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.Read more
Tomorrow is our first
And, I call it our Wedding Anniversary even though Mike died before we said
I married him in a thousand different ways before he even asked me to be his wife.
In our hearts we were husband and wife;
And, now given the circumstance, people tell me that's what matters.
Still, I wish I stood before Mike in a white dress.
I wish my eyes met his as he lifted my veil.
I wish we were pronounced Husband and Wife.
But, that is not what happened.
And, well, this evening,
the night before our first wedding anniversary, certainty isn’t how I pictured it.
Sometimes I can not believe any of this is truly real.
As I type this, I can feel it, tonight is not going to be easy...
These anniversary dates are beyond difficult.
I miss him to the depths of me.
But, missing Mike doesn’t change his deadness.
The intensity of my “missingness” doesn’t bring him back to life.
So, I will just accept, that tonight is harder than the other nights.
I will remember my husband.
I will wish the future was how we imagined it would be,
Then, I will cry because it is so very different than we expected.
And, then, I will cry some more.
And, after, I will dry my tears,
And, I will listen to our favorite songs on repeat,
While I will celebrate our Love for one another.
I am anxious because as the stars come out later tonight,
I know that I will miss my husband
- to the depths of me.
He is supposed to be here celebrating our first wedding anniversary.
But, he's not here.
At least not physically...
So, I will sit alone in my backyard,
And, I will imagine what our life would be like if he didn’t die.
Because, now, all I can do now is imagine...
If Mike was alive,
I know we’d be going away tonight to celebrate our Anniversary.
With our suitcases packed,
And, our hearts even fuller,
We’d head out into the world.
Hand in hand.
We’d be filled with gratitude for the life we share this past year as newlyweds.
Wherever we were,
I know that we’d stay up too late talking about all our hopes and dreams.
Mike and I were really best friends.
It felt like we were having a lifelong sleepover with one another.
It was almost too good to be true.
(Then it was.)
Sometimes we’d look at each other and smile
because we couldn’t believe how much fun we were having.
It was fun in the simplest sense.
We'd sit in bed and eat twizzlers and watch tv.
And, other times we’d have a hot tub under the light of the moon.
Then, we’d turn the music on a little too loud and crowd each other
by the stove at midnight as we drank wine and made grilled cheese sandwiches
on his favorite cheap white bread.
It was a sweet, crazy love.
And, I miss it.
At the time, we both knew there was something beyond magical between us.
But, we couldn’t quite name it.
I still can’t.
Tonight, in honour of all that we were together,
I will drink red wine and I will wish he was here with me
- like I do every single day.
But, tonight, I will wish he was here a little harder than usual.
Our Love was a beautiful love to witness while Mike was here on Earth.
And, it remains a strong love - even now.
Ours is a big love. A love that reaches across dimensions.
Yesterday would have been Megan and I’s thirteenth wedding anniversary. It has been the fourth since she died. We didn’t quite make it to a decade together as husband and wife, but we at least got to have the experience of buying our own home and becoming parents. We got to have a formal wedding, with a service in a church and a catered reception in a rented hall. For all intents and purposes, our marriage and life together thereafter was “normal”, save for, you know, the whole long-term illness and death thing.
But I digress. Again, it’s been four years since she died. I’ve had a bit of time now to observe how this very specific date will occur each year, and I’ve noticed a trend…
...none of those who were our wedding guests cares about this date.Read more
Since losing Tin, I look to each new week as a new horizon that will bring brighter days. This is my fourth post and I thought, maybe by now, my blog would have small sparks of settlement in the chaos. I guess it is good to hope but bad to assume. A very fine line that I often fail to recognize these days. I’ll keep the faith that those brighter days are to come but it is difficult with the unexpected challenges that continue to appear. I feel as though I have never heard of anyone else going through all of the milestone days associated with a loss along with the strange scenarios I have recently found myself cornered in. Yes cornered is a great description of how I feel and this week has been one of the most unmanageable yet.
Those who haven’t lost a partner can’t understand the extent of the loneliness. No one to wake up to. No one texting through the day to see how you are. No one to plan dinner with. No one to fold laundry with. No one in the room at the end of the night to wish you sweet dreams and provide a sense of safety through the night. Worst of all – No one to enjoy those special dates with. The lack of a person makes them almost unbearable.Read more
This past week was the 6th anniversary of his death. I wrote last week about this, and what would have been our 9th anniversary together the week before. I will always hate that these two dates are a week apart. It’ll always piss me off to have to have my anniversary of celebrating our love so closely linked to when he died. But it is what it is I guess...
The week of our anniversary proved to be a lot harder this year that I’d expected. Harder than the anniversary of his death, which turned out to be pretty okay really. But our anniversary, nope, a lot of tears and just an overall sadness and wanting to withdraw for days. Still, it’s easier than it used to be. I will never forget the excruciating sadness and anxiety those first few years. The horrible hollow feeling when I first realized that no one else cares about your anniversary but the two of you… and thusly no one else remembers it or honors it. So you are alone then more than on any other day.
My new partner, Mike, has brought a lot of joy back to these hard days though. The first year I dated him, we were long-distance, but happened to be visiting each other when my anniversary with Drew fell. Mike took me out for a nice dinner that night, to a fancy restaurant. We got all dressed up and enjoyed a beautiful romantic evening. It was so surreal to be out with another man on that particular night for the first time ever… and even more surreal that it wasn’t upsetting or awkward at all. It felt beautiful. It felt like I’d found this new person who wasn’t afraid to celebrate both our love and the love I had before. He got that it was a part of me. It surprised me, no doubt, how easy it could be to actually have these two worlds in some way meshing into one new life...Read more
My Dear Linzi,
Five Years, my love. Five Years.
We would’ve been married five years today.
Yet another milestone you won’t be able to see or celebrate with me. What would we have done? Where would I have taken you? Who would’ve watched Lila that night? Would I have cooked for you? All questions that will forever remain unanswered and unknown.
My, where has the time gone?
It trailed off in the wake of your absence. Everywhere. Nowhere. I’m not sure. It’s been difficult to pay attention to the passage of time anymore. One more second is just another second closer to seeing you again. How long am I trapped in this prison of pain, my love?
The tears still fall just as freely as they did back then. The thought of you is still as bittersweet as the day I woke up to you gone, reconciling with myself that the night before actually happened.
I miss the arguments. I miss your encouragement and your compliments. I miss the disagreements over silly things like preference of condiments. I miss laughing at anything that didn’t make sense. I miss your critiques meant to help me do better than I once did.
A few weeks ago, a milestone came that I have dreaded for a very long time. It’s odd to say that, considering it was my anniversary with someone I love very much. But it wasn’t just any anniversary. It was the third year since the day Mike and I met. The third anniversary was also the last I got to have with Drew… he died six days later, suddenly. This is almost unbelievable to me.. As my 3 years with Mike have felt like a whirlwind, and the same amount of time with Drew felt somehow like a decade.
It’s no surprise that I’ve had many mixed emotions the past few weeks. Emotions about the fact that, going forward from here, each new day with Mike is one more day than what I got to have with Drew. Emotions about Mike dying somehow suddenly a week after our third anniversary. I’ve even had some particularly difficult and confusing dreams as of late… dreams that seem like my mind trying to make sense of it all again, just like in the first year after he died.
I’ve struggled to find words about how all this feels. I haven’t really even journaled about it, which is my usual go-to. So I’m trying here to confront those feelings. I don’t want to. I don’t like these feelings. Because they are so complex. Because I don’t even fully understand them. Because they make me feel guilty for not being 100% joyful when milestones hit. Quite bluntly, I feel resentment. And It feels awful. And Ugly. And not at all like a feeling I want to have.Read more
Three years is not an insignificant amount of time to be in a relationship with someone.
Three years is how long Megan and I dated before we were married.
Three years is how long Megan was “healthy” during our relationship.
Three years is how old Shelby was when her mother was carted away in an ambulance, on her way to an unknown future.
Three years is how long Sarah and Drew were together before his death.
Three years ago, Sarah and I met.Read more
I won't lie, I've cried quite a lot the past few days. It may just be that time of the month making me extra emotional… but it’s also a lot more. It will be my anniversary in a few days… eight years ago next week is when I went on my first date with Drew. The following week, just seven days later, will be the 5th anniversary of his death.
It’s hard to imagine he has been gone 5 years, but surprisingly, this fact isn’t the one getting to me. Perhaps because I spent the first few months of this year already processing the “5 year mark” being here, I almost feel as if that has already passed. The one that is getting me though, is the other milestone.
We would have been together for 8 years now. Instead, we only got three. THREE. And I know, no time is ever enough. Not three, or ten, or fifty. But I do feel like there is a specific kind of heartbreak for young couples that had so very much unfinished life to live. We hadn’t even moved in together yet, much less gotten married or started a family. And so much of that was slated to unfold in that very year when he died. So much was already in the plans to be happening. It will haunt me forever, the unfinished stuff, I know that. And I know it’s normal for it to be worse as I get closer to this day. It just sucks I guess, there’s not much else to say there.Read more
Saturday marked two years since Megan’s death. I could sit down to write about how it was a horrible weekend, curling into the fetal position and crying more often than not. I could note how the minute I woke up, a tightness seized in my chest and a chill shot through my body. I could give an anecdote about walking through our dining room, where Megan’s ashes rest, and not being able to keep my composure.