Beginning Again

3o months ago I began a journey that finally comes to a close tomorrow. On the eve of May 6th, 2013, I prepared myself to enter into a room full of people I had never met, to embark on a new path and career. I was excited and anxious to start working on my Masters to be a Physician Assistant and I had never felt more overjoyed to begin a new chapter in my life. Because while I was excited for May 6th, I was ecstatic for May 11th. The day I would become his wife, his life partner, his spouse in the holy sacrament of marriage. I knew that whatever challenges school may bring, whatever bumps I faced, I no longer would face them alone. Because in 5 short days he would vow to stick with me for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.


I remember when I applied for school and the many conversations Nate and I had about it. We both were apprehensive about me beginning at the same time we were getting married. It would be a lot of change and a lot of commitment all at once. It also brought up many questions about what our family would look like; would we wait to have children until I was done? Ultimately we decided that we would leave it up to God, because we had full trust that whatever His plan was for us, it would be good. And how incredibly good it was! We knew our faith would get us through any challenge or struggle and our love for each other would be enough. At the time, when we were in these discussions, I remember so clearly stating that the program’s 27 months would be over before we knew it. It would be such a short stent in a long and happy marriage and growing family.


It’s amazing now to think that that was 30 months ago. What once felt like it would be only a short while, has felt like 30 years. I have changed so much since then. I no longer am the same person that eagerly awaited the week of May 6th to begin to start my new life. My life since then has taken a completely new and unprepared direction and I feel so much more lost now than I did when I started. Because when I started, I had the greatest ally at my side. Now I struggle to do the best for Cecilia and I, and to find my path, the path that no longer follows where I once dreamed of going. It is an interesting and difficult concept, to have to completely redetermine what your future may look like. I often still struggle with this, still wanting to try to fit my life as it stands now, back into the mold that Nate and I had created when we said “I do.” But that mold no longer exists, those dreams of having a large family, of moving to our own home together, of creating traditions and vacations and family memories, those dreams are but a whisper now, gone in the wind of April 1st, 2014.

I am so relieved that my life will be my own for the first time in over 19 months. For the first time, I can find the time to grieve properly, to finally finish our wedding scrapbook that I all along had planned to finish when I was done with school, to spend long days playing with Cecilia, to do things on Nate’s bucket list that I hope will bring me some peace. I can finally find the energy and the time to move forward, to not be stuck in this program that I began with Nate. It has had such a hold on my ability to determine my new future because it still feels like something that should be ending with Nate by my side. Something that I know he should have been here for.


It is bittersweet that it is finally coming to an end. A part of me grieves immensely the fact that he will not be here to celebrate with me, to take me to the dinner he promised he would take me to when this time came, to kiss me and tell me he’s proud. That hurts more then words can say. At the same time, there is a relief that this time is finally over. I finally can let a part of myself determine where my future is in this new life, I finally can start fresh and create a new mold, new dreams for myself and Cecilia.

I begin a new journey tomorrow. One that I am uncertain of where it will take me. I no longer know what the future holds or what my place is in it. I just know that for now, I will love on Cecilia and take it one day at a time. I finally can breath again. And it feels so good. I finally can have some hold on my own life, no longer will I be required to start and end my day on someone else’s schedule. No longer will I have to start a new “job” every 4 weeks as I change clinical sites. Do you realize how stressful that is to do? To enter into a new location and meet new people with new expectations every month? On top of that there is undoubtedly the constant barrage of get-to-know-you’s that I have been faced with that are always so hard to retell.

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Many tears have fallen this week as I move back and forth through the uncertainties, the excitement, the longing for him. For the past 19 months, school has been my biggest distraction outside of Cecilia. It scares me that this will be ending soon as I face the sorrows that I have put walls around. And yet, I know it will bring healing to finally be able to deal with it all. To finally get past the denial, the avoidance, the withdrawal and face this life with all of my strength and everything I have. To own this life that God has blessed me with and to find what His will for me is. To finally begin again.


Jennifer Trapuzzano

Tomorrow is Never Promised

Tears cry out from the city again tonight as another senseless murder has taken place. A story that strikes so close to my wounded heart. A young faith-filled husband and father left his home yesterday morning to go to the gym, similar to the daily workout routine Nate once had. He left his pregnant wife and young child at home with full expectations to return and see them again shortly, as I always expected Nate to come home to me. However, so similar to my morning of April 1st, this was not to be so. When he returned, he found a scene few of us could ever dare to envision – for the pain would be so excruciating. His lovely bride had been shot in a home burglary and was laying on the floor close to death with the child upstairs in his crib. My heart breaks over and over and over again for this young man. It feels so similar to that morning. While I do not know this family, I feel a deep pain in my heart, like a scar that has been reopened. And my mind begins to wander. I wonder if he and his wife shared a beautiful last night like Nate and I did; I pray that they did. I wonder if she was able to hear his prayers and I love you’s in her final moments, I pray that she did, as I pray that my prayers found a way to Nate while he lay in his final moments in the hospital miles away from me. Worst of all, I wonder what Nate would have felt had he returned home to a scene such as this, where I had been the victim and not him. And my soul cries out for him. I can never imagine the pain Nate would have felt or how this young dad is feeling today.

One thing I have learned these past 19 months is that there are no guarantees in life. There is no promise of tomorrow, there is only today, only this moment. This past year, I have had the privilege of meeting many other widows, an honor that is both a blessing and a curse. I pray daily that I never have to meet another widow, because I would never wish this pain upon anyone else. And yet I am so blessed to know each and every one of them, for they continue to teach and encourage me every day. Too often, I am reminded that life is short and we do not know what tomorrow may bring. So many of the widowed friends I have made have lost their husbands shortly, tragically, without any or with little warning. Car accidents, heart attacks, violence, cancers, and other medical emergencies come up in the blink of an eye. The last goodbye you say before leaving for work in the morning may be the last goodbye ever. I so often wake up in the morning, wondering if yesterday had been my last day, would I be proud of it? Would it be a day worth being the last? Understanding that we do not know the hour or the day at which our death approaches makes me want each and every day that I live to be a day that is deserving of my last.

In this country, we plan out our lives, and yet so often I think we forget to actually live them in the little moments throughout the day. We forget to say “I love you”. We forget to get away from our phones and enjoy the moment we’re in. We forget to take a deep breath of fresh air and walk a little slower to admire God’s creation. We forget to drop the fight and ask for forgiveness. Do you know how many times I wish I could have one more fight with Nate again? Just to hear his voice and get the opportunity to tell him I love him and that he’s right? Because what an amazing and humbling gift that is to be able to do for our spouses. To love them more than we love ourselves and to want their happiness more than our own! Too often we forget that. Too often our own selfish desires plague our wants and needs, triumphing over our spouse’s, let alone over God’s. And yet, when tragedies like Nate’s or this young family’s occur, it is so important, so necessary that we take a step back and reexamine what our priorities and where our treasures are.

Upon hearing the news of this tragedy today, I immediately felt my breath catch. My stomach fell into knots and my mind felt frozen. I felt like I was back there, back to April 1st, reliving my own nightmare as I read another’s worst nightmare unfold. The tears stung my eyes and I can’t help but cry out how life feels so unfair, where is the justice in this? Where is the good, where is the humanity of our world?

And once again, as I was reminded in April, I was reminded again today as I saw the overwhelming love, the prayers and the support already begin to come in for this family. I ask you to please join me in praying for them and consider donating to their cause. I know I will never be able to show the depth of my appreciation or gratitude to those who were willing to help us after Nate was murdered but I once again want to thank you all for reminding me of the goodness of mankind and pray that this family can be reminded of this as well.