Happy 66th Wedding Anniversary, Betty!

Those were the words that echoed throughout the pool at the YMCA this morning, as we were just finishing up our high-impact water aerobics class. There were about 15 of us in the class, of varying ages and circumstances, and one of the older ladies walked up and whispered something into the instructor's ear. After she did, the instructor reached down to her iPod, and put on the song "The Sea of Love." She then said to Betty, which happened to be this woman's name, "I am told this is you and your husband's favorite song, so we will end with it today. Everyone please congratulate Betty - today is her 66th wedding anniversary! Isn't that incredible?" All the ladies cheered and applauded and gave words of joy and laughter and lightly joked about marriage and how do you do it and wow, that's so many years, and on and on and on. 

I sat in the pool for an extra few minutes, unable to make myself get out or climb the ladder and be bombarded by Betty and her married entourage of women all fawning over the multiple decades of wedded existence. I silently wished Betty well, because that is absolutely a milestone to celebrate. But I just couldn't be a part of it. It hurt way too much. Seven years into this, and still, hearing about older couples who are honored enough to get years and decades together when I only got 4 years and 9 months, it still stings. It stings to hear about their children, their houses they bought together, their jobs they retired from, their grandchildren, their vacations, their retirement, all of it. Longevity is not something I was given a choice about in my marriage. When your person dies suddenly, before you could have kids or houses or careers or savings accounts or milestone dates, all of that is gone. It just disappears into oblivion. I am happy that Betty can celebrate 66 years with the same person, but part of me feels almost offended that I don't get to prove to everyone that my marriage would have been one of those kind that lasted a lifetime and that grew with age and time, and that was a thing of beauty. I will never know. I will never know what would have become of us, what our future would give us. But I know everywhere inside of me that we had the kind of love that would have made it to 66 years and beyond. This I know. 

But to know that you will never be given that chance, to have a long and beautiful marriage, to walk through decades and time with someone and keep choosing them over and over - it's very sobering and sad to know that you will not ever have that. I will not ever have that, and through no fault of my own. Our love is just as strong and we worked just as hard and we are just as deserving of longevity as Betty is. But my person died. So I will never know what would have been, and for me, that is one of the saddest feelings in the world. 
Happy 66th Wedding Anniversary Betty. 
I wish I knew anything at all about what it feels like to be where you are. 

Showing 3 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
  • Shelly Tice
    commented 2018-09-11 11:40:26 -0700
    Thank you for putting into words what is in my head!! I only got 3 months and 3 weeks with Marcus before the accident. Our one year anniversary was this past weekend. I love the way you talked about being cheated out of the opportunity to show the world that your marriage would have lasted… I do too!

    I was just invited to the 65th wedding anniversary of a couple from church. It’s on my birthday. I just can’t. It’s hard enough celebrating baby showers with friends. But we were uncertain if we’d have kids together, so I came to peace with that pretty quickly. We didn’t agree not to have 50+ years of marriage….
  • Jessica Jessica
    commented 2018-08-31 16:19:39 -0700
    Me too xx
  • Linda Tevebaugh Keeling
    commented 2018-08-31 15:56:33 -0700
    I so get this… And like you I only got four years and 10 months… I’m lucky that I had the extra month…Yet the last 18 months were difficult because he was ill… Again I would not even change that… I am grateful for all four years and 10 months… Good health or bad health…

    I am 64 years old and had married for the second time… My first marriage was not a good one… But my second marriage was a good one and we planned on having as many years as possible… Since we were in our 50s we realized that we would never likely see 50 years or even maybe 40 years… But we just took what we could get… My husband on our first anniversary said that he was going to pretend that every year equaled to 10 years… And he celebrated it like that every year for four years… I kind a liked that idea…

    Surprisingly I remarried again … This man is a wonderful man… He is 10 years older than me… We talked about the age difference and the likelihood that he could very well die before me… However we both decided that we would take whatever years we got… And make them the best years as possible… As anyone would do getting married in thinking about the future…

    I sometimes am angry that a lot of my friends are coming close to the to r 50 year mark….I’m envious… It would be so wonderful to have that rich history of the good bad and the ugly… I have no idea what that whatever look like or feel like…

    So thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings… I think many of us can relate… I sometimes allow myself to feel sorry for myself for a short while and then I have to stop and think that I have what I have now ….And that is just as precious… But just in a different way…Not better, just different… I definitely think you can understand this…

    Thanks again for the wonderful post… Linda