real life

Marie met someone 17 months after her husband died. Friends told her it was too soon.

A few minutes ago, I was lying on my bedroom floor, staring at the ceiling and wondering why I had not written my story yet. It occurred to me that I was worried how this would affect people close to Rob… then I thought of you, the reader – and the take-away I wish to gift you by sharing so authentically.

Here is my download for you, straight from my heart; so please open yours while reading it.

My husband, Rob died very suddenly; from a brain aneurysm whilst away on a business trip. We were in the prime of our lives at just 45; our boys only 10 and eight. We were known as “that couple”. Rob put me on a pedestal and raved about me at any chance presented to him. I was his Queen, he adored me; he was my knight in shining armour! We were still deeply in love after 12 years of marriage. 

Watch a snippet of Marie's Tedx Talk: Redefining our image of a widow. Post continues after video. 


Video via Youtube.

You can read more about our story, which I previously shared with Mamamia here.

Today I’d like to give you Part Two. What happened thereafter.

I had a realisation that took about three years before it hit me: I had been referring to myself as a 'single mum'. Yet there is a difference – most single mums at my age were separated or divorced. Even more importantly: a 'single parent' usually indicates that there’s another single parent somewhere else; one that you split weekends and school holidays with, and those big (and little) decisions you make throughout…

Which high school do you choose? How many hours of screen time are permitted? At what age is it ok to leave them home alone – for how long – and under what circumstances?

Marie, Rob and their two sons. Image: Supplied.

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And there was my epiphany: I was not a single mum. I am a sole parent. I am it. 

From every life decision down to every single lunchbox, every waking and sleeping hour of our boys’ lives, is now solely my responsibility; their future in my hands, in my heart. Wow! Let that sink in. I am unsure why it took me that long to realise this significant difference.

What comes with being a sole parent, is the fact that I had stepped into my ‘divine masculine’ the moment Rob passed. It was not something I had thought about consciously, I just did it. I became the provider, the protector, the hunter and gatherer – a mother in shining armour. 

I took on the role with all my heart – I might have even been a touch over-protective for a while… and at times I may be giving them too much leeway. Like a pendulum, swinging from one extreme to the other, only to recalibrate and find my balance, within me; within my family of now three. We became a tremendously strong unity, my boys and I.

I was so busy finding my equilibrium as a parent, I had almost forgotten about my 'divine feminine' until she was triggered ever so gently.

Marie and Rob on their 10 year wedding anniversary. Image: supplied.

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We met online – no, not on a dating app – he was in my mentoring group of all places. So, he knew everything about my story with Rob and my movement before we even had our first chat. One day we ended up in one of our online 'group' meetings – nobody else showed up. 

We had both clicked on the same incorrect link, so there we were… on Zoom… just the two of us. 

A connection was made that went deeper than either of us grasped at the time; yet it was like somebody had gently awoken my inner sleeping beauty. Can you hear the violins playing in the background? Well, I could not… not yet, anyway. 

I did not pay much attention to it at the time. I was still immersed in my provider and protector role.

Months later we started texting about a post on FB and before we knew it, we were texting daily. Bantering, making each other laugh. We just clicked! Two weeks later we met in person, at a business retreat we both attended. 

The chemistry between us took us into a whirlwind of emotions – I felt a sense of liberty I hadn’t felt since Rob died. It was incredible – we fell deep and we fell fast. I am uncertain how 'ready' either of us truly was, yet when together, it did not seem to matter. We were simply 'better together'.

It initiated an emotional spring, like a blossoming within my heart that brought upon so much healing for me; healing that went way back into my childhood. Even though our voids had such opposing causes, we seemed to be filling them for each other with such care. 

We had 14 meaningful months together – and as much as I would have loved to share a happy ending with you, there was no place for such a term in our relationship.

There were factors that we simply could not align for us. The geographical distance, one kid there, two kids here, our hearts constantly torn, no matter where we were… it took a toll on us and silently infused our bond with a noxious fear that came over us like a shadow.

I sensed that it was destroying me – it took so much of my energy, it also started affecting the relationship with my boys. I felt my only choice at the time was to ask him to leave.

Listen to The Quicky's episode with Marie Alessi. Post continues after audio. 


And for some time, I fell apart. I fell as hard as I had fallen for him. It hurt. It felt like reliving 'losing' all over again…

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For the outside world it was hard to comprehend the intensity of my experience. 

I was met with more judgement than understanding, most hinting that it had been too early for me to 'move on'. For me there was no 'moving on' from Rob. He will always be a part of my life; he will always be my children's dad. 

Being in my new relationship was no 'moving on' for me. It wasn’t even that it was 'better' or 'worse'; there was no comparing; it was different. 

Also, some things can only be healed when you are in a new relationship – not before, not in theory – simply by opening your heart and living it. Realising this was big, intense and beautiful.

17 months after Rob's passing may have seemed a short time for others; yet grief cannot be measured in months or years. I had done such an intense amount of healing in that time that others do not experience in 10 years. Healing is a choice. I embraced it, with open arms.

I became very selective who I shared what with. I built a very strong support network around me and still feel very blessed for those in my inner circle. Only a few people were able to truly hold space for me throughout. 

It was heavy, like walking through mud and then appearing with a fresh face for my boys the next morning. I sheltered them as much as I could from my emotional storm – after all, this was my storm, not theirs! 

My heart is full of gratitude for the love I experienced, for all the emotions that came with it; for awakening the divine feminine within me, reminding me who I truly was, all of me. I am grateful for the lessons I received about intuition, trust, relationships, communication, expectation and staying true to myself.

I have also learned that comparison has no place in grief. Every journey is just as unique as the person experiencing it. Everyone's truth is different.

Do not succumb to people's judgements or expectations – none of them have walked in your shoes. Do not succumb to fear either. So many women (and men) I work with fear losing again – yet when I ask them if they had known to lose their husband, would they have still chosen to marry him, the answer is almost always, "Yes, of course!"

I am not saying it is easy to ignore fear when it has already manifested itself for you as reality previously!

What I am saying is that when you do meet the right person, it will feel easy. Trust that.

I believe in love. Always have and always will. Love is simple. Love just wants you to be happy.

I wish you nothing but love in your life!

Dare to live it! 

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