Conflicted

Things can be replaced. 

People can’t. 

I was happily married for eight and a half years to an amazing man. I was completely in love with him. I still am. 

Our marriage wasn’t perfect all of the time, we had ups, and downs like all marriages do. We experienced some of the best days of our lives together, and held on through the hard times. A happy marriage takes a lot of work and mutual effort, and we put in a lot of time learning how to communicate effectively. We experienced so many of life’s major milestones as a team. 

And we were a GREAT team. 

It is safe to say that there was a huge portion of my heart that could have been labeled as belonging to RJ. He was my everything, and I was his. 

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As we had children, my love for him didn’t have to shrink to make room for our new arrivals. It simply grew to include a new tiny, beautiful human. That is the amazing thing about a person’s capacity to love.

Making space in your heart for someone new, never takes away from the ability to love those who were there before. There is always room for more.

When Ryan died, I felt like that part…the part that was all HIS was left a gaping festering wound, a hurt that could never be soothed. The worst kind of heartbreak.

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It it is still there. Aching, longing, and never feeling quite whole. 

I miss us. I miss HIM every. single. day. 

When I met my new husband, my chapter two, I grew to love him as well. It is strange to love two men at once. I love them in different ways, but equally. Because people aren’t replaceable. 

A new man in my life didn’t fill the hole that was left. He didn’t fix the ache, but he did stake out a new area in my heart, all his. He brought new happiness into my life, joy that wasn’t there before. 

And can we just acknowledge the fact that he deserves some kind of medal or award  for loving my conflicted heart? A heart that, while I fully give it to him, still has love for another? He is compassionate and understanding. He allows me to cry, vent, talk, and to grieve. He is my person, my safest place.

I love him fiercely. I can’t imagine life without him. 

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I get a lot of questions about this part of widowhood. And I get it. Even I am confused when I try to make sense of it all. 😉 

“Are you still sad?” Absolutely. 

“Are you happy again?” Yes I really am.

“Are you in love with two people?” Completely.

But how are these conflicting feelings able to coexist at the same time?

Many people assume that if I’m happy, and if I am finding joy in my life again, then I must not be sad anymore. Or if I am grieving, sad, or missing my husband, that I must not be very happy with my life today. Neither are true. 

Feelings aren’t always so black and white, the way I used to understand them. So much grey exists that I didn’t see before. My heart is constantly torn between missing the life I used to have, and the life I have fought to create over the past few years. I love both.  I also still feel a longing for the life that I never got to live as well. For dreams that will go unfulfilled, and for time I didn’t get to spend, time that I thought I had so much of.  

Sometimes, I stress about how things will be after this life. When I die, I cannot wait to be reunited with my RJ. I have imagined that moment hundreds of times in my head. I also cannot imagine a life without Ryan. I love him so much, and he truly has become a father to my children. They all are HIS children, even if his DNA is only in the makeup of 1/4. 🙂

Thankfully, I can leave figuring out any complications  to a perfect, merciful God.  As for now, I just find comfort in knowing that all will be made right one day.

I can be truly happy.

I can be incredibly sad.

And I can be in love with Ryan Bell and with Ryan Little without either of them replacing or competing for space in my heart.  (Seriously God has the best sense of humor 😉)

Both are perfect for me. 

And after becoming a widow three years ago now, I still am just taking it a day at a time. Life is messy and beautiful. And heartbreaking and wonderful. And that is what makes it such an amazing adventure. 🖤

2 thoughts on “Conflicted

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