My right to pursue happiness.

Felecci ready for heaven

Raise your hand if you were her husband.  Ok, then don’t tell me how to feel or what to do.

I’ve been annoyed about this for a while now, though not specifically annoyed at anyone.  A lot of this is likely my own imagination, but it is there all the same.  Some of it isn’t my imagination, and I am sure some of it hasn’t been said but thought.  So let me clear the air.

I feel like I am entitled to do what I want.  I feel I earned that right. But there is this unspoken feeling that my decisions are being questioned.  No one person has triggered this post.  But simple innocent comments can build up and I don’t want to say something I will regret to someone who doesn’t deserve it.  I know people have my best interest at heart, but a lot of your comments are misguided attempts to prevent me from being hurt.   It’s too late for that.

There is nothing else this world can do to me that will hurt me more emotionally.  It can only put me through more of the same, and I am familiar with that enemy now.  I will not sit and hide and watch my life go by because of fear of standing back up.  That is not who I am.

I am going to let everyone in on the secret to pissing off someone who lost their spouse.  Have an opinion on how we should grieve or how long we should grieve.  Or assume because we still grieve that we are not getting better; like we have a cold or something to be cured.  Or think you know what is going on in our head and making assumptions about my intentions or actions.

So because no one person has triggered this, and no one person deserves this to be said to them, I am going to say it to an imaginary person so that we can all bear witness.  This imaginary person is the sum of all judgment I feel has been passed on me, imagined or not.  This way, I can say what is on my mind without having to have a confrontation with anyone.  Tonight I say my peace to the world, and let the world know where I stand.  So let’s have at it.

This is my loss, not yours.  You didn’t drive to Sloan Kettering for 8 years, I did.  I watched my wife get tortured in a vain attempt to save her life.  I am the one who had to get up multiple times at night when she was in pain and help her.  I am the one who had to go to work and advance my career while combating depression.  I am the one who pushed her in a wheelchair for 2 years.  I am the one who made sure she always had oxygen when we traveled.  And I am the one who is left holding the pieces.

I may be the toughest person you know; except for her.  I knew she was going to die for 6 years.  Do you know what waiting for your wife to die for 6 years feels like?  To watch a disease slowly kill them?  To have a disease make it impossible to be intimate with your wife?  The depression I had to fight through because there was no one around who was going to help if I failed?  I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone.

I would trade places with her in a second so that she has this opportunity if I could.  But this isn’t how it happened.  It is my job to find meaning in why this happened.  It is my job to make good come of this, with or without the help of family, friends, or even god.

The fact is, I am the only one who married Felecci.  I am the only one who was with her when we discussed her death and what she wanted for me.  I’m the only know who knows what it felt like to transfer her ashes into that urn in the picture to make sure everything was biodegradable for her burial.  And I’m the one who arranged this mural just before her 40th day simply because her family believed it was the day she would ascend to heaven.

I’m the only one that knows that the day I did this, I felt a sense of calm.  I’m the only know who knows that the day I did this is the day I decided to start doing what she wanted me to do.  She wanted me to get stronger from this, not to listen to judgment.  She wanted me to be the person she married and find happiness, not have people question my intentions.

If I decide to move, it will be to a place I choose.  Or I may stay where I am.

If I decide to change jobs, it will be because I choose to.  Or I will stay where I am because I have a great job and a great position already.

If I decide to start dating, I am not asking your permission if it is ok.  I am doing it because I am ready.  Or I will stay single and become a monk.  Not your call.

Point being, I am doing what I think is right and what my heart and my wife wanted for me.  I am no longer afraid.  The world has taken everything from me that mattered, and I want my happiness back.  I am going to find it, and I will deal with the setbacks as they come.  I am no longer afraid.

I will always love Felecci.  I still have unfinished business with God over her death.  I don’t understand the purpose of what she went through.  I don’t know why this happened.  But I won’t find the answer sitting inside my house feeling sorry for myself.

The answer is out there.  I have begun to heal by giving to charities I want to be involved in.  By helping people who need my professional expertise.  By starting to look for someone to love again so that I can write my next chapter.  By sharing what I have learned from this experience.  By embracing the three sisters I gained when I lost my wife.

I know I am able to stand against the tide when things go bad.  I have proof that I will not shy away from adversity.  I know I can go through the worst possible outcome and maintain my marriage vows and promises.  When I look in the mirror, I know who I am.  Better or worse you are god damn right.  And I never wavered.  Till death do us part.  And I would do it again, no regrets.

But I know she is in a better place now and watching over me.  I hope someday I can find someone who accepts what I went through.  Who appreciates that it has made me into the man I am today.  And understands that I am the way I am because I once had the honor of being married to an amazing woman.  And is confident that I can love them without judgment or comparison. That I have the capacity to love and my love for Felecci does not interfere with my love for them.  Because I still have a life to live, and a promise to keep.  I am no longer afraid.  And I want to live, not just exist.

I don’t know how to drop a mic while writing, so use your imagination.


4 thoughts on “My right to pursue happiness.

  1. Oh my god, am so moved by every word in your writing. I wake up some day and just want to move on, get a companion live my life as beautiful as my husband would have wanted but guess what I begin to judge myself and imagining what people would say about me, I hear people in my head saying she never really loved him any he has only been gone 15 months and she is happy and moving on. It’s just so hard, I know some day I would feel better. Thank you John for always giving the right words that helps to heal. God bless your good heart.


    • Glad you liked it. It’s funny, with all of the different ways we have lost our spouse, we all tend to react in a very similar manner. The only difference is the time it takes to move through this path.


  2. I do not know how many times I’ve written something to those judging me just to realize it was me judging myself. Anyway, enjoyed and appreciated your story and agree 100% and I’m with you on living your life on your own terms. I also know loss, too much of it and I’m sorry you had to experience that.


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