You are HERE.

Do you KNOW how many souls are YEARNING for JUST ONE MORE DAY & won’t get it??

You’re standing here NOW.

You’re breathing here NOW.

If YOU have the ability to wrap your arms around the people you love today. Then, DO IT.

Use your lips to kiss & your voice to sing & for goodness sake…. JUMP, RUN, DANCE!!!

YOU. Yes, you. You better be living the BEST VERSION possible of your life NOW!!

Not just because others CAN’T.

But, truly, because YOU CAN.

I can’t help but think about Nick‘s last months on the face of this planet. At 25 years old, there were days he was confined to a hospital bed.

At 26 years old, he could no longer lift his wife & swing her around like he used to.

And, at 27 years old, he stopped being able to talk to his baby girl, to hold her, to kiss her…

If that doesn’t convince you to get your butt moving, I don’t know what will.

Sometimes I have days where my desire to LIVE is so great! Even when life is not so great.

It BURNS through me and I like to think it’s Nick reminding me what truly matters. I have life. I have breath.

I am grateful.
& I will make it COUNT. 💕✌🏼

#onelifetolive #makeitbetter #makeitbrave #madeforbrave #lovemattersmost#prolove

We’ve Got an Announcement to Make: ADOPTED

WE’VE GOT AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO MAKE!! 🎉

It might not be the one you’d expect, but it DOES have to do with a BABY… my baby girl, to be exact. 😍

Austyn Elizabeth has OFFICIALLY been adopted!!!!

She OFFICIALLY has TWO daddies now…. Her sweet biological daddy in Heaven, Nick Magnotti, who stuck around as long as he POSSIBLY could. And, her amazing present daddy, Jay Galios, who fell in LOVE with her & STEPPED UP gladly to a commitment greater than almost ANY other. 🤗

This.
Is.
EVERYTHING.

… EVERYTHING!!! 💕

Being a solo* mom was one of the HARDEST things I have EVER had to do in my ENTIRE life. (Well, maybe it ties right up there with watching my husband and best friend slowly fade away…)

*Solo parenting means that there literally is no other parent AT ALL responsible for the child on the face of the planet. 🙅🏼

When Nick passed away & for two and a half years after, it was just me and my sweet baby girl. And while the challenge was ROUGH, to say the least, it also taught me sooo much about myself, about God’s love for us, AND it really showed me just how much of a FATHER & best friend that God can REALLY be.

Anyway, I digress… back to the story: When I met Jay, I wasn’t struggling. Not in the least. Not in any way. 🙆🏼

Financially… I was making good money working writing contracts. I had invested some of the insurance money Nick had left us and that was helping too so that I only had to work and have Austyn in school PART TIME.

Emotionally… I was FINALLY at a place of COMPLETE trusting in God. I had no worries or cares though I should have. I didn’t fret for the future. Or what would happen when the insurance money ran out… I was just living & ENJOYING every single day.

I was renting a house just four blocks away from Greenlake in Seattle. For those of you not familiar with the area, it’s an AMAZING little neighborhood, centered around a beautiful lake, surrounded by a green city park and fun little shops and restaurants. Just a five minutes drive from downtown. We had just moved back across the country from a sabbatical of sorts on the Gulf of Mexico. 🌴

And, I had found a perfect little 1,000 SF house for me and my just barely two year old. I had found a PERFECT Montessori school just a short five minute gorgeous drive around the lake.. And, my office was the CUTEST little local coffee shop. ☕️

I was LOVING LIFE.
And, I was committed to being the BEST single momma I could be.

I felt like I FAILED every single day at something (heck, I still do). 🤗

BUT, I was TRYING my absolute best &&& giving myself GRACE where I needed it.

So, things were GOOD. And I believed they would continue to get BETTER.

Because I FINALLY believed whole-heartedly in God’s goodness. ❤

I wasn’t a damsel in distress, by any means.
& I was fine with my lost-love-story.

I knew Nick was in Heaven. Doing miraculously well. So, I was going to be here. And do my damn best. I would make him, myself and GOD proud.

Then, Jay plopped into my life.

And everything CHANGED.

… for the even better!! 😍

This guy filled cracks that only GOD knew of… and where ONLY God knew what could be the GLUE. 💔❤️

I married Jay in June, that’s when Austyn started to call him “dad.” But, TRUTHFULLY, she stole his heart long before that. 😁

In August, Jay began the process of a step parent adoption. And, let me tell you, it WAS a PROCCCEEESSSS. 🙆🏼

We did it “pro se” (meaning we had no lawyer and did all the legal work ourselves). And, NOW I understand why lawyers get paid so much!! Holy smokes! This process was basically a part time job for me for MONTHS! 😮

Home visits, dr appointments, social worker interviews, court appointments, documents upon documents, paperwork galore, and, FINALLY, a hearing date. ☺️

Before a judge, Jay PROMISED to take full responsibility for Austyn as her father. To love her and care for her as if she was his own. 😌

My heart skipped a beat, you guys. Right there in that courtroom, SUDDENLY, I had something I had NEVER had.

An ENTIRE family; all THREE of us HEALTHY and VERY MUCH ALIVE. 👨‍👩‍👧

Jay and Austyn have a BEAUTIFUL relationship. One that I know will continue to grow and strengthen as time goes on. What an added blessing to know that Jay will be able to help me tell her all about Nick when she starts asking questions about her biological daddy.

Instead of choosing to be upset that she never got to know Nick in this life, I’m OVERJOYED that this little girl has not only ONE but TWO very committed, GENEROUS, loving and Godly daddies to look over her! ❤😁❤

When you have something to celebrate, you sing it from the ROOFTOPS & that’s what I’m doing now!!

GOD continues to bring:

BEAUTY from my ashes.
JOY from my sadness.
And a SONG from my heart.

FOREVER & EVER grateful for HIM & this crazy beautiful, broken family. For, in HIM, we are WHOLE. 💕

I will sing the Lords praise for He has been good to me!!! Psalm 13:6

#adoption #adoptionday #foreverfamily #stepparentadoption #grateful #blessed #onechildsworldchangedforever

I felt alone in my last miscarriage.

Because I didn’t really tell anyone until it was all over.

The doctor said it happened to 25% of all pregnancies. Then how come I didn’t know many who had faced it?!

It felt like it had happened to NOBODY but me. COMPLETE ISOLATION.

But, after I finally opened up to people about it, I discovered so many other families had gone through this too.

So, this time, I’m not gonna hide. I’m gonna share where I’m at. Not necessarily so that *I* don’t feel alone but so others can see that they aren’t either.

People see my happy posts and sometimes I get messages of people saying they wish they had my life. Cracks me up. I’ve got sucky things in my life always, too. Believe me. Many, in fact. I just normally focus on the good. But right now, I’m gonna share a BAD that I’m in the middle of.

Right now: my worst thing?

I’m having a miscarriage.

I’ve lost one baby before. Nick (my first and late husband) and I had a miscarriage and it was horrible. Now, with my second hubby Jay, just four months into our marriage, we’ve lost one too and it hurts just as much.

My heart is in an entirely different place this time though.

Not because God’s taken everything from me… again. But, because He is everything TO me.

I’m not quite as confused. Not because I understand WHY things like this happen. (I don’t!!) But, because I KNOW that He has a plan and that it is better than mine.

I’m sad, disappointed, heartbroken but still JOYFUL. How can that be? I think happiness is a feeling but JOY is a state of mind. And, for me… these last few years, since I really found HIM, I’ve honestly found that my JOY won’t ever be shaken. No matter what I face. My joy can’t be twisted or buried or drowned.

Because it’s anchored in a foundation that’s indestructible.

I know He hears me.
I know He sees me.
I know His plans are for me.
I trust HIS plan and HIS timing more than I trust my own feelings and guesses at what might be best.

I’ve lost two babies.
I’ve lost my first husband.
But, I will NEVER lose my joy.

This is my second miscarriage. And it hurts as much as the first.

But, my heart is in an entirely different place this time. It’s almost like it’s been made new. In fact, it kind of has. Sure, it’s been broken, but it’s been broken a few times before. And every time it breaks, it comes back together, the cracks remain but they’re healed. Like scars that have allowed openness, stretching and growth.

Every time my heart breaks, I choose to open it up again.

Not because He’s taken everything from me.

But because He IS everything to me. 💓

Happy 30th, My Love.

Happy Birthday, my love, my friend.

I miss you.

Today, your daughter sat snug in my lap while we watched morning cartoons. We were 30 min away from having to leave and I was still in my pajamas, breakfast uneaten, makeup not done… But I couldn’t get up. Because, as I do many days, I was SOAKING her up.

Every so often, in between her crunching and munching on apples, our 3-year-old tilts her head back far and looks up at me. Her eyes sparkle and a grin spreads across her face. Oh, how that grin reminds me of you.

This is the third year that we are celebrating your birthday without you here. That seems impossible, for two reasons. 1. How could it be 3 years? On one hand, it feels like you were here yesterday! And, 2. How could it be ONLY 3 years? I’ve lived a lifetimes since I last saw your face.

Things have changed around here. Your girls have moved 4 times since you left, we’ve crossed from one side of the country to the other; twice. We’ve adopted a new man into our little family and we are working hard to make it the best little patched-up glorious family that we can.

Almost all the furniture is different. My style has changed a bit and I gravitate so much more to the things that I love instead of the things people always told me I should.

I do still decorate for all the little holidays. The fall stuff is up now. I remember how you always told me how much you loved that I did that. Back when we were dating and I lived in that tiny apartment, I remember how enamored you were that I decorated. At the time, I thought it was silly. But, now, I love how much you loved it. I love that you noticed and smiled that I took the time and spent the money to get dollar store autumn leaves on the window, because it made me happy inside.

I’m so different now, too. Not just where we live. As a person, I am different entirely. I’m not sure you would recognize this soul so well. It’s old now. Weathered and strong. I’m BRAVER now than ever before. I’m not scared of anything. Literally. Isn’t that crazy? Remember when I told you that I wouldn’t be able to live without you? I told you (and believed) that if you died, I would die. But, you swore to me I wouldn’t.

You said I was stronger than I thought. That God would carry me through. That our little babe needed me.

I cried then, in your arms, imagining the nightmare that loomed ahead and wishing with all my being that we could switch places. Oh, how I longed to switch places with you.

It’s crazy now, looking at what you said. That I would be okay. You said it with such confidence. How did you know? You knew that you knew. And I had NO idea. I truly think that ONLY God could have helped you see and given you that peace. It was ALL true. Now, I see what you saw then.

I think, I kept on living at first mainly because, I took a long, hard look at your short life and figured that… You wanted to live SO BAD and you didn’t get to. So, I better truly LIVE my days out in your honor. Not surviving, but thriving. Not wallowing, but celebrating. Not wishing I was dead, but creating a life I WANTED.

Like you always said He would, God came near during the darkest times. That day they told us your cancer was back and I collapsed to the floor, clutching the new life in my stomach as if I could somehow protect her from those words. That day 3 years ago, almost to the date, that you started hospice when your eyes were glazed over from the pain and yet you still breathed the word “blessed.” That day that they came and took you away and your hospice bed lay empty, all of you GONE in a single day.

In the end looking days like today straight in the face, can be hard for me. Only because I wish that maybe, as some sort of birthday miracle, you could come down and give me a little sign. But, I know how selfish that is. I’m lucky enough to have seen signs of you often and feel your love settling down on us every single day. Like gently falling snow, you are here.

It’s different now. But, our love is the same. It’s different now. But, you’re smile graces my presence every day. It’s different now, but somehow, it’s all okay.

It’s been 5 years since I celebrated a HEALTHY birthday of yours with you. 5 long years. And, though, the many healthy happy birthdays spent with you were FUN, none of them actually compare to all of these since. Because, once you got sick. EVERYTHING became clearer than it’s ever been.

God opened up my eyes to LIFE because of YOUR life. He showed me what being grateful truly meant. That life is so much more about living for people, for love, for hopes and dreams than it is living for money, or boats, or houses, retirement or things.

Your love, our love, has wings.

I’m so grateful I get to see it fly.

Happy 30th, Nicholas. Forever and a day.

Alyssa

 

Only Loves

I wear a ring on my right hand. It’s a sweet eternity, a hope, a memory.

It was given to me for my 26th birthday, by my husband, Nick, who was undergoing endless chemo, attempting to kill the monster that was consuming him from his middle out. Literally. (Appendix cancer is a nasty beast. And, its rare, but more common than you might think. Look it up sometime.)

Our daughter was 6 months old then, all smiles and giggles and teeeeeny, tiny blonde hairs. She took in the world around her for what it was, she didn’t know how soon ALL of it might fall apart.

But, I knew. I had seen the wires and tubes sticking out of her daddy’s body more times than I could count… I had hoped and dreamed and raged and fought, but still, when I looked at it straight, it looked like we were losing the battle anyway. Even after all THAT. After all the work, all the prayers, all the medicine, all the green drinks, the specialists consultations across the continent… The feeling of failure was so palpable at times that I could taste it in my mouth; under my tongue, sharp, acid, HARD fail.

I started to give this OUT OF CONTROL situation up to God. I gave Him my feeling of failure, my last hope. When there honestly wasn’t anything else I could do and I had exhausted every other option… I decided to try and make the best of it. And, I knew that I would need SUPERNATURAL help to do so.

It was hard and it sucked and it was the worst thing I have ever faced in my entire life…. But, I began to try to view each day as an adventure. Even the super crappy ones. Even the ones spent in the ER, and the ones spent lying next to my weakening husband in bed.

When I brought him home from a hospice center in November, to live out the rest of his life as it turned out, I could hardly recognize his earthly body anymore.

Sure, technically, it WAS the same body. The very one that had lifted me effortlessly, spun me around, and thrown me into the lake my mother lived on just a few years before. It WAS the body that had so easily stood into a handstand during our engagement photo shoot. It WAS the same body that fathered our child, but it looked different now.

“Hollow” would be the only word I could use to describe those last months, physically. But, spiritually, he was BRIMMING. His relationship with God was DEEPER than any I had ever seen. He truly trusted and had grown closer to His Savior than I could have ever hoped for for myself.

He handed it over. His everything. His life. I saw him lay himself and his hopes down a little bit more every day. But, not in exchange for something worse. Honestly, you could FEEL it in your bones. HE KNEW that he was laying down this life FOR SOMETHING EVEN BETTER.

In early December, when pain had kept him (and us) up for another endless night, he asked if I would help him get out of bed.

“Will you pray with me?”

We knelt down against the couch that didn’t belong in our bedroom. The one that we had brought in for Nick to sit in when his pain was so bad that lying down at any angle caused intense pain to shoot, unbridled, through his abdomen. His tumors were stringy, and they latched on tight, wouldn’t let go, pushing and pulling on his organs (the ones that were still left after surgery, anyway).

“God. You know I love you. And, I trust you. I’ve been having such a hard time letting my girls go. But, I know you have a plan. And, God, I want you to know… I’m ready. I only want your will. Whatever it is. If I stay, that’s SO fine with me. But, if I need to go… Lord, I trust you.”

Tears streamed from his eyes down his cheeks, onto our tightly clasped hands, but when he opened his eyes again and looked to mine, I saw PEACE, not pain.

He died one month later..

—-

I wear a ring on my left hand. A solitaire; a gift, a promise.

On a night last December, among Christmas lights and a winter breeze, my best friend got down on his knee and asked me to become his wife.

It had felt a little complicated at first… Jay and I. I mean, I had JUST come to terms with my being a widow, with my being a single mom. And, instead of those things being bad things, I let those things mean ADVENTURE. I could live wherever I wanted so I tried 10 months on the Gulf of Mexico. I could do what I wanted for work, so I crafted my best job ever and went after it, writing blog posts for startups and entrepreneurs. I didn’t have to double check my choices with anyone or risk being questioned, so I listened to music for hours on end after putting my little girl to bed. I ate ice cream for dinner on more than one occasion. I joined a gym and went to yoga on the evenings. I read book after book after book, because once the toddler was asleep and work was done, nothing else really required my attention.

Needless to say, I was single… but I was ALSO satisfied. Years after my late husband’s death, I had finally come to terms with whatever life God had planned for me. I had finally TRUSTED HIM with the trust that I had seen in Nick so many years before. Endlessly, recklessly, completely.

When I moved back to Seattle, I rented a house in the sweetest little neighborhood. Austyn and I walked to dinner and to the park by the lake. I would drop her off at her Montessori school in the morning and walk to the cutest little coffee shop you’ve ever seen, drink an Americano, and type like a mad woman. This. Was. Life.

I didn’t think there was someone out there that could ADD anything to the situation, really. I mean, sure, I definitely wondered what it might be like to have a Partner in Parenting and sometimes I wished there was someone to talk to on the nights that I couldn’t sleep. But, for the most part, God became THAT person for me and I LOVED growing in my relationship with HIM, exclusively. It honestly was pretty incredible and I will cherish that time forever.

So, back to Jay… I had known him for years, technically. He had been one of my late husband’s best friends, back when we had first met. I wasn’t too sure about Jay at first, all those years ago, but Nick had vouched for him every time I questioned their friendship. Telling me that Jay was still “growing” and to give it a few years. He said that EVENTUALLY I would see what he saw in his friend: someone who was loyal, trustworthy, hardworking, and kind to a fault.

I hadn’t seen Jay in years when I returned to Seattle, but when we met for smoothies with Austyn, I KNEW something was up. I had reached out to him, to catch up and mainly to talk about local churches (Jay, just a few years into his relationship with Our Father). But, when we sat down nearly a year ago today,  I had felt a stirring in my soul. I tried to ignore it at first…. Because, let’s face it, change is SCARY as heck and I was HAPPY where I was at, thank you very much!

But, God had plans… And, ignoring Jay just WASN’T an option when at the FIRST sign of a crush, he sent me a page-long note asking me about dating a widow, what Nick would think, and what the Bible says. He wanted to get it right, and if we were going to do this, he wanted me to know he wasn’t messing around.

“I haven’t had a girlfriend in five years. Because I’m so picky. I won’t date someone unless they have the qualities I want. I feel like I know you but not all that well, but based off what I do know from the past and our recent communication I know you have many qualities and characteristics that I personally look for in a woman.”

This guy, who I had previously decided was simply a “bad influence” on my husband, would come to mean more to me than I could have imagined. His life, I would come to find out, had been changed BIG TIME since we had last really spoke. By the VERY ONE who changed my life too, Jesus Christ.

The rest, as they might say is history…

I get remarried in just 9 days. I get to marry my best friend, who used to be best friends with my other best friend.

It might sound kind of weird to other people. It might not.

To me, its perfect.

There are TWO INCREDIBLE LIVES we might live. Our own DREAM or our DESTINY. Sometimes, they are one in the same….. But, sometimes, they are not. Many times, our DREAM leads us to our DESTINY. But, while you’ve spent a lifetime coming up with your DREAM, God has been busy, working in the background, crafting your DESTINY. And, it’s one wilder and more beautiful than you could ever imagine.

There will be AS MUCH beauty in your DESTINY as there is in your DREAM. So, LET GO of what you think you want and let God guide you. After all, HE MADE YOU.

You were made for MORE than your DREAMS. You were made for BRAVER than you believe. You were made for a CRAZY BEAUTIFUL life.

Jump in.

13443285_10206000709648382_7662141242313441157_o

Second Firsts Are Hard (And Sometimes Even Harder for “Others”)

It’s challenging enough to balance your own emotions between a lost spouse and a new-found love. But, trying to balance the emotions and responses of others can prove to be even more exhausting.

Losing someone is difficult, no matter to what capacity you lost them or to what capacity your relationship had reached. When you lose a best friend, a lover, a husband, your heart is ripped clear open and into a thousand many pieces. The face you present to your loved ones, to your family, to the public is one that’s put together even if inside it feels like you are falling apart.

Eventually you might find a way (I honestly think this can only happen with God’s help) to put yourself back together again, for realz this time, on the inside. But, that genuine smile. That glow. Especially if you’ve fallen in love with another might hit others wrong.

To them, it might feel like a slap in the face. They may think that you’ve forgotten who you lost. They might think it doesn’t hurt anymore. After all, they don’t see the waves of grief wash over you, so clearly those waves must not exist.

YOU know where YOU are at with your grief. You KNOW that your love for your lost loved one will NEVER go away, even if you wanted it to. Don’t let what other people think or don’t know about you get in your way of moving forward.

There is NOTHING wrong with moving FORWARD.

There is NOTHING wrong with falling in love again.

There is NOTHING wrong with starting a family with someone who wants to be a part of your broken life and help you hold together your broken heart.

There is NOTHING wrong with continuing to LIVE even if your late love didn’t have the chance to make it this far.

Your story CAN be BEAUTIFUL again and you can be HAPPY about sharing that BEAUTIFUL STORY. So, do it, friend!

Guilt can be a powerful thing. It can hold us back… Especially Guilt mixed with Grief. Sometimes it can be hard to smile when you know that smile might cause someone pain… But, I CAN ONLY CONTROL ME. And YOU CAN ONLY CONTROL YOU.

As long as you are doing your best, LIVING your life, and remembering the one you lost without letting it consume you, I would say you are doing a DAMN GOOD JOB! Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

You do you. There are no timelines or agendas to follow as far as grief goes. You know you. You do you. That is all.

So, no matter where you are in life… Live for God. Live for you. Don’t live for others. God’s opinion is TRULY the ONLY ONE that counts. <3

To borrow some cheesy quote from some brand that I can’t quite remember right now… “It’s YOUR life. Live it Beautifully.”

Be brave, dear one. You’re doing great!!

12795242_10205357887218223_2808015143349334373_o
Love always, Alyssa

 

 

 

12829044_10205352193835892_847821216825338047_o
PS… My daughter SURE has the smile thing DOWN. She’ll be THREE this month!!!! :-D

 

 

 

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.

WIDOWS DON’T HAVE TO CHOOSE.

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.