Those two words. That one question. It changes everything and leaves a permanent mark
He caught my attention from that first instant, from his ‘life of the party’ persona to his devil-may-care attitude. But we were so different. Too different. I told myself it would never work out between us, and when I met someone else – a mutual friend by chance – I knew it just wasn’t meant to be. But the question never left: what if?
A few years went by and I was overjoyed when my new love opened a familiar intricate box to reveal an engagement ring – a family heirloom. Full of dreams about our future and plans for the big day, I was ready to commit to this next stage of life. Whatever ‘what ifs’ there had been were gone, and I was so in love.
On my wedding day, familiar faces filled the church, including his. We shared a passing smile and knew that we would forever be ‘just friends’. And we were okay with that. We both had our own stories to get on with, and our tales wouldn’t intertwine. I heard he was leaving shortly for a backpacking trip around Europe then South America and suspected this would be the last time I would see him for a while.
The thing with fairy tales is though, they never tell you what happens after the happily ever after. What if one story ends? Is there room to start again?
It was several months after our wedding day, I heard a knock at the door and opened it to find two solemn looking policemen; my heart sunk. The rest was a blur. Their words were jumbled but I managed to grasp that there had been a terrible car accident. My husband was gone.
The thing with FAIRY TALES is though, they NEVER tell you what happens after the HAPPILY EVER AFTER. What if one story ends? Is there room to START AGAIN?
That kind of grief knows no bounds, and though it changes over time, the songs, photographs and memories still stir up emotions. It was our story, and even though it was far too short, it didn’t make it any less full of meaning.
When I heard he was back from his travels, I was still healing, and life was in a state of limbo. Gradually, we spent more and more time with each other, and while he was a huge support, he always gave me space. It wasn’t until a couple of years passed, that I was ready for the shift in our relationship to develop.
Though there is never a clearly defined timeline for grief – and at times it seems like there is no end – it helped to feel supported and have a connection with another human. I honestly didn’t know whether my heart would ever feel that way again, but it did… so there’s that silver lining.
The time spent with him turned from a devoted friendship with potential to a romantic relationship, and when we were ready there was a chance for a whole new bright future with the presentation of a diamond ring.
These days, when it comes to putting everything into perspective after what happened, a favourite quote of mine helps, it reads: “This is my one and only life, and it is a great and terrible and short and endless thing, and none of us come out of it alive.”
My first husband and I had a beautiful love story, and now I’m lucky to have the chance to love and be loved again! It’s a little like lightning striking the same place twice, but sometimes you must put yourself out there again if you’re going to get that same spark twice in a lifetime.