There simply aren’t words for the insane, unpredictable, difficult, and yet, abundantly joyful journey that life has been for my twenty-seven years on this earth. Nearly three years after the hardest days of my existence, life has gotten a whole lot more beautiful. With tears running down my cheeks as I write this, I am elated to share that I’ve remarried, and we are expecting our first little one. Yes, you read that right. Feel free to backtrack and reread, but it’ll say the same thing - I am, indeed, married, and we have a little one on the way!!
Holy mic drop, right? In my years of sharing my heart, my journey, and the ups and downs of life, I’ve never shied away from doing so with raw authenticity. It’s why so many of you have supported me and reached out over the years; you have been able to identify with the honest gamut of emotions I’ve felt or walked through. So hear me when I say, though I am truly overjoyed to share this news, I’ve been terrified. Not because I’m ashamed, but simply because I love Andrew so much, and I know how many of you love Andrew, too. I was never sure if my heart could handle that love being under attack or questioned. I was never sure if I could take someone seeing me happy again and think, “She must not have loved Andrew like we all thought she did.” The thought of that absolutely destroys me. So I’ve been quiet. I’ve been anxious. I’ve been protective — both of Andrew’s legacy and of my relationship with Nick.
But, I’ve also spent a lot of time with friends and family. A lot of time in prayer. A lot of time thinking about Andrew. And with that, my freedom to be happy again became more and more undeniable, and more importantly, what Andrew always told me he wanted me to pursue. He and I had countless conversations, played out all of the “what if’s,” and tried to think of every worst-case-scenario, not because that was fun or what any young couple dreams of, but because that was just the way life was positioning us. Though I didn’t want to face it at the time, those tough moments would be what got me through all of the inner critique, self-doubt, and uncertainty. Those wretched conversations with Andrew granted me the permission I felt I needed to look up from my misery.
I never knew what life after Andrew would look like. I struggled to live in fear of the unknown and of the life I had never dreamt of. I knew there was no escaping or eluding grief; it was now intricately a part of every ounce of my body, and latched on as a lifelong companion that I will carry with me always. In some ways, it became my own kind of cancer. And with this heavy shadow following my every move, I found happiness and joy to be elusive. “Surely,” I thought to myself, “I can’t possibly know such deep pain and even the most shallow of joy simultaneously.” I, therefore, concluded that my life was not meant to know joy again. I slipped in and out of depression, simply going through the motions of life and buying my time until I could reunite with Andrew again. I was living for the day I’d die.
I met Nick in those days — at the lowest point in my life. I was in no way, shape, or form looking. We were quick friends who grew into best friends. We fell in love through hard conversations, endless patience with one another, and more grace than I thought possible. I always knew if there was ever going to be someone after Andrew, he’d have to be pretty special. He’d have to be patient and kind. He’d have to be okay with forever sharing me and my most precious days. He’d have to love and respect a man that he never met. He would have to be understanding and compassionate. Nick is exactly that special man. He knew what loving me meant from the beginning and chose to do it all anyway.
Today, I’m thankful. Today, I can stand in front of you and say that I now know that I am called and have been placed on this earth for a higher purpose than to simply exist. Today, I can tell you one of the most impactful lessons I’ve learned in my life is that grief and happiness can coexist. I am learning to live in that, to heal in spite of that, and to grow amongst that.
I am a wife and soon-to-be mother. I am a speaker and a writer, grateful for life experiences and lessons that have made my voice stronger. I celebrate and honor Andrew through Project 44, working to ensure his heart and mission live on. I am excited about life again. I find joy in life again. I genuinely smile and belly-laugh again. I never saw this kind of beauty in life coming again, but it’s made me a believer in the best kinds of surprises.
I’m so grateful for the constant outpouring of love and support over the years, and hope you will continue onto this new journey with me, too. I couldn’t have gotten through my darkest days without you all, and I’m looking forward to sharing some of the best days that have yet to come!
All my love,