Warning: This post may contain sentiment   2 comments

I have been dreading this day for at least a week now. I decided that it was going to be an awful day and so I feared its arrival and withdrew myself from the people around me.  Today marks 22 years since Brent and I were married.

It turns out that I woke up just fine.  I didn’t break down crying like I thought I would.  I woke up smiling and felt a peace and reassurance that I am right where I’m supposed to be.

It’s a confusing day and time, still, and I think that is where my fear came from. I had this incredibly awesome and yet extremely difficult life with Brent.  Through our trials and experiences together, we were able to build a relationship that most people dream of.  We were close, loved each other fiercely and supported each other through everything.  When he died, I knew for sure I would never love anyone that deeply again.  And then I met Rob.  And yes, everything changed.  I love him just as fiercely, just as deeply and I still don’t know how that happened.  We haven’t been through very much together, but somehow the culmination of our life experiences resulted in an immediate connection of love, trust and understanding.  So now what? Do I forget about the life and love I had for Brent in order to make room for the life I want to have with Rob and the love I feel for him?  I never worried about it, until this last week.  All of a sudden, this anniversary date was causing me to take leave of my senses and I panicked.  I thought I had to choose, and it was tearing me up inside.

Part of my struggle is not knowing how to refer to Brent.  Is he my first husband? My former husband? My previous husband? My other husband?  I have no idea.  For today, I’ve landed on previous…so bear with me.

When I woke up so peaceful this morning and didn’t feel like spending the day in my bed feeling sorry for myself, I made a new plan and in the end, I had a beautiful morning.  I had a nice chat with my fabulous new husband, sent him off to work and went shopping.  Don’t worry.  The irony of buying deodorant for my new husband and flowers for my previous husband didn’t escape me…but that’s exactly what I did.  I bought myself some juice and donuts and headed for the cemetery for a small celebration of this special day.  After all, a family was created this day.  A beautiful one, filled with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known.  I sat in my car and waited for the sprinklers to finish their job before I lugged my chair out to Brent’s grave site.  While I waited, I decided to play the song we danced to at our wedding reception.  Because Brent served his mission in Hawaii, we had chosen a Hawaiian song called Love and Honesty as our mantra for the life we would live.  As I heard the familiar words on my radio, I cried grateful tears that we were able to become like the people in the song.  It was an affirmation to me that the life we had together was not wasted.

As the sprinklers died down, I took my chair, a dozen roses and a bag of Swedish Fish and settled in for some much needed quiet time.  I contemplated the life I once had and the life I now live and realized that there isn’t very much that is the same. I have been married to two completely different men and as I stopped to think about, I felt grateful for their differences.  Their differences make me appreciate each of them and I love that I don’t ever feel the need compare them.  What I realized sitting there, though, was that the ways that they are similar are so precious to me.  I am loved.  This I know with all of my heart. And it’s a beautiful feeling.  I hope everyone gets the chance to feel as loved as I do.  Now, I’m not saying that everything was perfect with Brent or that everything is perfect now with Rob…what I am saying is that I know without a doubt that I am loved.  And that’s enough.  And more importantly, each of them loves their Heavenly Father and that strength, that faith carries us through whatever has come, whatever is, and whatever is coming next.  I see now that Brent has been the Northern Star that led me to Rob and I’m so grateful he did

I’ve struggled since Brent died.  It’s been a roller coaster and there have been things I’ve been proud of and things I would change if I could.  But somehow, sitting in the cemetery this morning, I reconciled myself with my Savior.  I felt like me…not the old me of course.  She’s not gone, but definitely transformed.  Today, I finally feel like Mindy Judd.  Someone new; yet shaped by perfect storms, precious memories and increased faith.  Someone designed exactly for this life that I’m living now.  Rest assured…the peace I felt brought me to a movie quote.  In Forrest Gump, after the storm when Lieutenant Dan takes his swim, Forrest says “He never actually said so, but I think he made his peace with God.” And I did.

I love my life.  I’m so blessed to be married to such an amazing husband!  He doesn’t let me hide and challenges me to become who I am meant to become.  He makes me laugh so hard I cry…and when I cry he makes me laugh.  He is my best friend and I could not have made a better decision than to marry him and be his wife.  And he fills my gas tank for me…

I love being the mom of ten kids, and not just because it’s fun to watch people’s face when I say that.  All of our kids are incredible human beings and I feel blessed to be part of their lives.

In the song that Brent and I danced to at our wedding, there is a beautiful verse where the artist is speaking in the beautiful Hawaiian language.  For 22 years, I’ve heard the song and never knew what the lyrics meant…I just always thought they were pretty to listen to.  But today, I felt inspired to look them up.  You’ll see why:

A Gift For The Descendants

The Stories of Yesterday’s Flowers

Let’s Always Hold Close

Our Ancestors, Who Are

A Sweet Smelling Lei For Us

Like A Misty Cloud Around The Mountain

Their Love Surrounds Us Forever


And that’s all I have to say about that.


Posted June 4, 2016 by mindyshurtleff in Uncategorized

2 responses to “Warning: This post may contain sentiment

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  1. Mindy,
    No matter how much time has gone by you still amazing me with your courage, and strength. What you have done is exactly what Brent wanted for you. He loved you and your family more than life itself and I’m sure he would be so proud of the new life you have made both for you and for your kids. I didn’t know you remarried but congratulations! You deserve this happiness after the long battle you and Brent fought with his cancer. I am happy you had a great morning and could celebrate both the life you shared with Brent and the life you now have with your new husband. Your always in my prayers. Tell my baby girl hello and give her a great big hug for me. Stay in touch, please! God bless

  2. Loved how described your transformation. Its never off with old and on with the new. Its just helped you add dimension. Its all good (well most of it) love you and so glad you are enjoying your new growth opportunities.

    Shelley keesler

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