You Don’t Have to Choose: Second Firsts

Everything that I had hoped for would become impossible.

My husband passed away at 27 years old. We were 6 years into our beautiful relationship, 5 years into our incredible marriage and 9 months into our journey as new parents. And, then, everything just stopped.

He was gone. More than anything he had wanted to stay. I had wanted him to stay. The pull on my soul had, at times, convinced me that my love would hold him here. That God would see our connection, see our entwined hearts and gracefully hand us our miracle.

No such luck.

Alyssa and Nick
Alyssa and Nick, Los Cabos Mexico, 2008

Fast-forward almost two years later and I find myself, in a crazy turn of fate, in love with one of my late husband’s dear friends. Neither of us would have ever guessed. We hardly saw each other until just four months ago, but Nick and Jay had held a strong bond over the years while Nick was still with us.

This new relationship has been nothing short of romantic, poetic and truly bittersweet, all at once.

At first I was haunted by certain thoughts, certain “what ifs”, certain impossible scenarios…. Such as: “If Nick found his way back to us, what would I do? Who would I choose?”

These questions were starting to drive me insane. Because, here’s the thing, you can’t compare two different loves.

You can’t choose. So don’t make yourself. And, don’t let anyone else tell you that you must.

Last night I had a dream. I was in a white room, white everything. Bright and vivid. Nick, my late husband, was standing in front of me, about 25 feet away, clear as day. He looked beautiful. He was looking past me and said, “You have to choose.” I turned around and 25 feet the other way, stood my boyfriend (Jay) holding my daughter’s hand, and, dear God, they looked beautiful too.

I woke up just after the dream. 4am. It felt like God was telling me that I could choose life, to go on living with the living. To embrace Jay and Austyn, the blessings that I still have on this earth. Or, I could choose to drown in the memory of all that I lost. To let my now-impossible dreams strangle me.

As I thought on it more, I wondered. Was Nick telling me I had to choose him or I had to choose Jay? But, no, it was distinct. So clear. I don’t have to choose between them. I just have to choose whether or not I want to continue actually living my life.

Nick always told me that once he was gone, he would want me to fall in love again. That he wanted me to share my life with another. I refused to listen at the time, but now am happy he told me. A lot of spouses don’t get the chance to discuss it, or jealousy gets in the way, but I honestly think that all of our loved ones who have passed on would only truly want for us to be happy.

I feel like I’m supposed to share this. Like others need to know. So, forgive me but I’m going to repeat myself again. Just gotta make sure we get this straight. Everyone needs to understand this.


Jay and Alyssa, 2015
Jay and Alyssa, Paris France, 2015

If you are in the same club as I… If you’ve lost your spouse, your dream, let me urge you to keep away from the unrealistic and insane questions about choice.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CHOOSE between your lost love and a new one.

You DON’T actually even HAVE a choice as far as that is concerned. You can’t go back to your spouse because they are gone. Your only choice is to move forward. That doesn’t mean that you are going to find someone anytime soon or even that you will ever fall in love again.

But, you DO have ANOTHER CHOICE to make. Will you choose life?

Will you choose to move forward? I am.

Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting. It doesn’t mean that I’ve hardened my heart. Moving forward doesn’t mean I love my late husband any less. Moving forward doesn’t mean I’m over it or over him. It DOES NOT take the pain away. It doesn’t mean losing a part of me. It doesn’t mean losing any part of him. Moving forward isn’t about winning or losing. It isn’t about pulling ahead or falling behind. It’s not about blocking memories, ignoring sad thoughts or rejecting the truth. Moving forward is simply my choice to live again.

All I had with Nick is gone now. I was happy. Then, my heart was broken.

But, suddenly, I’ve realized that everything I thought was impossible, is HERE. NOW. Even though it looks a helluvah lot different than I thought it would…

I’ve walked through dark black valleys, near-drowned in the waves, and split my tired feet to get here. But, I’m moving forward one step at a time.

There’s no “arriving.” Your aim should not be to complete the process labeled “move on.” There is no such thing as grief being “over.”

But, there is LIVING. YOUR. LIFE…

That’s what I’m aiming for and I’m trusting in God as I go. Currently living a fairy tale, another beautifully impossible love story come to life. And, because I know nothing is promised, I’m loving with a very real awareness of life’s fragility. And, I’m determined to soak up as many of these blessings as I can, while I can.

So, what do you think? Have you struggled with these thoughts as a widow/widower? Have you blocked yourself into thinking that your story is over just because your spouse’s life ended on this planet? Comment below or email me at alyssa (dot) magnotti (at) gmail (dot) com.

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51 thoughts on “You Don’t Have to Choose: Second Firsts”

  1. Beautiful post! I’m thrilled that you have reached this point, knowing it’s okay to go on, and that you aren’t choosing one man over the other, but rather choosing to continue to live this life – and enjoy each day God has given you (and your daughter!!) I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!

    1. Thanks so much Sarah!! It’s truly a great place to be. Like I said, it doesnt take away from the rough stuff…. But it gives me so much peace about continuing to breathe without him. Thank you for the well wishes and for following along. Appreciate it!!

  2. I love this…..I feel like you have always remained so steadfast in faith when most would find it easy to be mad at God. My only question is a question I have been wondering about for a long time. When our time here on earth is done and we go to heaven, what then? Obviously none of us know why heaven will be like, but that’s something I’m struggling with. What if my late husband is waiting for me in heaven? But when I finally get to see him again I have a new husband as well? Has God given you any insight to this?

    1. Hi Alicia!! I actually almost included a bit about Heaven in this post but I ended up taking it out because it was getting a bit long. Here’s what I’ve decided. I felt the SAME WAY! I was like… What the heck? Nick was only married to me on earth. And, assuming Jay and I get married (probable) then he will have only been married once on earth… to me as well. So, like, who gets me in Heaven? At first it bugged me a little and honestly, Jay asked me this question pretty early on… Here’s the thing though: Like you said, we DONT know how all that works in Heaven. We do know that in the Bible, God even tells widows that its okay to remarry. But, he doesnt say anything about what will happen in Heaven. We also KNOW that there are NO hard feelings in Heaven, no jealousy, no negativity. That all being said…. I’ve decided that I won’t know this answer this side of Heaven and I am trusting that God will figure it all out for us on the other side. Does this make sense? So, I guess I basically don’t have an answer to this one, other than SURRENDER. That’s what I had to do. I honestly trust that God will figure it out. Hope that helps a little? Please tell me if you want me to try to clarify more or if you have any other questions. Its so good to discuss. <3

      1. Alyssa,
        Thank you so much for your response! I feel like that was perfect! It’s been something that my heart has felt conflicted in. But what I do know is God is good, and he is kind and he wouldn’t allow us to do something that would later hurt us. Thank you for just taking the time to be so real and honest and transparent. God wanted us to have community and you are doing gods work! I wish you all the best and congratulate you and jay for God bringing you both together!!!!

        1. I’m SO glad it helped Alicia. It was a tough pill for me to swallow (I’m TOTALLY a control freak and like to know EVERYTHING ahead of time), but I am finding it easier to let God sort out the details that are that tough. Otherwise, I really think my head will explode. We’ve already got enough to figure out, I think. Praying for your continued peace! Thanks again for following! xo

      2. Actually the Bible does mention how that will work in heaven! When ask about a woman that had several husbands and who would she be with in heaven, the answer was that it’s different in heaven, we will not marry in heaven, but be like the Angels. Heaven will be populated by the souls arriving who pass on earth, there will be bo populating through procreation. Hope that helps. Great article, and I totally agree with what you have expressed.

    1. Thanks so much Denise! You are awesome! Been following along as you guys sit in this limbo. Praying that God continues to guide you and give you peace as you make decisions going forward. Sending you and Tim all my love!

    1. Awww.. Thank you so much, Therese. I am so honored that you follow my posts as you are such an eloquent writer yourself. Sending you so much love and light. You are incredible! xo

  3. You are a phenomenal woman and your words are spot on…congrats on your your new love, life and outlook.
    You rock!!!🙏

  4. So happy for you Alyssa. I love your honesty and how you just put it all out there to help other. I’m so proud of you.

  5. Awww Alyssa you did it again….lump in my throat and bawling. I seriously feel like I am watching from afar the best story ever, a fairy tale indeed. If you think about it all of the “princesses” had to go through really hard times before their happy ever after, of course you are going to have yours :-). Thank you so much for sharing with all of us, your beauty inside and out. You deserve the fairy tale so very much. Since your first post of this new love I have felt that Nick had a say in this too, God yes, but Nick too. I don’t think you will ever have to choose in Heaven, I think Nick will be there waiting for both of you with open arms and may even greet Jay first, ” Thanks for taking care of our girls and loving them so much.” or something like that :-). So happy for you, the girl I only know here. MY heart is hurts cause I feel so happy for you, you two are just a gorgeous couple. Thanks again and always for being such an inspiration to so many people.

    1. Carla!! You are so sweet and I always look forward to your comments. Your words are very special to me and I feel very much the same. I know Nick is proud and happy and I know this is all good that God is working from a bad circumstance. Sending you TONS of love and happiness. xo

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this! You put into words exactly what I would have said if I could have found the words. My husband Jim died in 2008 after a 3 1/2 year battle with PMP. He was 49. I had just turned 40. It was so hard. And now, I’m engaged to an amazing man who has made me realize that it is possible to love again. I’m so happy for you and wish you all the best! You are so right….we never should have to choose. 💕

    1. Aimee!! First of all, can I say that I LOVE your last name? Disney movies are some of my favorites. :] I am so sorry about your loss. Nick fought PMP (appendix cancer) for two and a half years and it honestly felt like an eternity. So, while I can’t say I know exactly what you are going through, I have some idea. Again, so sorry. And, on the flipside, so overjoyed to hear that you have found love again and are planning another wedding. So so so very happy for you!! :] Thanks for the comment, sweet lady!

      1. I remember hearing about your story and feeling so bad for you. My daughter, Brianna, was 2 when Jim was diagnosed. We had just finished 18 month of chemo treatments with her. Brianna was born with a brain tumor. Just six short months later Jim would be diagnosed with PMP. Our name is quite a conversation piece! I am thrilled to hear that you have found love again and I pray that you are very happy! ❤️

        1. Your story is incredible. My heart breaks for you… This life is full of so many ups and downs and twists and turns. I’m just glad I have God by my side through it all. Wishing you all the best, girl. xoxo

  7. You are wise beyond your years. You are a true blessing to me and I am so very thankful how happy you make Jay. Loving you

    1. Hi Pat! I was so excited to see YOUR comment on my blog! :] Thank you for taking the time to read and to comment. YOU are an amazing woman and an inspirational one and I am so grateful that you and Greg raised such a caring young man. Thank you. Love you too. And hope to see you soon!

  8. My dad, Roger Siegrist, is second cousin to your late husband. He or my Aunt Sandy spoke of your strength and bravery years ago and I stumbled upon your Instagram and now blog. Your words and your pictures are beautiful and inspiring. I absolutely LOVE your latest poet and imagine this is a real hurdle for many widows and widowers and anyone who has experienced great loss. Your past story is heartbreaking but your present and future are sure looking bright. Your faith inspires me and I hope one day our paths cross.


    1. Hey Mallory, Thank you so much for your comment! Crazy to think how far this story has come. What a whirlwind these last six years of my life have been. So much GREAT and BEAUTIFUL and then so much HARD and HEARTSHATTERING. How two things can exist so simultaneously is still a mystery to me but I guess the contrast is part of what makes this world so beautiful. Thanks for following along. Would LOVE to meet you as well someday. Sending you lots of love and light!

  9. Such wisdom and insight. Yet again, I’m crying. You truly are such an intelligent woman. Thank you for keeping us apprised of your journey.

  10. Alyssa, I just love what you said about living life. I am a widow, my husband died in 2010. I knew that after he died I did not want to spend the rest of my life alone. I recently remarried & know my late husband would be very happy. Your blog is so spot on about grief; we don’t replace that person as they will always be there in our heart. I grieve everyday for my late husband, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have love to give again to another man or a life I can live to the fullest with someone new-that is the choice I make. I choose to be happy. My late husband and I talked about this very subject; he hoped I would find love again. What an unconditional gift of love he gave to me. I am so fortunate that I have 2 incredible men who have loved me in my lifetime & I am able to love them as well!

    1. Hey Mollie. I am so sorry to hear about your late husband. Its such a crazy hard thing. So ridiculously painful. Again, Im just so sorry and my heart breaks for you. I am happy to hear that you have found another love. I love what you’ve said. Its perfect. And so true. Thank YOU for sharing your story. You are very blessed, indeed. <3

  11. Love this! I too became a widow suddenly when I was 34 and at the time my kids were 2 and 4. It’s been 6 years for us and just tonight the three of us prayed together for a new dad/husband…my kids (and me) continue to be patient but we can’t wait for that day! Love hearing happy ending stories like this!

    1. Bethany… Dear girl… Oh, my heart breaks for you! I am so sorry for your loss. Its excruciating at times. :( I think its wonderful and beautiful that you are praying for your future husband. Patience is definitely the key. I’m not married yet (or even engaged) so I’m not locked in, but I did date a few others before Jay and I know I tried to force things when it should have been clear that it wasn’t the right match. I think it’s important that, even when you really want something, you stay objective and on your toes. But, I am sure you know all that. There is definitely HOPE for another love and it’s better than you could have imagined. Patience and Trust in God to bring him your way is key. :] THANK YOU SO MUCH for following and commenting. Praying for you!

    1. Hi Theresa. I think he really was. :]

      And, Rory and Joey… Ahhhhh… :( I have been. I read their story just the other day. Hits so close to home and brings tears to my eyes. Praying still. For peace, for hope, for so much LIGHT!

  12. So glad you have found a new love in Jay. And you know if Nick thought that highly of Jay when he was alive then you know you have his blessing. And it sounds like God in your dream just wanted to make it clear for you too. It sounds like you and Austyn are in good hands. May you have a long and happy life with your new found love and God bless all three of you.

    1. Gloria, I really appreciate your comment and for following along on our journey. I really think that about Nick too. He truly loved Jay and believed so much in his loyalty and friendship. God’s been overly gracious to me. I’m in awe, honestly. Thank you for your well wishes. Sending blessings your way.

    1. Thanks, Peter! :] Honestly, I feel like God wrote almost every word. He really directed all of it. I actually was driving and pulled over into a parking lot to type it because I felt so strongly that He wanted me to share this with the world. :]

  13. You are a beacon of light for so many. I’m not a widow but your story inspires ME to choose. Love you so much.


  14. Alyssa,

    You are spot on. I applaud your courage to move forward and to find new love. A love that will never be the same that you and Nick shared because it’s just that yours and Nicks. This new love I pray will be God enriching. And that not only would this love be right for you but also that it would be right for Austyn. There is never replacing of a loved one but instead an addition. God is so good ALL the time. And with Christ ALL things are possible.

    Love, Marilyn

    1. Hi Marilyn, Thank you so much! Two loves can NEVER be the same, that is so true. But, I am so blessed that God has given me another love. Thank you for your sweet words of encouragement. Hope you are doing well, sweet lady! Sending love and blessings to you!

  15. hi ,im a polish girl so first of all i d like to apologize for my opinion Nick wasnt your husband only on the earth.he s still married with you.his death didnt stop your marriage and your love…to me its a little bit strange what you re saying….but i wish you all the best :))

    1. Hi Magdalena. Thanks for the comment, though I disagree with most of it. Everyone is, of course, entitled to their own opinions, though. I do fully agree with you that Nick and I’s love will go on forever, no matter what. Nothing I do here can ever change that. Death, by law, actually does stop a marriage, but I get what you mean. :] I think, for us, Nick told me that he wanted me to find someone else once he was gone, I have immense peace in my heart, and I have full support and confidence from God. I guess, what more could I want? :] Thanks for the well wishes, though. Sending blessings your way. :]

  16. I have been following your blog and have even seen the videos you have posted. I am very touched by your story. It is very beautiful, deep and inspiring. I am learning to love life each and every day and to cherish it. You are very strong! God bless!

  17. Wow, this is where I’ve come to in my thinking, the last 5-6 months; I lost my beloved almost 4 years ago after a solid wonderful 29 years, and now as I’m approaching 53, I think to myself, ‘I WANT to live, not just simply EXIST, ‘ it’s not easy figuring this all out, but I’m slowly stepping out of the self-imposed cocoon that I’ve lived in for so long…

  18. I lost my husband this summer to cancer. He fought it bravely because he loved our girls and me so much. I have thought about remarrying when the time is right, and I feel like your perspective is spot-on. My girls are teenagers and very focussed on high school and their very busy lives. Introducing a new father figure into our family feels wrong when we just need to spend time together healing and putting our lives back together. But it is still fresh, and we are still reeling over hard the last few years were. We are still catching our breath from the marathon we have been running with their dad. And for now, it is enough to just be grateful that the suffering is over, for all of us.

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