Thursday, October 18, 2012

It looks.... different


     Have you ever noticed that if you say two words together for a long enough period it sounds funny to say them just separately?  This cant be true about small, trivial things such as peanut butter and jelly... but it is even more true and profound when it comes to people and relationships.  Think of any couple you have known for a while - don't their names just kind of "go together?'  The two names almost become  inseparable.

     When Veronica and I met, she had spent almost a decade as "Jeremy and Veronica."  It was who people knew her as.  It was who she knew herself as.  Anything different from that was... well... different.  Not only did the names "Jeremy and Veronica" go together, but their relationship defined them as a couple. Had you spent enough time around them, were friends with them, and knew them at all, you knew "Jeremy and Veronica." When you talked about them you might talk about Rochester College, or singing, or (God help me) Rock Band (sweet Jesus I said it).  They each had their own personalities, likes, and hobbies that were separate from each other, but in the end, they went together like ... peanut butter and jelly.

     The moment that Vee and I started dating something very audible happened.  It was no longer "Jeremy and Veronica" that people would say, but rather "Steve and Veronica."  This was a huge change for people. It was a huge change for Vee.   The change, however, was more than just names.... it was in the relationship that defined us as a couple.

    While Vee is an amazing singer, I... well... I probably should be banned from singing anywhere, even in the shower by myself.  Unlike Jeremy, I didn't go to Rochester College and I don't have a history with many of the people that Jeremy and Veronica made there.  And, while Jeremy and I share some similarities in certain places (humor, music, a strong sense of self, and a good ability to judge character) we are very different in other places.  Therefore, the relationship that "Jeremy and Veronica" shared looks very different than the relationship that "Steve and Veronica" share... but there are multiple reasons for this change.

     First, Vee adamantly tell you that she is not the same person that she was before Jeremy died.   And, its true.  Grief changes a person.  It breaks your heart.  It opens your eyes.  It stirs your soul.  It causes you to focus on what really matters and live each day with that understanding.  It places things in priority.   It changes priorities.  And the journey through it is ongoing.  Vee's love is deeper now in the sense that she realizes that things can change in an instant, so the small, insignificant distractions of life are not as important as they once were.  This doesn't mean that there is no fun, or that there aren't distractions - she is still human. But because grief is never far from her, she is continually reminded that life is short and to love deep for the time you can.

     Second, our relationship is our own.  Much like when Jeremy and Veronica met, they began and fostered their own way of doing things, their own traditions, and their own ways of communicating. Vee and I have developed our own unique relationship.  We have different things we like to do together, different ways of communicating, and are continuing to build our own traditions as a couple and family.  Our relationship is defined by us, our personalities, and our dreams.  We bring our own unique personalities to the table and... whoa-la... it's a new creation.

     Third, Jeremy is still present in our lives.  Not in a creepy "marriage of 3" like I have heard some people talk about when referring to widows or widowers getting re-married, but more in the sense that his presence and memory is evident in our everyday lives.  "Jeremy and Veronica" were always and only "Jeremy and Veronica"... but the truth is that sometimes "Steve and Veronica" needs to pause in order to reflect back on the memory and relationship of "Jeremy and Veronica."  After all, it is only through the first relationship that the second existed and its only because of the love experienced through the first relationship that the desire for love was sought out in the second.

     It took Vee time to adjust the new name and the new relationship dynamics as much as it did for others to make that adjustment.  But as time goes on, "Steve and Veronica" feels more normal... like we are suppose to go together :)  Maybe we are not the peanut butter and jelly that everyone was use to... but we are a new combination.... peanut butter and chocolate (and lets face it... who doesn't like chocolate?).  And the great new is that Vee as "Steve and Veronica" continues to grow and develop and become the new normal, her identity as "Jeremy and Veronica" will continue to carry on in the stories, memories, pictures, special anniversaries, and faces of Faith, Caleb, and Carter.


PS - After writing this blog I am suddenly in the mood for peanut butter :)      


  1. Thank you for your comment, "Not in a creepy "marriage of 3" like I have heard some people talk about when referring to widows or widowers getting re-married, but more in the sense that his presence and memory is evident in our everyday lives." My boyfriend and I, both widowed, have been accused on Abel Keogh's board of being a sordid sexually-deviant "foursome" because we keep Christmas stockings up with our deceased spouses' names on them. I was so hurt, I refuse to even post there anymore. It was sickening. Steve - you are wonderful and Vee is a very lucky woman!

  2. I would like to address some "issues" I have with this post. #1 - You actually have a very sweet singing voice, and you could hold your own in a shower singing competition! #2 - Rock Band is awesome....I WILL convert you someday! #3 - Stop eating all the peanut butter in the house! ;)

    In all seriousness, you are one incredible man, and I am honored to walk through the rest of this life with you. Peanut butter and chocolate makes a pretty awesome combination, if I do say so myself.

  3. Steve, do you ever wonder if Jeremy placed you in Veronica's life to help her heal & move forward!

  4. All I have are tough questions.

    How do you see blogging about Jeremy and Vee's relationship for the last several months different from "a creepy 'marriage of 3'"? Because, as an outside observer, it seems pretty creepy.

    Also, I've been reading Vee's blog. She writes about Jeremy constantly. It's basically Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy, and oh-yeah-here's-Steve-honoring-Jeremy's-memory. Even your own blog is pretty much equal parts Vee/Jeremy and Steve/Jeremy. Just based on what I've read, and Vee's comment above notwithstanding, your own personal identity is being subsumed by the specter of her ex-husband. You even went to the Jeremy King Memorial Pheasant Hunt. It's like you are basking in the reflected love from her memories of him.

    You are definitely a bigger person than I, Steve. Were I you, a little piece of me would die everytime I heard Jeremy's name. At what point does being supportive of the grief Vee is going through become indistinct from being buried beneath the weight of Jeremy's memory?

    How is your relationship different from any other rebound? From what I read, and obviously I don't know the whole story, your romance rapidly escalated from dating to engagement to marriage. Isn't it a bit premature to be thinking about writing a book about loving in the aftermath of tragedy? It's like you two survived the shipwreck and just washed up on the shore of a deserted island a few days ago. If you're still alive in ten years that's a story I'd like to hear about. But if you are fighting this hard for survival right now, what are you going to do when the coconuts run out?

    1. Ben,
      It looks like you have a few questions (or statements... I'm not sure these are really questions). Regardless, I would love to take the opportunity to address some of your concerns on my blog that I will post on January 3, 2013. I would encourage you to make sure to check it out!!


  5. Ben, I think you must really have a miserable life to be so unkind. Steve and Veronica are sharing their story because they hope to be encouraging to others in a similar situation. You only are reading what they post about one part of their life. It takes guts to do what they are doing because of people like you. If nothing they have to share relates to you then I don't know why you are concerned about what they say unless you are extremely jealous of their happiness (which is what I suspect). I'll be praying for you!


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