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"I felt that visiting there together was required—a further gesture to honour the place that both men have in my heart."

By Clare Smart

My Option B boyfriend, Darren, said to me, “This is a little out there, but you haven’t introduced me to your late husband, Mick, yet. I am reading about him on your blog, learning about the impact of brain cancer on him and your young children. You mention him every now and then. There are photos in your house. Perhaps you should formally introduce us?”

My heart smiled. His suggestion didn’t seem out there at all.

Mick shared an important part of my life, and he still does. Whenever new friends visit our house, I introduce him to them by showing them photos of Mick on our kitchen wall.

I had not introduced my Option A, Mick, to my Option B, Darren, when we first started dating because I thought that might be a bit intense for both of us.

It was definitely time to do it!

Later that day we approached the wall in my kitchen. It has a number of family photos, and I introduced Mick to Darren. I explained some of the stories and memories associated with each photo. I cried as I did so. Tears of sadness, tears of compassion for myself, and tears of gratitude that I could share some of the stories with my boyfriend.

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I felt that visiting there together was required—a further gesture to honour the place that both men have in my heart.

It was a great start, but it did not feel like it was enough. My heart quietly suggested that we both visit the cemetery where Mick’s ashes are. Although I feel like Mick’s energy and love are everywhere, the cemetery is a special place. I felt that visiting there together was required—a further gesture to honour the place that both men have in my heart.

Darren (bless the lovely man!) did not balk at the suggestion. He ignored his mind, listened to his heart, and agreed that it was the right thing to do.

So the next day Darren picked me up to drive to the cemetery. He thoughtfully brought some bright pink flowers that we could lay at Mick's memorial and some that I could take home with me afterwards.

It is a beautiful cemetery overlooking the ocean in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. I chose it because the Eastern Suburbs are where Mick spent most of his adult life. There are so many happy memories associated with the surrounding beaches, neighborhoods, and even within the cemetery itself. Mick was a passionate runner and often used to run up and down the hills there as part of his training.

It warmed my heart to tell Darren some of the stories as we drove to the cemetery. When we arrived we quietly walked to Mick’s ashes and placed the flowers next to Mick’s memorial stones. It was an emotional moment for Darren and me as I again introduced the two. It felt like they shook hands and looked at each other in the eye with respect. I thanked Darren for the courage to be a part of my world and for supporting me and my children in embracing life.

I felt that they were Mick’s words as well as mine. 

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