Walked Through Fire

Without fanfare, it has begun. A process just months ago I could not have fathomed. Just a short three years ago were you to tell me what I know today I may have punched you in the jaw. But, today, something I never wanted since the day she and I met, today it started. I have begun to erase Maggie from my life.

It’s a simple action, really, pressing the delete button on the Tivo. But that simple action bangs my already tattered emotions with rocks. How could one unwatched Dancing With Stars* episode bring me to tears? Desperate Housewives, Gossip Girl, America’s Top Model, Law and Order, Lost…. With each click of the remote my heart takes a new bruise. I feel like I’m betraying her, one show at a time. How could I be so callous or uncaring? How could I do this to her? But, as it has been lately, I hold my chin steady and repeat what Maggie would say to me were she here: “Hey, I don’t watch TV anymore so don’t save the shows. Delete them so you can make room for things you like.” She always did have a way to cut through the chaff. But each show I delete represents a tiny Maggie eraser (and a tiny dagger straight into my heart.) Stupid Tivo. Stupid TV shows. Stupid Maggie. Hmf.

* Dancing With Stars has always brought me close to tears simply because it’s ridiculously boring and pointless. While I have to say the outfits the girls wear while dancing befuddle my simple man-brain because of their provocativeness and provide the only entertainment value for me the show offers, I see no use for the show what so ever. But Maggie liked it.

I feel like I’ve begun to chip at a very large rock. Think phoenix but not quite the same. A phoenix rises from ashes but I am but part of the whole that was us, a large piece of which is now gone. Maggie and I have spent 10 years of together building what we are were. Our together created what you know and what you know is only part of what we are were. Now, everything has changed. Both what you and I know is gone.  It’s now up to me to start over and rebuild with that which is left. What was “Chris and Maggie” is now “Chris.” What was “Us” is now “Me.” While that sounds difficult, for craps sake, think about Maggie and how huge she represented in life. Her presence was dazzling. It is way, way more difficult than it seems at first. What the heck is left for me, or maybe, of me, now that she’s gone? I’m not really sure. But it’s my mission, my fate, my destiny to work out the details.

Yes, yes, yes, she’s going to always be with me. Yes, she’s watching me from above. Yeah, yeah, I know. Blah, blah, blah. That’s great and romantic and all but, reality check time. She’s not here to clean the kitchen, help me think things through, earn money to pay the electric bill, talk about my day, cook supper, or drive me to the doctor. Practicality meets romance. Romance loses.

And so starts my new life without Maggie…. It’s as much of a stranger to me as she was ten years ago when we first met. Looking back in comparison, she was much, much more exciting – sexy, beautiful, curvy, smart, funny. Wow, how entranced I was with her back then!* It’s like I was under a spell. But about my new life, I won’t kid you, I’m a little bit intrigued. Yes, I’m scared, if only to let go of what was. But what a great adventure this will be, too! What will it look like, this new world? Who will I meet and who will I become?

* I was under her spell to the day she died and beyond. Not one moment went by where I didn’t see her as my best friend and lover. She was sexy to me until the end (sorry, Moms, if that offends!)

Moving forward, I carry with me a few things that can not be taken away. One, my education, something I’m immensely proud of and something Maggie helped me achieve. Two, my past, random as it might be and which includes my Maggie memories. Three, my musical training, something I’ve recently been neglecting. Four, and maybe most important, I now wear a badge that reads “Walked Through Fire.” Who the hell would want such a badge? Not me, that’s for sure. But, damn it, I did. Now I’ve got the badge. Right now, whether I like it or not, it’s displayed prominently on my chest. I’m not proud nor will I ever use it as a weapon.  In fact, I’m almost embarrassed.  But I’m a better man because of what I’ve gone through…. Because of what we have gone through. I hope the rest of my life is worth the price we paid.  I suppose my new mission now is to make it so.

19 thoughts on “Walked Through Fire

  1. Hi Chris,

    I am yet another lurker on this site and like everyone else I have been amazed by your strength and positive approach through your journey and touched by the love you and Maggie shared. I would love to hear the story of how you two met (if you are willing to share it). I want to wish you continued strength to deal with what’s ahead and hope that you find a new kind of happiness and peace. God Bless

  2. Sounds like you’re adjusting pretty good, Chris. Good for you. I’d be stupid to give you any advice or fair-weather words – on the outside (and what revealing you have done of the inside) you show a good perspective. Oh – and just like men of war despise their medals, your badge is one you may hate, but it is a badge of honor. You were heroic – in a way that I hope I could be should the situation arise. Let others be proud of you… I know I am.

  3. Hey Chris,

    One of my closest friends really a sister died from Cervical Cancer at only 28 years old last year. And while Ill be the first to concede that it can’t be as tough as losing a wife her mother and I have found comfort in working on her foundation – which helps to promote awareness & education etc.

    Its really made it feel like we are doing something other than crying… While you may not be ready to jump in full fledged just yet – when the time comes I hope it will help you feel…. well better…

  4. This is the kind of thinking I was expecting from you. And this is what Maggie expects, too. GOOD FOR YOU!

    When God closes a door he always opens a window somewhere. Iknow you have heard this a million times, but believe it. That window is open somewhere. Look for it. More love and prayers. Meme

  5. Chris,
    You are an eloquent and poetic writer. You have painted the most beautiful picture of Maggie, your love for one another and your journey together. I wish you peace through your own personal journey.
    You have touched my life in an exquisite way.

  6. Hi Chris! How amazing you truly are in so many ways. Maggie was so lucky to have you and so are we. We all love you and are here for you as you continue on this journey and you are never alone. Big hugs!!!!

  7. Chris,

    You have walked through fire… you have essentially lived through everyone’s worst fear. I have often imagined what I would do if my worst fear came true. After initial thoughts of never being able to survive, it hit me that I might finally be free… free from fear. If you have lived through the worst, what else do you have to lose? Maybe this thought process is naïve and unique to me, but I hope you are able to just spread your wings and live your new life without a fear in the world. And again, thank you for sharing your journey even now. As Angela said in the previous post, some of us inspiration/hope seekers really do “need” it.

    Dawn (from dive-bar game nights with Nurse Jolie)

  8. Chris: From someone who doesn’t live in Austin but who continues to pray for you in earnest, thank you so much for continuing to write. I know that your journey to a “new kind of happiness and peace,” as Sharon put it, will be a long and difficult one. But just know that you still have an army of people praying for you and lifting you up — people who dearly loved Maggie and who dearly love you.

  9. One other thing that you carry with you that no one can ever take away — the love and presence of your family.

  10. Chris, you might find Chris Ireland’s experience a good reference.google Jennifer Ireland.


  11. Oh Chris…….as tears are streaming down my face and I feel the ache in my heart for you, I just want to wish you the best in your future..whatever it is that life will bring you.

    I am sure that Maggie will always be with you in spirit…I am sorry for everything that you have gone through.

  12. Chris, you are an amazing man. I just pray I could handle the situation with the same dignity and grace. I have been following your cancer adventure avidly and I too would love to hear the story of the first time you met Maggie. If you are not ready to do that yet then of course I understand. From all the tributes Maggie has recieved..I know she was quite a woman and I feel cheated that I was never able to meet her.

  13. Chris, your courage is amazing and this is yet another post that brings on the tears. I felt a little guilty and, frankly, weird about deleting Maggie’s cell # from my cell the other day. I never used it a lot but I liked having it the few times I wanted to call or text her. Its weird to even think of a world without her in it, livin’ it up. So many people miss her in their own individual way. I’m very glad you can have even a little inkling of anticipation about the future–it gives us all hope that you have hope in the face of the “fire.”

  14. I can certainly identify with you, Emily. I had a good friend who passed away suddenly from drug interactions 2 years ago. I STILL haven’t deleted her phone numbers from my cell phone….and I’ve changed phones since then. I just can’t seem to break that hold.

  15. Hola Chris,
    Te admiro mucho y tienes que saber que necesito leer tus palabras. Es como alimento a mi alma. Tenia que decirtelo en mi propio languaje porque en ingles no lo sentiria igual.
    Means, more or less
    ” I admire you so much, and you need to know that I need to read your words since it is food to my soul. I needed to tell this to you in my own language because in English I would not had feel it the same way.”

  16. Chris, as a mom, although I will modestly proclaim myself totally butt-kickingly, head-swimmingly awesomely cool, I can honestly say that for this mom, if not for others, if my Seoul could meet a man who would someday see her clearly and truthfully and love her honestly and unabashedly, I would be glad forevermore.

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