Last weekend I attended the wedding of one of my husband's closest friends. This happened to fall on the second anniversary of his funeral, and a week after his anniversary.
I always knew it was going to be a difficult time. I knew it would hurt and bring up all kinds of triggers, sad thoughts and memories. But somehow, despite knowing something is going to hurt, I never really feel prepared for the intensity of the pain as it knocks me off my feet.
I also wasn't prepared for the anger I'd feel that he was missing this important moment. It was a really beautiful day, but oh my, was it tough.
This is the third wedding I've attended since he died and while they've all been difficult, this was one different in that it was his friend and I wouldn't have been there if we hadn't of met.
He was mentioned during the ceremony and the speeches and while I love hearing his name and knowing he's being remembered, I couldn't stop my mind from wandering to imagining how wonderful it would have been if he hadn't of died that day, and I was attending as his wife instead of his widow.
If he were still here, he would have made a speech and been the master of ceremonies. I would have been so proud of him and enjoyed meeting new people as a couple. Maybe we would have had a baby of our own by now and left it at home with grandparents for the weekend - we could have compared 'how nice is it to sleep in past 6am!' stories with the other couples I met.
At one point I found myself sitting quietly, looking on in envy at other couples as they danced and mingled and finished each other's sentences. Watching a husband bring his wife a drink, another husband resting a protective hand on his wife's back and they walked past. I wondered if these people knew how incredibly lucky they were. I hoped the didn't take these little moments for granted - because I was aching for one more with Dan.
Something else unexpected was another strong burst of anger at him. I've written before about how I didn't feel anger for well over 18 months. I know Dan's suicide was a symptom of his depression, which is a disease, and he wasn't making conscious, informed decisions, but still... I'm being confronted with this anger has been very challenging.
Hearing the wedding vows spoken out loud with such warmth and love last weekend felt haunting to me and I keep thinking 'you promised to be my husband in sickness and in health - but when you got sick, you kept it from me and didn't let me help you.'
I want to yell at him about that. I want to really have it out with him, shoot down his explanation that he thought he had dementia and that I'd be better off. Tell him that he was wrong and he should have confided in someone and gotten tests to put his mind at rest. Beg him to stay.
If someone told me it was possible to have one more hour with him - would I be able to put that anger aside to hold him and tell him how much I love him and miss him? When it comes down to it, the anger isn't as important as the love. I want to forgive him and focus on that.
I returned home from the weekend away totally exhausted. I had to bottle in the tears while I was away and it took its toll. This week I've been weepier than usual, drained of energy and more sensitive.
Not only from the wedding, but also the realisation that my course of 'seconds anniversaries' are now done and dusted. That terrible night, when the police came to my door to tell me he'd taken his life - I'm glad I didn't know I'd still be crying for him two years on, or I may not have had the strength to keep going. You really only can handle one day at the time and whatever comes next is for worrying about then.
I am now settling in to my third year without him, I wonder what it will bring.