**Please welcome Matt to our blog in his FIRST blog entry!**
A few weeks ago our family was driving together past the Provo Cemetary where my deceased wife is buried. My wife Lisa said “You know, we haven’t taken flowers to your wife in a while. We should do that.”
On the surface that sounds like a sweet thing to say. But what really stood out to me is that she referred to my deceased wife Amy as “Your Wife”. Typically over the past 3 years Lisa would refer to her just as “Amy“. So this instance stood out to me.
I have noticed a slow change in my wife Lisa over the the past few years. She may disagree but it seems to me that she use to have a hard time with my relationship with my deceased wife, Amy. Now Lisa feels more comfortable, confident and secure in our relationship.
Lisa and I met on a Facebook support group for widows and widowers. She first accepted my friend request and we immediately started texting back and forth that day. We texted off and on for hours that day. Lisa thought it was uncomfortable but I preferred that we didn’t talk on the phone but rather Via FaceTime so we could see each other as we talked.
We did this every night while we were putting our kids to bed and then late into the night. 11 days later I packed up my kids on Christmas day, after they had enjoyed the day with family, and drove through a blizzard from Utah to California to go to Disneyland and meet my new “widow friend” in California.
We had already spent hours talking long distance every night but hit it off pretty quickly once we met in person. I was falling for her, she for me. But what really got to me was when we were at the California Adventure theme park. The Radiator Springs Racers ride was the premier ride at the park and one my kids were looking forward to going on. We got there early to get our passes but the ride was broken down so we couldn’t get our fast passes. We came back a little later once it was running again, and the only passes we could get were for 9:30pm that night. We weren’t planning on staying with kids that late at the park and the regular line was 2 hours long so we went in the single rider line which was only 45 minutes long. Everyone rode the ride except for Lisa, Quinton (age 2) and Brendan (age 5) because my little boys were too small to ride alone. As Lisa was waiting with my two boys, she took them to a section where they could see the riders speed by. She looked at Brendan and saw that he started to tear up because he had been excited to go on that ride but now he couldn’t. That broke her heart. Even though he wasn’t her son, her mama gears kicked in. When we got off the ride, Lisa told me that Brendan was going on that ride and she insisted that she would wait in the two hour line while I took the kids on other rides and then as she got closer to the front of the line, I would send Brendan up to her so he could ride with her. This made me melt.
<here is the proof that he went on that ride!>
To think that this woman was going to stand in line for 2 hours by herself so my son could go on the ride. She didn’t know it at the time but that’s when I really fell in love with her.
It is one thing for a woman to fall in love with me personally, but when a woman loves my children and those who I love, that makes me love her so much more.
When the woman that I am now married to and has taken the role as my wife wants to take flowers to my deceased wife and acknowledges her as my wife without feelings of jealousy or competition, it makes me love her that much more.
The Savior said “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40
I can only imagine, through my own experience how much gratitude the Lord has for those who love their neighbor as the Lord would have you love them. I have pondered upon this concept of when Lisa shows love to those that I love and have realized that this is when I really, really love her.
This is a concept that can apply to any blended family. Children in blended families often resent and resist the new parent, in part because this new parent represents a replacement of their deceased or divorced parent. Is it possible that by truly showing love toward the deceased or divorced parent, that the child may be more accepting of the new parent? I think so. Yet, this may be one of the hardest things for a new stepparent to do.