Nonfiction | Beginning Middle End

‘Til Death Do Us Part

A Look into Marriage, Death, Widowhood and Living

During our reconciliation period, December 2010.

I never wanted to get married. Ever. I always had a plan that I would have children and that was it. I spent years believing that wedding bells were not in the cards for me. Then, I turned 22 and met a guy at work, fell in love with him and accepted his marriage proposal less than a month after we officially started dating. We got married in September of 2008 in a room within the basement of a courthouse. I wore an empire waist maternity shirt, blue jeans and sneakers. He wore my polo shirt and jeans.

Our marriage was full of ups and downs. He moved into the studio apartment that I lived in with my sister before we even got married. I became suspicious of his relationship with a girl he worked with and he confirmed my suspicions after displaying a deep crush on her that both she and I found alarming. We argued a lot. He left me once and took a trip to Cleveland without letting me know if he was alright or not. I flew off the handle. He moved back home to live with his parents less than a year into our marriage. I moved back home about four or five months later. We remained married for almost six years.

We talked about getting divorced a lot. I actually filed papers but then, we reconciled. That didn’t last long. Soon, we were back talking about divorcing and yet, we were actually having the best relationship ever. I didn’t want to get divorced, not really. I didn’t want to be known in my family for having a failed marriage. I still held out hope that he would come back. In the meantime, he became more complacent in his life. He stopped talking about things he’d wanted to do in his life. He would always have some new, unsettling tattoo every time I saw him. He would start things like collecting tarantulas and then drop it later. I was in college and establishing a life without him. I had friends and activities that didn’t include him. I actually felt like he was disturbing me one time that he told me that he was coming  into town.

Despite all of this, we still made each other happy.  We just sucked at being married. We were really good friends and we could talk and then, there were times when we couldn’t talk because I couldn’t let go of my love for him. I couldn’t even fathom dating someone else until we were completely divorced. Divorce was always this thing that we planned on doing, but never happened. The only time I actually felt like it would become a reality was in late spring of 2014. At the time, I was planning on going back to school and had gotten a new job the previous November.

Then, he died.

I don’t want to get into the details of his death, but he was unexpectedly and suddenly killed in a road accident. His death changed everything about my life and my future as I knew it. There was a lot to deal with and get through during a short time and it affected my work performance as well as my mental health, which had altered negatively when he and I initially separated. I blamed him. That sounds childish and selfish and bitchy, but I blamed him and the man that killed him. I was so angry that he had bought a motorcycle instead of buying a car. I was angry that he didn’t move back home once his parents had told him to move out. I was angry that he had managed to uproot my life again. I also blamed myself for not being more proactive in his life. I blamed myself for making him leave. I blamed myself for not having his children. I blamed myself more than anyone else.

I turned 30 and for about half of that year, I was still stuck in anger, sadness and frustration. I was fired from my job in June of that year, almost a year after his death. I attempted to go to college twice and couldn’t do it. I didn’t write. I was just living. I hated receiving mail from the companies that helped with the organ/tissue donation. I hated receiving phone calls from his father’s estate lawyers. I wanted nothing to do with anything.  I gave away or spent most of the money I’d inherited from him through his job’s life insurance.

In September of 2015, I attended the fall semester at my dream school. I went to class almost religiously and in one of my classes, Introduction to Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, I found my future as a Sustainable Peacebuilder. I wish I had finished the semester out, but I didn’t because I got a job that I hated. I was later hired for a full-time position at a casino at the beginning of this year and started many friendships, as well as constantly showing up (or trying to) for my existing friendships.  I started writing again and even began to imagine my future as a mother, and possible wife, again. I planned a trip for this November and decided to let go of restitution payments that I had requested but went to his father instead. I haven’t felt this good in a long time.

I still miss him. For a time, I would call his phone number and wait for him to pick up. He was the person I would tell everything to and I wish I could call him because he would’ve laughed at the fact that I work in a casino. He would be the person I would’ve gone on a shopping spree with once I got a large chunk of money. He would’ve gone on my trip with me. He would’ve taught me how to drive so I could buy my car. He was that person to me, no matter if we were in a fight or not. I wish he was still here so we could share our lives with one another without being married to each other.

However, he’s not here. I can’t call him. He can’t teach me how to drive. We’ll never go on shopping sprees again. He’ll never travel with me. I can’t call him and annoy him. I’ll never touch his skin or hear his voice in this life, but I’m okay with that. I go to sleep knowing that I will wake up the next day. I make plans to go on vacations. I smile. I laugh. I feel whole. I’m still alive and he would probably want that to be how I feel, but I don’t let that dictate where I go.

He’d always tell me that he wanted me to move on once we got divorced and I’m finally moving on now, but only because he honored our vows. I miss him very much, but I go forward knowing that our marriage wasn’t a failure after all.

Our final photo together, September 2012