Marty mentioned marriage more than once over the last year, letting me know in no uncertain terms that he would like to tie our lives together permanently, but I always hesitated. I said I wasn’t ready or that it was too soon. What I meant was that I was scared of committing. I was afraid that if I married Marty, I’d somehow be disloyal to Michael. Somewhere in my head, I knew this wasn’t true, but my heart had other ideas.

Mike and I discussed the possibility of my finding someone else if he died before I did more than once, probably because we both knew this was a distinct possibility since he was ten years older and plagued with a host of health issues.

My husband had mixed feelings about this. He wanted me to find someone after he was gone so he would be comfortable knowing I’d be taken care of when he was no longer around. But he couldn’t bear the idea of my loving someone else. I think he saw me as keeper of the flame where his memory was concerned, that I should don widows’ weeds and contemplate our lives together for the rest of my time on earth.

Michael went even further, mistily wishing we could “go together,” enjoying each other’s company throughout eternity. I think he probably liked this idea rather than the reality. But I know he was conflicted about how I lived my life after he was no longer physically in it.

With all this baggage, it’s easy to see why I hesitated when it came to tying the knot with another man. But things began to shift in my head when I thought about how much I loved Marty. I pictured the emptiness of my life without him and began to see that committing to him didn’t negate what Mike and I had. It will never erase my memories, and it definitely won’t keep Mike from psychically tossing his two cents into the mix of Marty’s and my life whenever he feels like it.

Armed with a renewed sense of independence and a determination to move forward, I presented Marty with a Zales credit card on Christmas morning. Since I had no idea what his ring size was and didn’t want to tip him off about the proposal, I figured the next best thing to placing an engagement ring on his finger would be to show him I had the power to purchase one.

It must’ve worked because there was a look of complete shock on Marty’s face when he opened the red envelope. Looking him directly in his beautiful eyes, I said, “Will you marry me?”

Wiping away tears, he took me in his arms and murmured yes. By this time, I was crying too, and as I kissed my fiancé on the nape of his warm neck, I thought about how deliriously happy this step made me.

8 thoughts on “Steps”

  1. I’ve thought about this a lot since I saw Mystic River years ago. Can the deceased spouse become a third person in the relationship? In that movie, a disturbing yes. Watching my father’s second marriage, not so much. He always remained respectful to my mother as his new relationship grew. Congratulations on your engagement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Making Michael a part of my relationship with Marty has really helped me move on with my life. For his part, Marty has always been open to talking about Mike and our lives together, and this has been a great gift. It’s allowed me to continue to heal and our relationship to grow. This wasn’t always the case with others I’ve been involved with since my husband’s death. Your good wishes are greatly appreciated.


  2. Right at this very moment, I am smiling from ear-to-ear for you and Marty. Congratulations, my friend. Thank you for sharing your happiness with us.

    Liked by 1 person

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