Unveiling Emotional Pieces We Keep


The “pieces” of our emotional self we keep after heartache inspired me to dig more.

I was not the same person the moment my husband died. Pieces of my heart, pieces of my soul, pieces of my thought process all went with him.

Five days after our 1st wedding anniversary I was no longer called a “wife” but a “widow.” My mind would play countless tricks on me as to who I really was now? Was I lost? No. Was I heartbroken? Yes.

Was I determined? Yes, no, maybe? Determined to what? Not fall apart? Not succumb to grief? Not succumb to the whispers of “poor thing?” Determined to NOT be a broken mommy? Determined to still be a wife? Why? How? To hold my head high and LOVE in spite of the world that was crashing all around me? Determined to pick up the family and friends around me that were “Crashing.” Yes! I had a purpose.

To maintain the world as I once knew it, to shield my daughter from the harshness of it and to advocate for life, determination in others and FORGIVENESS in spite of others falling down all around me.

Photo By Melissa Rebel Robinson

I was no longer a “wife” so I took that emotional “part” of me that I LOVED yet quickly LOST and put it into others in order to give hope and showcase LOVE in action. Not to be a “hero” but to be a support to others in my own time of “need.” I never thought for a moment it was because of “me,” I knew always it was God working through me.

Fast forward 15 years as I maintain these emotional “pieces” of me. Where did I go? Who was I? I had grown in my public grief yet in my private grief I still had questions.

“The”box? The box hidden in the back of my closet; its contents contained the wedding dress that I once wore. My goodness it sure did have incredible emotional “pieces” tied to it.

10/19/02 brought me pure happiness, love and the promise of an incredible future. Why now on this anniversary 15 years later did it haunt me? Would the contents of this “box” help me find my answer?

I wanted to try it on for the sake of “me?” Would I stand steady or would I fall and never rise again?

If it were not for my friend and talented photographer Melissa Rebel Robinson who I credit this photo…this dress would still be in the back of my closet fearing the unknown. It would be a piece of me I would never dare step into.

We all grow in our own time and space. This is my wedding dress that I married the love of my life in. When I put it on for the 2nd time in my life 15 years later, I did not succumb to my biggest fear and die of a broken heart, never to face life again. Instead I felt loved, embraced, safe and truly honored for who I was.

These emotions mirrored the person I was the day I married in this dress.

Yes! I am different, who would not be?

Yes, I want to go back and change “life” but I can’t so I move forward carrying the love in my heart that both God and Mark have gifted me with.

When I look at this picture and remember this photo shoot, when I first stepped into this dress as a widow and not a wife “to-be” I remembered most the real love that I felt that can never go away.

There are pieces of “us” we keep no matter what happens in our lives. Yes, we fall apart. Yes, we keep getting up. Yes, we grieve. Yes, we mourn what was, we mourn what will never be and we mourn for one more yesterday that we all hope will take that extra ache away.

This is peaceful me yesterday, today and tomorrow in a dress that made me the happiest girl in the world.

I dared step into that dress for one more day to see if the pieces of me I thought I lost was still alive. I knew I was ready and it was my time.

Maybe it took 15 years to do so but I just had to find out in my own way and my own time and space.

Picture of Melissa Wandall

Melissa Wandall

International Keynote Speaker. Dedicated to educate, encourage and empower individuals and organizations for greater impact.

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