'Til Death Do Us Part: Revisited



(We've been featuring some of this year's highlights this week, and were trying to figure out the best place to position this one. My story of the loss of my husband of 11 years, Alan Jordan, last year took on a life of its own in 2013, and I couldn't be more grateful. Below, is something I just thought to write to commemorate the year's ending, and the success of the whole Billy & Alan project, and ultimately the survival of me. So, if you'll indulge my holiday teardrop, I've got a shoulder for you whenever you need it. Happy New Year. Love hard – Billy)

Dear Alan,


There are self-serving narratives carved into the pulp of oversharing journalistic careers, and then there are real, life-affirming, soul-inflating moments that you really want to send up and pin to the sky if only that somebody – that singular somebody – will see them. So, given that we parted last year and in many ways I fell into a different skin or a set of wings or a cinderblock anklet, I just wanted to put it out there to you (or whomever, really, because you’re everywhere) that I’m doing just fine. Likely, you know this. But – and you would relate to this – give me a minute to celebrate. We really need to catch up!

So, I survived a year in my new house, closed two probate cases, have practically solved a foreclosure situation that has nothing to do with me, fought the law, testified in Tallahassee, (with the help of friends) put together a movie, sent a really loud message that is making meaningful differences, met amazing individuals (Harry Reid! But you would have hated that; Charlie Crist was funny), went on TV and radio and newsprint, and generally improved in spite of myself with each passing day. I quit smoking, too! Oh, and I freaked out a few times, and on occasion I slipped and I thought about how I didn’t want to be alive without you because that’s what we always said, but then I caught myself, or you caught me, or reason caught up, and I got over it. I won so many awards this year that I can’t even name them all. One of them was from Equality Florida and it was because of you, and us, and all the pain, and it was a really big deal. I cried. So did the whole room.

But you don’t need tears anymore. It’s a happy new year, and I hope for you – wherever you are – to know that I am solid, alive, manned-up, and gracious in the present, and that is because I learned it from you. Oh, and to everyone who has watched this play out and decided to lean in and help because that’s the right thing to do? You just made your life matter more. Happy New Year.

If you haven't read the full story, please take a little bit to do so here.


Billy Manes