Ben Nunery two years ago in November lost his wife, Ali, to a rare form of lung cancer and — as a way of commemorating for his daughter some of the most precious moments of his life — put a hopeful spin on now-bittersweet memories he and his wife shared in 2009 as they posed for their wedding photos in their then-new home.
“I did it for me. I did it for us,” said Ben on his blog, “RockPinkforAli,” of daughter Olivia. “I did it so I would have something to show for the love and beauty that occupied that house for a short time in our lives.”
His journey through loss hasn’t been an easy one, especially as he prepared to move from the home he and his wife transformed from a dilapidated hut to a tranquil love nest.
“These past two years have had no shortage of emotional hurdles to overcome, some small and some large, but none as big as saying goodbye to the home that Ali and I built together. The home we started our married lives together in. The home we brought Olivia to after she was born. The home we turned from a shabby little fixer upper into an award-winning showcase property.”
Walking away from the home he and Ali built was difficult but a reminder that, as the old adage goes “You can’t take it with you” — a reminder that Ali’s spirit and the memories she made are the things that live on.
“I wanted to be able to show Olivia the place where her mother and I started our lives together and dreamed of raising children. I thought it would be much harder to say goodbye in this way but, as I sat in the driveway, ready to drive away for the last time, I realized that it’s just a house. The memories of Ali don’t live in that house. They live with us, in our hearts. We take them with us wherever we go and they will live with us in our new house, too,” he said.
Indeed, Ben’s journey has largely been one of learning to hold on to his wife’s spirit, according to a statement posted to Ali’s blog shortly after her death:
“[A]li went to spend her eternal life in heaven on 11.3.11. she fought as hard as she could, but God decided to take her home. please continue to pray for ben, olivia, the tracy family and all the others who loved ali, as they learn to live their lives with her beautiful spirit, instead of her physical being. thanks for everyone for all the support since march 2011. we love you all.”