The holidays afforded our family a lot of special moments with people we love. There was Christmas morning at home with my mom. Christmas evening on Long Island with Jordan’s family. A trip to Virginia to see my dad. And time to catch up with some of our dearest/oldest college friends in D.C.
Perhaps the most special day was one when we were able to visit Jameson’s Grandma Helen and Grandmomma Etelle — the mothers of our late spouses, Danielle and Jarronn.The love these two have for Jameson is humbling and consistently makes my heart overflow. While I couldn’t imagine the love Jarronn’s mother (or the rest of his family) had for me running out with his death, it’s filled me with joy to see her love flow over onto Jordan and Jameson too.
People often ask us how we manage our relationships with our late spouses’ families. I guess the thought is there are lots of awkward moments. Or some kind of tension. Or perhaps that the relationships we built with them when our late spouses were alive wouldn’t continue now that Danielle and Jarronn are gone.
While it’s true that distance and life circumstance mean our relationships aren’t the same, I’m grateful for the love we continue to share. For the opportunities to keep Danielle’s and Jarronn’s memories alive. For reminders of how love carries on beyond death.
And as a mother, myself, I have to imagine it isn’t always easy. Even for me and Jordan, welcoming Jameson to the world was a reminder of how both Jarronn and Danielle deeply wanted to be parents but never had the chance. I can imagine it’s hard for Jarronn and Danielle’s families to look at Jameson and not think about the children we thought would be born out of our previous marriages.
It’s hard for all of us to think about the things that never could be.
This is why being loved by Danielle’s and Jarronn’s families (this includes Jarronn’s father, brother, extended family, and Danielle’s close friends too) means so much to us. In fact, when Jordan and I got married, we made sure to dedicate a part of our ceremony to them:
Family, thank you for loving us as your own, in times of joy, sadness, and happy anticipation of the future. We appreciate you for nurturing Danielle and Jarronn into the people we came to love. We are grateful for your love and support as we strive to honor their lives and legacies. Who we are is a result of relationships we’ve had with God, our families and friends, and certainly our late spouses. As such, we’ve each fallen in love with the person that Danielle and Jarronn helped to shape. Thank you for sharing them with us.
I’m grateful for all Jameson will get to learn about Danielle and Jarronn through their families — our families. And all he’ll get to learn about the heart’s ability to expand and love in ways we might never imagine.