of a husband I loved dearly, and slowly turned into a parent, without me asking. He had gone from Mr. Right Now, to Mr. Right. And he did it because he wanted to. Because it felt right. Because we belonged together.
When Randy died, I didn’t know if I would ever find someone else who completed me. We were such a great match. I’d be lying if I said I always knew there was a plan. Many times I doubted if I would find anyone, especially anyone like this. I struggled with the fact I had been so blessed the first time. I didn’t think I deserved that kind of happiness again. Some people haven’t been fortunate to find one love of a lifetime. Why did I deserve two? I did have hope that true love would come my way again. I hoped and I prayed, often.
Even when Tim and I decided to get married, I wondered, is this right? While shopping for wedding rings, Tim picked out the same ring as Randy’s wedding band. He picked because it was detailed, but simple and he liked it. I sat silent. He could tell something was on my mind.
“What? You don’t like it?”
“No. I do like it. I don’t think you really want it that one though.”
“Why? We have looked at 100 rings and this is the only one I have liked.”
“That was Randy’s ring.”
His eyes immediately popped open. “Yeah. I don’t want that one. Are you sure its the same ring?”
“Oh yeah. I’m sure.”
“Okay. Let’s keep looking.”
I struggled with that moment. It felt like a sign. My problem was deciding if it was a good sign or bad. I thought about it and even dreamt about that night. Randy was in that dream. I was torn between two men. It felt so real. Then, Randy disappeared. I couldn’t find him anywhere. I feel like Tim picked that ring because Randy let him know it was okay.
I have never felt like Randy dying was the way it was supposed to be. I don’t think that was ever in the plans for me. However, I have always felt like since it happened, I couldn’t let it be in vain. I had to learn, I had to do something with my life, and I had to be happy. Randy loved me so ferociously and wanted the best for me, even if it was at his detriment. I know he would want me to feel that love again and I know he would want his kids to have a male in their lives to look up. Someone who could and would take care of them. Someone to love them like he did. Tim did all of that, on his own, without anyone asking. That’s a man.
I will love Randy for eternity and no one could take his place. With that said, I have to also say, I love Timothy so much, that life without him is unimaginable. Tim is everything I need and want him to be–maybe more.
The dream I had of me and Randy together forever may have been shattered, but it led me exactly to the place I am supposed to be.