I see the way his eyes light up when he speaks of you. The pain behind those slate blue eyes, like a wounded warrior. He wears the loss of you like a badge. I wish I could help him, but I have to let him heal on his own.
See, I’m the woman who came to him nine years after you died. I want to make it clear that I have no intention of taking your place. No, that would be impossible. You gave him three babies, 12 years of love and memories. You died too soon, at 42, of breast cancer, leaving him forever changed. You made a famous pecan pie and cleaned the house like a wizard. To be honest, I would fail at both of those endeavors.
My own talents? I’ll admit, I’m a little messy at times. I’m not as pulled together as you were, based on his glowing review. He almost speaks of you like a celebrity or golden statue on a pedestal. You were his everything.
Sure, I can make a delicious home-cooked meal and wonderful tiramisu. I’m not saying I’m a total failure domestically. But you were the ultimate. And that’s OK. Really. I wouldn’t want to ever replace you. I see how your presence—and premature departure—has emblazoned a brand on his heart.
Your children are lovely. Declan, 19, is entering his second year in college studying history. He’s a smart, witty young man, left-handed, like me. We both love history. It’s a nice bonus. Skyler, 17, is popular and an all-star on the soccer field. She is a delight, a ray of sunshine. I’ve never seen her unhappy. Brady, 15, is comical, introverted, a social media wiz. Each are unique, yet alike in some ways. Your husband has raised a great brood. I wish you were here to see them. I’m proud to know them.
I’ll admit that, at first, I was terrified they wouldn’t like me. That, somehow, they would resent their father for bringing a new woman into the house. But instead, they welcomed me with open arms.
It scared me a little. I thought they would scrutinize my motives or compare me to you. Although you passed away when they were small, I know the maternal bond children have with their birth mother. It’s irreplaceable. I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t accept me. It’s to be expected.
If you hadn’t passed away, I would not know this amazing family. I don’t want this to sound strange, but I need to thank you for leaving your earthly body and graduating to heaven. Without your departure, I would not know these three teens with their big hearts and humorous antics or the man who is tender, somewhat jaded at times, but overall a terrific man. He doesn’t always say what he means or openly share his feelings. I think it’s difficult for him to be raw and honest, but he’s making progress.
Change is good for people, and evidently, I have changed. I’ve learned patience by having him in my life. I’ve learned to be caring, to be more compassionate.
The gift of your passing has been bittersweet for us all. I know there are days he would give anything to bring you back. And I wish I could. But I’m not God or Harry Potter.
Thank you for the years you gave him when you were alive. I might be a mere shadow to your glowing reputation, but I promise I’ll help make the rest of his life wonderful.
I adore him and your children. I promise to love, honor and cherish them. Always.
The Next Wife