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2nd Wedding Anniversary: Advice on Surviving Hard Times

On September 30, 2017, I married Michael O’Quinn Jr. I remember telling him he shouldn’t marry a broken woman because that’s what I was. I couldn’t believe I was 31 and having to figure life out without my mama. Thankfully, he didn’t listen to me and we said I do at my childhood home.

Lake wedding setup

On our second wedding anniversary, I wanted to let people into our world and share how it is marrying someone who has lost a parent. Plus, we spent all of 2018 commuting back and forth from Ohio to Georgia. Yes, we had a long-distance marriage which many didn’t know. I share with you my interview with my husband.

The Beginning

Mike and I met in college and started dating in 2007. In 2014, we moved to Ohio for me to pursue a job opportunity. My entire decision to take the job was because my mom had beaten Ovarian Cancer. I didn’t even think about it coming back, but it did. She lost her battle to cancer May 2016.

SOQWEENLY: How was the time frame between burying mom in May and deciding to propose in August?

MIKE: “I had already decided I was going to propose in August. I was hoping the proposal would pick your spirits up. It was something I’d hope would take your mind off of everything.”

Mike proposed in Las Vegas in front of the Bellagio Fountains. I was really shocked because getting married was not my top priority anymore. I thought we were just going out of town to get away. When he proposed, I was really happy but I wasn’t mentally ready for all the preparation that came along with getting married.

Man proposing to woman at the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas

SOQWEENLY: What’s the most difficult thing about marrying someone who has lost a parent? 

MIKE:Dealing with the moodiness and not knowing where it stems from.”

He is right. We are moody because we can often be triggered by anything. I remember being excited to go out on a date. I would see a family and my mood changed immediately. All I saw is what I no longer had. All holidays still get to me because each one was a family day.

SOQWEENLY: What have you learned about grief?

MIKE: “I knew people dealt with grief differently, but I was able to witness it. I learned I can’t fix everything.”

Every single person will grieve differently. Mike has seen me grieve and the affects grief has on the body. It’s similar to what stress does to us. Anxiety, hair loss, weight gain/loss and insomnia to name a few. He has seen so much but never judged me at all. He always says we’re going to make it through this.