“‘You are doing brave sh-t today.’
That’s what my friend Rachel told me when I texted her from a beautiful, happy wedding I was at after I expressed how hard it was for me to be there.
My thoughts might be all over the place as I write this.
I’m still sorting them out.
I’m still trying to make sense of what I felt.
I’m still trying to process that feeling of raw grief that came over me again.
Six years later.
Yet, it felt like 6 days.
There are things in my grief that hit me harder than others.
Usually, weddings aren’t one of them.
I can still find happiness.
I still see the joy.
I am still happy for the couple.
I am still completely present.
But for a variety of reasons, this one hit me hard.
It was Chad’s nephew’s wedding.
A perfect couple joining into a perfect union.
You could feel the excitement in the air.
Even the weather cooperated.
And then at some point, I saw this banner.
And it hit me.
The Mr. in my Mr. and Mrs. with the same last name wasn’t there.
And the ‘what-ifs’ came flooding over me.
Chad and the groom were like brothers.
So what if?
What if he had been there?
Would he have been the best man?
Would he have given a toast?
Would he have tapped his foot at the dance music because I’m sure he wouldn’t have been on the dance floor?
Would he have been engaged in conversation with his brother-in-law?
Would he have figured out the song that his sister couldn’t remember the title to?
Would he have stood by the space heater making somebody laugh?
Would he have wrapped his arm around me when the night air got cold?
The answer to all of that is yes.
He would have.
Because he was my Mr., and he was everybody’s friend.
And at some point, I looked around and actually took an inventory of the couples we once knew.
The ones we shared drinks with.
That we laughed with.
That we played pool with.
And they were all still doing all of the things.
Yet, I was not.
They were sitting with the people they love.
And I was sitting with a memory.
And that’s when my grief kicked in.
Six stupid years later.
And then strangely, these realizations came.
I may never get married again.
I may forever only be Chad’s widow.
I think I’m okay with that.
Because I’m never going to settle again.
I’m never going to allow anybody in my life who doesn’t fit into my life.
Who isn’t going to make people laugh.
Or tap their foot to the music.
Or keep me warm.
Or figure out the title to the song.
Or at least try.
Because he wasn’t perfect.
I’m far from perfect.
But we never stopped trying.
We never gave up.
And his sister summed it up magically: ‘He wasn’t a quitter.’
And neither am I.
And even on the worst days or events with the biggest triggers, I’m not giving up.
Not on love.
Not on people.
Not on laughing.
Not on dancing.
Not on my kids.
Not on me.
And don’t you dare, not for one second, give up on you.
Because you’re not a quitter either, and you can do brave sh-t, too.
Even if that means doing it alone.
Stay and dance instead of going home and crying.
Your heart will thank you.
And I sign this off to you today, very proudly, and very thoughtfully, as Mrs. Register.
Yes. Mrs. Register. Even without my Mister.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Diana Register of Meridian, Idaho. Her books “Grief Life” and “Grief & Glitter” are available in print and on kindle. You can find more of her books here, and her podcast here. Connect with Diana on her author Facebook page, and Instagram.
Read more from Diana here:
‘Is this the real pin?,’ my daughter squeaked out. ‘Yes, my love, it is.’ ‘From his shirt?’ Her eyes were big and curious.’: Widow’s emotional gift for daughters honors their late father, ‘My hands trembled. It was beautiful, stunning’
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