The death of Salena Carroll Lesniak hasn’t been easy on her husband, former State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth).
“Even talking about it, I’m breaking out in tears,” Lesniak told the New Jersey Globe Monday. “I mean, it’s a real struggle. Salena was so much a part of my life. We did everything together. She drove me on a lot of my social agendas.”
Salena Lesniak died earlier this month at her shore home in Ocean County. She was just 43.
The two had been partners for 20 years before they married in 2018.
“We had so much to look forward to, and now that’s all gone,” Lesniak said. “I’m doing all the things that all the books tell you to do: talking about it, as I am with you here. Again, it’s hard to grasp that this is part of life. I don’t know what else I could say other than I really have to force myself to be engaged in life again, and I’m sure as time goes on, that the pain will ease.”
Salena Lesniak was a prominent, hugely popular social justice activist who was universally mourned by political and community leaders on both sides of the aisle.
Lesniak said the two got married after 20 years because he wanted to make her happy, adding that the marriage filled him with joy as well.
His wife’s death hasn’t waylaid the senator completely, who continues to advocate for tax incentives he championed in 2013. He testified in favor of those incentives before the Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies Monday morning.
“I’ll never forget the times we’ve had together. I’ll always be reminded of her and all the things that we did,” Lesniak said. “Hopefully I’ll get back to where there’s hope and inspiration. I’m not there yet. It comes and goes, but at least it comes. Like, I was today or even the day after Salena was buried, my appearance before the Murphy task force, but then it goes. So, I just hope and pray that it gets better, and I’m sure it will.”