Saturday, August 10, 2013

What I'm Trying To Accept About Michael's Second Wife

This is my most favorite picture from our Wedding.  My sister in law Ruth took it and I keep it in a frame by my kitchen sink so I can look at it all the time.  It's our first step into married life.  Corny, I know, but I love it.  It's sustained some water damage because it's near the sink.  I'm kinda sad it's like that but I'm proud that we've been married long enough to have a wedding photo that needs heavy duty restoration.
Today Michael and I are celebrating our 12th Wedding Anniversary.  (Are you sure Nella?  That is a really uncomfortable title choice for this occasion.)  Relax, if you're reading this it's Michael approved.  The day Michael and I got married I had all of the normal arrogance of a young bride and I was sure that NO TWO PEOPLE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD HAVE EVER LOVED EACH OTHER AS MUCH AS MICHAEL AND I.  EVER.  It never occurred to me that that was not really possible.  I mean, deep down I still believe we're definitely in the top 10 of the history of the world, but I realize I may have been overshooting the mark a bit.  Many other people can be madly in love and that does not detract from how much we love each other.  Duh.  I know.  The idea that's harder to accept is that if one of us were to die, the other person could fall in love again, and that also would not detract from our love for each other.  Yuck.  I'm sorry but I'm not mature enough to like that idea yet.  I'm marginally mature enough to aspire to like it though, because Michael deserves the biggest truest love the human heart can manage.

Because of cancer I've spent some time thinking about what might happen for Michael after me.  Have you ever seen those stories on the Today Show or whatever about these married couples where they each lose their spouse to some illness and then find each other and get married and blend their families and live happily ever after?  Oh and P.S. they were able to have peace about it because one of the deceased spouses left the remaining remarried spouse a letter or video or something saying "It's OK, I love you I want you to be happy" because they are not selfish childish jerks and they are courageous, kind and loving?  I've seen them too and I want to like them but I hate them because it makes me realize I don't think I could do that.  At least not yet.  I want to be able to love Michael that much, that selflessly--but not yet, don't worry.

My "book club" can attest to the fact that this has been on my mind tormented me for a long time way before I knew I was sick and I have delighted them tortured them with hilarious monologues semi-delirious rants about just what I would do to Michael's second wife if I died.  You read that right: what I would do to her.  When I was dead.  Because I'm literally that childish and crazy.  Thank goodness I at least have the luxury of only having to navigate this second wife thing after I die.  If I had to do it when I was alive I would end up on 48 Hours or Nancy Grace.  Anyhoo, I have devoted an unhealthy amount of time to contemplating the best plan for when I meet this horrible jerk face lady.  Because I hate her hypothetical guts.  Luckily for her the whole idea is so upsetting for me I can't get a better plan together than "Play it cool when you die so God lets you into heaven and you can hang out by the pearly gates and when she finally dies and she's on her way you can lurk behind some puffy clouds or a burning bush or something and when she comes flying along with her stupid shiny new wings and her dumb holy new smiley heaven face BAM--celestial two by four upside her dumb perfectly restored head.  Then I get kicked out.  Of heaven.  Which is very bad.  So...I need some serious work and I don't mean on the plan!  I mean on me.  On my heart.

I just love Michael SO MUCH.  So much that when I really think about it I can hardly breathe.  The thought of him falling in love with someone else, even after I die, is physically painful.  I love him so much that I can't stand the thought of not being with him forever and ever amen.  He is the love of my life and the best friend I will ever have and we have been through SO MUCH and built SO MUCH and now this broad is going to come traipsing along and...and do what?  Love an amazing man?  Who deserves to be loved?  Who I promised 12 years ago to love and honor all the days of my life?  How am I loving and honoring him all the days of my life if I am begrudging him what is best for him for his WHOLE life no matter what that entails?  More than that, how am I loving and honoring him if I'm spending even one minute of the time that we are together thinking about this hypothetical woman?    

If I'm being honest, part of the reason I hate her is that if I were to kick the bucket before him and he were to remarry, that means she's walking around out there right now.  And seriously?  That's pretty threatening.  Someone could be walking around out there who Michael could love.  Ouch.  What if he met her too soon on accident?  What if we know her right now?  Well, ouch again.  But what a narcissistic fear to cling to, and how horribly disrespectful to Michael.  Aside from the fact that the only loving choice is to pray that he could find love again, I'm disregarding that Michael promised to love and honor me 'til death do us part.  So even if he did meet her before I died it wouldn't matter.  He is a good man.  He is an honorable man.  He promised to be true to me and that should be all I need to know.  It IS all I need to know.  I married a good man who promised freely to be true to me in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.  He didn't just say those words because he was told to, he has lived them everyday for 12 years even though the bad and the sickness have been more than our young naive minds could have anticipated on our wedding day.  This is not a man who should have a wife who would begrudge him love and companionship for his whole life because she is too selfish and insecure to truly want the best for him at all times, no matter what that means.  

So.  Someday, when I'm 90 and Michael and I are on our porch somewhere and I'm practicing my shuffle off to buffalo tap step in my fringey dance costume and my best wig and I lose my balance and fall off the porch and it's literally curtains for me, I hope I'll be prepared.  I have no doubt the rest of those old bags in my dance troupe will be circling Michael as soon as the crudite is put out at my lovely bereavement brunch.  They will have seen that he's a good looking guy for 93, doesn't talk much, is quite tolerant of too much talking, and will come to tap dance performances if there will be food and he can bring his puzzles.  They will know he has loving children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and they will know it is because he is such a good man.  Those ladies will know they'd better capitalize on the fact that Nella is out of the picture, because even at 93, Michael will still be a man many women would give anything to share a life with.
I know I can't attack Michael's future wife in Heaven because that's not how Heaven works.  Heaven is a state of being in perfect union with God who is pure love.  If I can get in there, I will be able to love purely and freely in a way my puny human mind and heart can't understand right now.  If Michael ever remarries, I'm going to trust that God will have mercy on this poor sinner and see that I love Michael as much as is humanly possible and He will  help me to look down from heaven and smile and tap dance and rejoice that he is loving and being loved.  If I love Michael as much as I promised I would, it must be my most desperate hope everyday that his life is always the very best God has in store for him, no matter what or who that might mean.  If I truly love Michael I have to let go of this impulse to make our love about me, when it should always be about wanting the greatest good for him.

We are 12 years into this crazy life together and they have been 12 years that have included the greatest pain I have ever known, but also the greatest joy.  They have been 12 years of stretching our hearts to accommodate the love that continues to grow in our marriage.  Heart stretching can really hurt, but it always pays off.  Michael and I have decided (or I have proclaimed and he concurred) that we are going to celebrate our 75th wedding anniversary together someday.  I will be 96 and he will be 99.  So I guess I'll be 96 when I tap dance off the porch.  Poor Michael will probably be thinking "How did I get mixed up with a crazy broad who was stubborn enough to think she could still shift her weight from foot to foot that fast at age 96?" and then he'll probably shake his head and fix my wig  before the paramedics get there because he is the best.  Hopefully 63 more years will be enough time to love him as much as he deserves, to bless him just barely enough for how much he has blessed me in only 12.  Hopefully I'll stretch my heart enough in those years to make it to heaven devoid of the impulse to search for a celestial two by four, because Michael deserves every ounce of love the human soul is capable of this side of heaven, and so much more.

Happy Anniversary Michael, from your future geriatric tap dancer.  I love you so much and will work hard everyday for the rest of our lives to love you more.  



  1. Happy anniversary! Your marriage is beautiful. It is so good to know there are loves like yours out there! Here's to tap dancing at 96!

    (Also, my second wife fantasies are way different than yours. It would probably be best to share them in person lest I make people worry ;)

    1. Thank you Mary! I definitely gave the hypothetical wife a bit of a break in this post because this is a family blog lol.

  2. This is so sweet and funny! I want to be on the sidelines watching you tap dance although I'll be well over 100!!!!

    1. Kelly, I'll start tapping before 90 so I'm sure you'll see at once performance. Or I could do my pretend version for you now...but that won't be as impressive.

  3. Happy belated anniversary to you and your hubs!! And there ain't gonna BE no second wife. Because you're not gonna die.

    1. Does that mean I can add a mini trampoline to the tap dancing? ;)

  4. You're very honest, I love that!! And the fact that you have these thoughts about Michael's "second wife" only shows how deep your love for him is. I never thought about that "second wife" who could be walking the I am :D God bless you!!

    1. Hi! Some call it honest, some call it crazy, but I appreciate you going with honest!

  5. This is beautiful and hilarious and I have felt the same way. I've been reading so much of you blog and I love it. You are an amazing, super strong mom/wife/woman. Prayers for you, your sweet little baby girl, and the rest of your family.

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