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Friday, May 27, 2011

Contingency plan...

This morning I went to a meeting with the committee planning the 5k in honor of Andie. It feels good to be doing something to honor and celebrate his life. I am pleased that I have chosen this as a way to mark the one year anniversary of his death, and I hope that it can be a peaceful day for those who loved him to come together in friendship and have a good time.

After that I had to go to another meeting. A meeting that will essentially memorialize him and permanently mark the end of his life. I went to the cemetery office today to finalize the plans for his grave stone. I picked out the design very early after he died. I was still in a complete haze of disorientation then, so I ask her to show me what I picked because I honestly don't remember...I was pleased to find that even in the the shock of grief I still had good taste. Though expensive taste I am reminded, when I have to pay the several thousand dollar balance in full. I opt to not change anything.

The next step is determining what I want it to say. Which font do I like? What color do I want the background? Which color granite do I want? Do I want any special emblem or symbols? I choose to keep the design simple, masculine, and classic. Something he would approve of.

Then we get to the part about my name. I originally ordered a stone large enough to put my name on should I decide to be buried with him. But I don't want my name on it right now in the event that I move, or get remarried, or just plain decide I don't want to be buried but rather cremated. There are so many contingencies to consider. More than once she says that it doesn't happen often that these contingencies have to be considered...she is a little befuddled at how to handle such a young widow. "Oh yes, I didn't think about that..." she says when I throw another hypothetical situation at her.

The plaque with my name must be ordered now- it is not an option to do it later. Though she is quick to reassure me that the plaque can be moved to a different stone should I be buried elsewhere or with someone else. I would just have to buy a new piece of granite to put it on. I am not happy about my name being on a grave stone at this age, but I acquiesce and agree to this.

The next step is to determine exactly how we want our names printed on the plaques. I choose full names- first, middle, and last. When we get to my name I stump her again. But what if I do get remarried? This plaque will say "Simmons"...she offers the suggestion of using my maiden name. No, that won't do. We talk some more about the options for all the contingencies that could befall me in the course of my life. I am one who always has a back up plan. Who always plans out all available courses of action in order to make the most rational decision. But I eventually realize that this something that I will have to consider when the time comes as I cannot predict my future at this point. She asks for my date of birth. As she finishes writing, "July 23, 1980" she says to me, "You're too young." Yes, this I know.

If all goes well, I will have at least another 30 years ahead of me. Likely more. It is hard to fathom that I actually have more time ahead of me than behind me, and already I have essentially ended one chapter and am beginning a new one. Life as I knew it is over, and I am starting afresh. It is within the realm of possibility that I could be married to a new person longer than I have actually been alive up until this point. And yet, my name with my husband's surname will appear on a grave stone... waiting for me to die. It is mind boggling and surreal to consider.

My day will culminate in a visit from a guy I have been emailing and talking with for several weeks. He lives almost 300 miles away so we have only seen each other once before now. I am excited to see him again- to see if the connection we have established through conversation is as good in person. The last time I saw him went well, so I imagine this will too. We will spend the weekend going to dinner and concerts, meeting friends, maybe going to the lake, and getting to know each other better. I am happy about this development in my life. It brings me hope for my future. I know some will judge me and say I am moving on too soon. Or I am trying to distract myself from my grief, and there really is no way I could be ready. Some will judge him and wonder what in the world he could possibly see in a widow with young twins who lives 300 miles away. That's an awful lot of baggage for him to take on. But if I've learned anything in this process it is that there is no right or wrong way to do this. I can only proceed in ways that leave my heart and mind feeling content and at peace.

So while I started the day with a meeting to honor and celebrate the life of my husband, and followed it with a meeting to memorialize him forever, I will end the day with the opportunity to do something that helps me look towards the future. I have given up on always having a contingency plan. They never work out how I imagine them anyway. I am learning that the more I try to control my life, the more God shows me ways that I can't. He is the one who makes the plans.

So maybe, just maybe...
this new great guy who makes me happy,
is God's contingency plan...
for me.


  1. I completely relate to the haze you described when picking out the headstone. That autopilot thing is a strange feeling. This is a great post. God holds the plan, but you seem to be flexible as needed. In being so, you in turn are carrying it out the plan placed before you well. It may not always feel like it, but from where I stand, you look like you are carrying on with poise and purpose. Good for you.

  2. I can't imagine the spectrum of emotions you have gone through/will go through today...but I am so proud of you for going through it, one step at a time. You are right, there is no "right or wrong" way to grieve, no proper timing for moving forward....and that is what you are doing, you will never "move on" or forget your sweet husband but you have to move forward-for you, your sanity and your children. They deserve to see the Mom that is happy, content in life etc. and you are doing that and taking steps to keep you headed in the direction of happiness-and no one can fault you for that!

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend nad it is even better than you expect. Hugs.

  3. Brooke, if anyone decides to pass judgment they are not understanding your journey. I know that truly nobody understands my journey except the other young widows out there...but even then we each are tackling this in a different manner and making the decisions that will help us build ourselves and our lives. I think your blog is a perfect example of how life will always be...a widow is still intertwined to her past and what was which she tries to weave into the present in order to create something for the future. I'm so glad you posted this! Best wishes for a fantastic weekend!