This has been an emotional week for me. Tuesday would have been our second wedding anniversary and as I looked back at the stunning photographs of our beautiful day, my heart was filled with a complicated mixture of happiness and sorrow.
Over the past few months, I’ve been doing such a good job of living in the ‘now’ that I haven’t made much time to sit quietly and think about our love story. Looking at our photos, of loving gazes and his cheeky smile, triggered a rush of memories.
It was like one of those scenes in a movie where they show a montage-style flashback in triple speed, with hundreds of images blurring into the next. Faces, moments, laughter, kisses, his soft lips on mine, camera flashes, gazes, physical sensations, tears, toasts, secret smiles, our hands clenched together, the joy, the complete and utter happiness … all flashing before me, tumbling, one after another, over and over again. I was right back there on that special day.
Oh, how euphoric it felt to marry this man. To be loved by him, to claim him as my own. My husband. My family.
Husband. That word still feels like a novelty. I was still getting used to saying it when he died six weeks later. Husband. I still relish the way it feels in my mouth when I get the opportunity to speak of him.
He was a good man. A man with integrity. Warm-hearted, kind, humble and generous. I’m filled with wonder and pride that this incredible man – Daniel Collins – chose me to be his wife.
The missing of him has been fierce this week. The aching for the life we would be living. The longing. The wanting.
It’s easy to get lost in the sadness of what could – and should – have been. I sobbed at his grave when I took him fresh flowers and my heart was heavy as I dreamt of a different ending.
Through my tears, I also tried to focus on not only what I’m missing out on, but what I didn’t miss. How blessed I am to have known him, loved him and called him mine. What better day to celebrate this blessing that a wedding anniversary.
As tragic as it is that we didn’t get one anniversary together… it’s still a blessing that we shared almost two years before he died, including that wonderful day to celebrate our love with friends and family.
After getting through Tuesday’s milestone, the rest of the week was slow and heavy. This was easier than last year’s first wedding anniversary, this I know for sure. I can feel that I’m stronger, more at peace and further down the path – but it still took its toll and I needed to give myself that time for self-care and rest.
Life is still ticking by. I'm still here. And I start that march towards his anniversary in late July, I will remember that I can do this. I'm not alone, I have support and people who love me. Not to mention all my widow sisters and brothers who are here walking beside me. We're all 'doing this' every day.