My second husband’s first wife.

Being a second wife is not always easy. Even if the first wife only had a short stint.

Early on, Andrew would tell me things. Like Karen used to open a can of soda, drink only a few sips and leave the rest somewhere to get warm. So then, every fricking time I left a can of soda on the counter (or in the car or in the garage or on my desk) I realized that Andrew thought I was irresponsible…like Karen.

Or he might have mentioned, in passing, that she made some fabulous dish. And then, when I make lasagna that wiggles in the dish, I feel inferior. Or I’d hear that she was spontaneous and full of life. And secretly, I worried that he didn’t think I was all that.

One day, early on, he showed me a huge framed drawing that she had done. It was extremely odd, but technically amazing. Hard not to let my insecurities sneak out. And I heard that she was fun at parties. Okay, so am I. So that’s fine.

Anyway, he loved her. And the marriage exploded early on and didn’t last. He was young and had dreams and he was crushed.

Fortunately, he got up and got on with his life. He got his MBA from a fancy, schmancy school and then moved back east. Where, after a few years, he met me.


Today, he googled her. Why?

Why not. Who knows. He just did.

And he found out that she died on August 28th. Died.


The article said that she had a burst brain aneurysm several years ago, followed by a stroke in surgery. Her movement was restricted and (this part is especially sad, since she was an artist) her vision was impaired. She spent her last years in wheelchairs and rehab facilities.

A week or two before she died, she was diagnosed with cancer. Evidently, because of her other symptoms, it was undetected for some time.

The article mentions a brief marriage (that’s be my hub) and talks about her talent and her humor. I hate to say it, but she sounded like someone I’d like.

And I can say for sure, after reading the article in the St. Petersburg Times, that she was loved and will be missed.

Truth be told, I think even Andrew will miss her – even though they hadn’t spoken in nearly 20 years.


8 thoughts on “My second husband’s first wife.

  1. I am a first wife of the short kind, as you mention. I read your post after seeing the first sentence in DCblogs and fully expected some rant, but was actualyl quite touched by your delicate way of writing. I hope that my ex, and maybe future “women” would have such a kind way of speaking about me. Alas, my ex is full of lies and vitriol that I am sure anyone in his life will only hear the bad. But you give me hope…I am so sorry about your husbands ex, btw. That is so incredibly sad. Hugs.

  2. While my inclination was to send you a note privately, upon reflection I realized that I wanted others to hear what I have to say. Wendy, you are a tremendous woman – kind, warm-hearted, loving, and fun. Talented, yes talented – very much so. And I am grateful that my brother found you (or you, him) as you have graced his life and our family’s life in ways that no one ever could.

    Karen was fun, a bit wild, and a very talented artist. I liked her a lot. Although I have not thought of Karen for years, and lost touch with her soon after the divorce, her early death is very sad and very shocking. I’m glad that Andrew learned about it, however tragic it is. Sometimes the past comes creeping up in ways that allows us to truly see the gifts we’ve been presented with and be more present in ways that we would otherwise not be.

    Since learning about Karen’s passing, I have found myself reflecting on the past and being grateful for the present. And for you. Thank you for such a beautiful post.

  3. Wow. You are a kind and generous and human person. What a shock for Andrew (and you). Sad that her life ended to early. Beautifully written post, and timely. We can be grateful for what we have in this new year.

  4. wow, this was a beautiful post, and she seemed like a beautiful woman. how lovely of you to just be lovely about it all. it’s sad that she died. i’m too tired to be articulate, but this was a good one, wendy.

    p.s. you get extra credit for using the words “fancy schmancy” in your post.

  5. thank you all for your nice comments.

    I’ve learned more since I posted – and know that her family believes it a blessing she was set free – the last years had been hard.

    It’s really kind of nice that so many people are thinking about her – people who weren’t in her life for years, people who never knew her…

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