On Being a Remarried Widow

When I write, I usually have landed on a definitive point.  There are zero landing points in my life right now.  I’m in a lot of unchartered territory with no bull’s eye to even aim towards.  Step parenting . . .don’t even get me started.  I have NO CLUE what I am doing.  Do I parent them?  Do I have conversations with their mom?  Do I act like their camp counselor?  Do I just pray for them and then step back, while Tony does the parenting?  Holy Hannah?  I have no clue what to do?????????  (That’s all for another post, though)  Even being a widow who is remarried comes with it’s real lack of bullseyes.  I don’t even know which general direction to point my arrow.  

Here are some of my opposing thoughts. You ready?

Sometimes, I want everyone to know that just because I’m married, doesn’t mean that all the bad has been undone. When I would run into people after getting married and they would say, “Congratulations,” I often times wanted to reply with a big dissertation on how it’s great to be married again, but it doesn’t mean that everything is all better now.  Being married doesn’t solve Dave being gone.  Being married doesn’t mean that I don’t miss Dave anymore. Sometimes my stomach still drops if I picture his face or what he might do in a certain situation for more than two seconds.  I want people to know that getting married doesn’t make my life right back to normal. In fact, in many ways, getting married again makes life a lot more complicated.  I want people to know that waves of grief don’t just stop all of the sudden, as soon as you say, “I do.”  And finally, just like before getting married, I am OK, because of Jesus.  He is THE ONE.  He is the healer, the winner in death, the redeemer and everything to me. 

So, some days that is how I feel. 

THEN . . . , some days, I want people to know quite the opposite.  That I love the new.  I love my new husband, A LOT. We had a rough start, but I LOVE being married to Tony. I know he is not Dave and I know that he never will be and I never want him to be and I don’t want anyone else to want him to be, either.  I want everyone to embrace Tony as the man that God sent after Dave.  Not a second best, but God’s BEST BEST BEST for me and our family.  I want Tony to know that deep in his heart.  I don’t want to have to prove that I still love Dave to anyone.  Everyone says, that you will always love your first spouse. What does that mean?  Does it mean that to make sure that is true, I always have to cry when I think about him?  Does it mean that I will always be filled with sorrow?  In Ecclesiastes (and a song by The Byrds) it talks about there being a time to mourn and a time to laugh.  What if widowness and Dave is a weight that I am carrying, that will prevent me from running the race that God has set before me? 

Hebrews 12:1 says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us.”  Dave, of course, is not a weight, but I think it is safe to assume that he could become one, if I made my identity entangled with him, instead of Christ.  

Obviously, I want to always talk about Dave and make sure Spencer, Leah and Macie know who he was and how much he loved all of them and where they came from.   Dave was also a part of my life, and in many of my stories, and since I’m a storyteller, I won’t stop telling them.  But I have to be aware of hanging on too tightly to Dave and to my widowness.  I do feel like I’m missing something on this front.  I feel God challenging me, but towards what direction, I don’t know?????? 

I, seriously, can’t even imagine trying to be friends with me?  I’m all over the place.  Bless those who dare to be my friend and enter into all my deep emotions that conflict and can’t find a way.  Bless you for always being willing to wander through these thoughts and share yours back.  Bless!  Bless!  Bless Tony . . . good gracious!  Who could ever live with someone whose arrow is pointed a new direction every morning.  He’s probably just trying not to get hit with some aimless arrow all the time.  Surely, it won’t be this way forever.  I mean, Dave has been gone, almost three years now and I have only been married for a couple months, so I guess I can’t expect that I could have this all figured out right now. God is so patient with me, as well as Tony and my friends and my sweet listening mom.  

So, for now, I guess I’ll just wave my arrows around and continue to ask God to point me in the right direction.  Thank you, Tony, friends and family, for continuing with me in all of my aimlessness.  It’s gotta be hard to keep up.   

Megan’s Take: May I just say, for the record, that being friends with you is never dull! That’s for sure. 🙂 You are an emotional person. You feel a lot and you think a lot. Your intensity for life is part of what makes you — you!  And we love you for it. I think the thing that hits me the most in this post is the idea that “just because you’re married now doesn’t mean that all the bad has been undone.” Dave’s death was a tragedy. Your marriage to Tony is a gift of new love. I can imagine it is beyond confusing at time to hold those two things in tension. I recently heard our dear friend Kirkie say, “If God allows something to touch you then he already has plans to redeem it.” Your story is testimony of this indomitable truth. Good thing Christina and I (along with so many others!!) are pretty good at catching arrows. You can’t get rid of us that easily. 

Christina’s Take: The thought that keeps cycling through my heart is that grief doesn’t have a linear path. And relationships cannot be managed into a predictable continuity. Even today, imagining that Dave just IS.NOT.HERE is unfathomable to me. So, I can’t imagine your hearts’ topsy turvy state running on some sort of schedule or rhythm. That would be ridiculous. And if you were a robot saying all the right things at the right times, I’m just gonna say it: I’d be bored with you!! So take that, my friend. I see beauty in your journey BECAUSE of it’s non-linear, chaotic-at-times twisting and turning. But I’m grateful for this blog that helps us express what this RACE of life is like from day to day. That’s the real place and that’s where I wanna be. 

10 thoughts on “On Being a Remarried Widow

  1. We’ve never met, but I have followed your story and enjoyed your honest writing since hearing of Dave’s death. Before I even knew of your post today I was thinking about the struggles of widowhood (you are one of several I know of–sad to say). I guess maybe because I personalize every tragedy I ever come across–I started picturing myself in someone like your shoes. The story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt came to mind. The part where the Israelites are starting to grumble and even feel homesick for the old familiar. Now, please don’t misunderstand-I do not equate you marriage to Dave as the slavery the Israelites had in Egypt (oh good heavens–please don’t read that this way) My rather lengthy observation is that I would imagine they felt homesick for the familiar–and that heading into the unknown –even with the promised land on the horizon–was very scary and disorienting. I would imagine that it is similar in the face of seeing your own life story being re-written before your eyes. I think you’re doing an amazing job and I appreciate how openly you share your struggles and things you are learning. Jennifer

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    1. Jennifer, It is SO crazy that you wrote this, because I am speaking in a couple months about the sufficiency of God and this is the story that keeps circling in my mind. I was seriously listening to that story this morning while I was walking and thinking about just what you wrote. Seriously . . . crazy! That story holds so much tension of new and old and trust and complacency and all kinds of opposites being held in the same hand. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I feel like that is more confirmation for me, with where my talk is going and that God is confirming more things in my heart.

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  2. Holly, how do we avoid entangling our identity with anyone other than Christ? If I were to write a blog, I think it would be quite aimless, emotional, and all tied up in a knot of the identity crisis that is me these days! But oh how I love you for pointing us all back to the Lord! He has given all of your arrows to you, and you are successfully sending them, piercing the hearts of so many with your testimony! Thank you for your transparency, for addressing the mess, and for helping me to see that it isn’t all neat and tidy just b/c God provided Tony. I can not wrap my head around any of it, but I love you and will keep praying for you!

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    1. I love that you wrote, "He has given all of your arrows to you, etc. . . " What a sentence. I’ve really been thinking about that. Maybe you should write a blog, friend. I would read it!!!!!

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  3. Holly, your resiliency, insight, and faith blows me away. Tonight you asked how much hope I have. It’s growing by the minute. Thanks for praying with me. You’re a gem!

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    1. One thing that I am struck by, every time I see you, is your spark. I only super barely knew you, before you lost Rob, so I’m not sure if it is something that has grown out of your loss or something that has burned right through the depth or your loss. I do love it. And so, to you. . . I say, right back atcha, sister.

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  4. I love reading from you ladies. I take away a simple thought from this writing. God has made you heart so it can hold the love for both of your husbands. He will guide you how to handle the love and help you to be the best you can be. I believe God has given you a second person to live because you excelled the first time and you have to show others how it’s done. Thank you dear sweet lady.

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  5. Holly, as I read your post tears came to my eyes. I can completely relate to every word you wrote. Thank you for sharing, for being a story teller, and letting us all in to your life. On October 18, it will be 13 years since my first love, Joel died. This time of year is always bitter sweet for me. Memories flood in to my mind as the beauty of fall is revealed in God’s creation. It is a tangible reminder of the tension that you wrote about above. Beautiful fall colors, on a lifeless leaf. A crazy contrast! But some how it all works together. I love Megan’s words in response, "If God allows something to touch you then he already has a plan to redeem it." I needed to read those words today. I am thankful we are friends Holly. Thankful you can write what my heart has felt and still feels. Thankful for this blog!

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