Tearing Down and Building Up

I know I don’t update this blog often anymore.  It’s not that I don’t love writing in this space or updating those who still read, it’s simply that my life is so incredibly busy these days.  I seldom have a spare moment and when I find one, I savor it and usually find myself doing absolutely nothing.  Just sitting and enjoying a moment of stillness and silence.  No talking.  No thinking.  No…..anything.

Nursing school is everything I anticipated it being and more.  It’s challenging and complicated and exhausting.  I’m literally learning something new every single day.  I am surprising myself at what I can do and learn and be at 36 years of age.  It feels really, really good to use my brain in a real and tangible way and I am becoming somewhat competitive academically which shocks nobody more than myself.  I really want to be the very best nurse there is.  I am so passionate about this and learning all that I can about the human body and how it works and why.  I need to know all the whys.  A lot of this passion stems from losing not one, but two of my people in a decade.  And yes, I lost them to two completely different disease processes and/or genetic defects, but I need to know why.  I need to help other people.  And I need to know why.

Because of the intense busyness of my life these days, I no longer have a lot of time to think about my life and what a mess it is.  I have decided that a year in, this is a good thing.  When I allow myself to sit down and really think about the last year of my life, I feel so incredibly sorry for that Michelle.  I want to hug her and tell her she will actually be OK.  She will really be able to live without Matt…..she may not like it very much, but she will in fact, do it.  I want her to know that she will slowly, so very slowly start to feel sparkles of happiness again.  It will bring tears to her eyes every time she feels them, but she will feel them.  I want to tell her that alcohol won’t solve this problem and it won’t dull the pain forever.  It will just make it worse when she wakes up and realizes all over again that he is actually gone and never coming back.  These are all things I have figured out 15 months in, but it would have been nice to figure them out sooner.

The thing I have realized about losing the love of your life is the same thing as loving the love of your life.  It destroys you.  Then it builds you back up.  And destroys you again.  Repeat.  Forever.  This is what life is and this is what love is.  It is destruction and beautiful reconstruction.  It is ashes and then beauty rising from it.  There were times in those years with Matt that I thought I could never love him more than I did in that minute.  Then other times when I swore I could not love him any less.  But those loveless moments were always just moments and the love was always so much bigger and more consuming that anything else.  And I am so very thankful for that.  So many of you have poured your hearts out to me over the last two years and it’s always so precious to me to see others hearts.  You have told me of your marriage getting better because of my story.  You have told me that you will hold out for a real love like this, because I am proof that these kinds of stories do exist in the flesh……and they do.   Real love stories look like mine.  They look like the man I saw while working last week whose wife of 55 years suffered a massive stroke and will never be the same woman.  He looked at her with so much love in his eyes and told me how much he loved her and would never leave her side.  I had to leave the room as soon as I could so I could cry for a minute.  Because his love for his wife made my heart ache for Matt.  Because I know what he is feeling.  I know what it feels like to look at this person that you have loved with everything you have, slip away.  It is the loneliest and most helpless feeling in the world.  Right now he is being destroyed by love.  It is absolute destruction and wreckage every where he looks.  But I have to hope, for him, for me, for all of us, that love will rebuild us.  That we will find beauty again, in whatever that looks like for each one of us.  I felt the same pain when I awoke to the news of Las Vegas.  Love destroyed again.  More destruction and loss and pain and hopelessness.  The thing is, people are losing their people every minute of every single day.  Tearing down and building back up.  It’s happening all the time.  Every day.  This is life……and yes, it’s all the things.  And sometimes it is just too much and you have to take a minute from life.  You have to hit pause and say “I can’t feel this for a while.  It’s too heavy to carry.”  And that’s OK.

I think I am probably in the very, very, very beginning stages of a rebuild.  Like, maybe the architect is making a rough draft blue print.  Not even the final draft.  I have a long way to go.  My destruction was mighty indeed and I will not be rebuilt over night.  My heart was obliterated.  Millions of pieces all over the place.  Utter destruction.  It’s going to take some time and that’s OK.  I am working on me, when I can, a little at a time.  I was so afraid after Matt died that I wouldn’t be able to be alone.  That I would be that person who rushes into something because they fear all of that infinite aloneness.  This is my first time in my adult life to be alone.  I’ve never been a “single”.  Ever.  To my great surprise, I really like it.  It’s not  nearly as terrifying as I had pictured it, it’s just totally exhausting.  Single parenting?  The worst thing ever.  After cancer that is.  But being alone?  Is not the worst thing ever.  I know, I know, everyone wants me to have another great love story and have this amazing happy ending.  But what if this is my happy ending?  Just finding myself, finding my passion for a career, raising 3 amazing humans (please baby Jesus) and that’s it.  What if I only have one great, amazing and big love in this life?  I am OK with that and I need everyone else to be OK with to, because seriously some of ya’ll are about to make me lose my mind up in here.  No, I don’t want to go on a date with that guy. I’m sure he’s great, but No.  I have no time, no desire, no no no, have I mentioned Nope?  No.  I know.  I get it.  All the other widows are moving forward.  Dating.  Getting remarried.  Getting out there.  That’s OK too.  We’re all right and OK and doing what is best for us.  In our own way.  I get asked all of the time, “has anyone asked you out?”  Yes.  And I always politely and gently say No.  It’s a hard No.  I promise you, my life is very, very full.  And is getting happier with each passing month.  And also more exhausting and complicated.  You know what adds more exhaustion and complications that I don’t have time for?  You got it.  NO.

I also get asked a lot about where my relationship with God is.  Am I angry?  Do I go to church?  Do I pray?  I don’t have all of those answers.  I will be very honest and say that it isn’t the same anymore.  It’s so very complicated.  My love story with God is the most complicated of all of my stories.  I am still angry, yes.  How can I not be?  Do I still believe in God?  Absolutely yes.  Do I still talk to him?  Yes, but admittedly not like I should.  Church is complicated too.  We visit churches and then never go back because I see all these happy couples with their kids and I kind of hate them for it.  I’ll just admit it.  I’m 100% jealous of you happy married people.  I used to be like you too.  Sitting in church, holding my husbands hand and thinking I am so blessed.  Until one day I wasn’t so blessed.  Because cancer came into our lives and exploded our blessings like a bomb.  It started a war that hasn’t quite been won yet.  I know the right answers, I know what I should do.  But telling my heart that is a completely different thing.  I am not the same woman I was two years ago and I don’t really know how to get back to her or if I even can.  It’s as simple and as complicated as that friends.

It is time for this blog to come to and end.  It’s a blog that I never expected to happen.  But then again, I’m living a life I never expected to happen either.  The biggest thing I hope all of you will take from my story is this:  LOVE is everything.  Absolutely everything.  It is the beginning and middle and end.  I hope you love your people so big  and so crazy and so well that you don’t have any regrets when it ends.  Because it will end and you will be destroyed by it.  But then you will be rebuilt, with great care and time and love.  Cherish your people.  Soak them up.  Really look at them and marvel at them.  They are yours and you are theirs and it’s so breathtakingly beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.  Just love each other well and good and hard.




  1. Carl Blankenship · October 4

    Fair winds and following seas.


  2. Linda · October 4

    Beautiful and so very true. I wish you and your sweet children a good life, lived as only you can. ❤️


  3. Blue Corn · October 4

    Michelle, thank you for visiting with us about what has been going on in your life. I am excited that you are pursuing the nursing field with a passion. I am glad you are well without having to go out on dates and that your focus is on the loves of your life…your children, thank you. No matter what you think about your relationship with God I know beyond a shadow of a doubt his love for you will always be there. Peace 🙂


  4. Carolyn · October 4

    I have to say thoughout your long, hard journey the past 18 months, I have read almost every one of your posts (I think) and I have felt honored to be a part of your family. Your writings have always been so honest and bold and with such feeling and emotion that I felt like I REALLY understood what you were feeling, although I know that isn’t possible.
    You are a very talented writer, you’re an awesome mom, it looks like you are going to be a Top Notch nurse and I am so very proud of everything you’ve accomplished even through all the tragedy you’ve experienced.
    Thank you for letting all of us into your life on such a deep and personal level. You didn’t have to share all these things with us, but I know you have been a huge blessing to huge audience.
    The offer is still open for you to bring your kids to our place to fish, just say the word.
    Take care and again, thank you for helping us. God bless you and your children.


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