I was headed out the kitchen door on my way to work that carefree July morning in 2006 when a smiling Steven called to me, “Goodbye, Gorgeous! See you later!”
He was standing behind the breakfast bar dressed in old shorts and a T-shirt with his hair in a peculiar bed-head fashion and his eyeglasses tilted to one side. Everything in his manner suggested a man deeply in love with life.
Little did I know that was the last time I would see my dear husband alive.
Our story began during the fall of 1973, when I attended a high school homecoming dance with a different boy. While we were taking a break from dancing, I noticed Steven whirl by on the dance floor with his date, and let me tell you, ladies, he was absolutely dreamy!
I had no idea who he was, but we made eye contact for a moment. There was something innocent, loving, and magical in that simple glance we shared. Honestly.
I couldn’t get him out of my mind the rest of the night, and apparently neither could my date, as I realized on my very cold and lonely walk home from the dance.
That year I happened to be in a group called “Flag Corps” that marched with the school band at parades and sporting events.
One winter day as we were practicing marching in formation in the gym, I spotted Steven marching toward me carrying the biggest tuba I had ever seen in my life and blowing into that thing like a gale force wind.
He smiled at me, and my heart melted.
Eventually we connected on a band trip and we became constant companions. There was laughter, silliness, dancing under the stars, and many stolen kisses – during the submarine races of course!
I was sweet 16 and he was 18.
You might think that’s a bit too young to know what real love is, but we knew almost immediately that God had a plan for us because it was written on our hearts.
We married after my freshman year of college and found that being married so young could be a challenge and a blessing all at the same time. We wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Since so much had been given to us in the way of love during those early years, much was to be expected of us also. We suffered through financial hardship, growing pains, and finally the most heartbreaking event of all: the death of our precious son Daniel.
And then, just 28 months after Daniel’s passing, a blood clot stole my husband, Steven, from me on that fine July day in 2006.
The word “devastated” cannot begin to describe the sorrow that became my daily bread. I wanted to die also, but God had another plan for my life. He answered my prayers in very unexpected and profound ways, bringing joy back into my life, which I now live with great anticipation each day.
It is both an honor and a privilege to have been asked by CatholicMatch to share my story with you in a weekly blog, which will not only focus on single life but the special plight of widows and widowers.
I guarantee you that this is a love story, as only our heavenly Father could write. There will be love, laughter, heart-wrenching sadness and finally, my surrender to God’s will in a quest for hope and healing.
I sincerely hope that my journey as a young widow will encourage each and every one of you to cherish this rich faith life we have been given as a gift.
I invite you to join me at “Faith, Hope & Love” each Sunday as we discuss all the issues that weigh on the widowed: the in-law factor; dynamics of celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays on your own; mysteries and challenges of dating again; becoming a single parent/grandparent; learning to do tasks previously handled by a spouse; attending social functions alone; taking off the wedding rings; listening to your song again; the healing power of pets; and, of course, exploring the possibility of love the second time around.