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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Quiet mind...

“Go in all simplicity; do not be anxious to win a quiet mind, and it will be all the quieter. Do not examine so closely into the progress of your soul. Do not crave so much to be perfect, but let your spiritual life be formed by your duties, and by the actions which are called forth by circumstances. Do not take over much thought for tomorrow. God, who has led you safely on so far, will lead you on to the end.” - Francis De Sales

I love this quote because now more than I ever I feel like my life and the decisions I have to make are the product of circumstance. This is certainly not how I planned my life. And it surely is not how I could’ve ever imagined it. But it is my life, the only one I have, so I must take it as it comes and make decisions based on the hand I’ve been dealt. And I must believe that God has a greater plan that I just can’t understand at this point.

I know it will be a difficult process as I continue to walk the fine line between being excited about someone new, while still actively mourning the loss of Andie. I am not naïve enough to think that my grieving is done. I am not “over it” and I have not “moved on”.

It has been a struggle to decide when I should let the world in on the fact that I am seeing someone. I didn’t want to make the announcement too soon only to find that this relationship would fizzle out and I’d then have to face all the ensuing questions. I didn’t want to keep it a secret as though it was something to be ashamed of, but at the same time I needed to feel secure before I announced such a momentous step.

And while I have had a couple of months to adjust to the idea and process my feelings about it, those who are just now learning of him are still shocked and surprised. Which only makes my comfort with it all the more awkward. I think they expect me to not be ready so soon, but I’ve done a lot of emotional leg work to get to this point. I've simply had a head start.

I am sensitive to the feelings of those who are still hurting, and who are not ready to see me “move on” with my life. I understand that Andie’s family and close friends will have a harder time accepting this than my own family and friends. I know it will take time for people to get to a place of acceptance.

I know that people ultimately want me to be happy. Many have said as much to me on several occasions. In the weeks after his death people told me that it was okay to eventually move on. But saying that, and actually being okay with it when it happens are two very different things. I think people have been okay with the idea of it, but when they actually see another man beside me they have almost a gut level reaction to it. I can see it in the subtle shifts of facial expression or body language. It seems that people are okay with the idea of it if it fits their version of how it should go and when, and not necessarily my version of it.

I have grappled with the idea of moving on for almost a year now. Mainly because people would often say to me that they knew I would find someone new one day. My own father in-law has had this discussion with me at least three times that I can remember. I almost felt a pressure about it in the early months after his death and it made me angry and indignant. But with time I have come to accept that this is in fact what I want for me and for my children. And it is also, I believe, something that Andie would want.

This is a hard position for me to be in. Wanting to be happy and being okay with this transition for myself, but also understanding that others are not yet ready for me to make this transition. However, what most people cannot even begin to fathom is the emotional work I have done to get to this point. It is I who has had to live every second of every day without him. I am the one who has two beautiful, yet constant reminders running around that look just like him, reminding me that he is not here. I am the one who remembers what it was like to have his face be the first thing I saw every morning, and the last thing I saw every night. Nobody else has had to deal with his absence on such a global level. Nobody else’s life was changed with such magnitude. Most people get the emotional reprieve of going on about their own lives in their own schedules, which allows them to feel some normalcy. I have not had that luxury; nothing about my life has stayed the same. Nothing is as it was. And nothing feels normal. It has been a long, hard, process to get to this point.

He still consumes my thoughts for much of the day, albeit in a different way than before. Now it is often with fond memories. Sometimes I talk to him in my mind, imagining how he would guide me in daily decisions. It is rarely with pain that I remember him anymore. I would venture to say that to most people though, he is only a fleeting thought. He probably does not cross the minds of his friends daily anymore; only when something happens that triggers a memory for them. I can tell that me and the girls are not on people’s minds as much by the drastic slow down in contact from others checking on us. And this is okay. It means that everyone is healing, and everyone is moving on…just at a different pace.

The bottom line is that I have to do what feels right in my heart. What makes me happy, content, and fulfilled. I have to move on with my life in a way that gives me a quiet mind. Worrying about what other people think of my actions only increases my anxiety and apprehension. And letting go of the control feels so freeing. This is a new part of me that has emerged through this experience. A more mature part of me, and I like it. I don’t have to control everything in my life, and I don’t have to have it all planned out. Controlling comes from a place of fear. I don’t want to live my life in fear. I want to appreciate what I have while it’s here instead of always planning for the worst case scenario.

The circumstances of my life have drastically altered who I am, who I want to be, and where I want my life to go. I am giving it all up to God with faith that he will lead me in the right direction in the end.


  1. Brooke, I am truly happy for you:) I know that maybe others may not look on this new relationship as you do. But I do believe that everyone who knew you and Andie would want you to be happy. And I think, because you are ready for a new relationship, is because of the relationship you had with Andie. I think that he would want this for you and the girls. I don't think that he would want you to go the rest of your life without someone to love in your life. I think he would be proud of the woman you have become. To some it may seem too soon, but they are not living your life day by don't let them "rain" on your happiness. Andie wants you to be happy. One suggestion, which you probably have already thought of is don't shut his family out of your life. Let them be a part of it. I pray that God blesses you and you find love again. Hugs!!

  2. again... I can relate to every single sentence you wrote. every single one!
    I love the quote. I have told everyone important to me about the "new man" who is not so new to me, yet new to them. Most are happy, but I sense the slight wiggle of one who is uncomfortable when they see how easy we are together. Sometimes it's just that I go on about him a little too long. It's hard for people to understand. I get it, I would feel the same way. If I didn't know better.
    But now I know... I know that love for one can exist along side love for another and in the midst of grief. It's a beautiful thing really and a reminder that God, Love Himself, is beyond what we can understand. :)