Unshared Milestone

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.

Her Facebook page, which is “memorialized”, doesn’t remind them anymore.  She, quite obviously, can’t post anything about it either. I prefer to keep mum on our anniversary as well...it’s not a day that’s significant to anyone else but those of us that live in our home.  I don’t go out seeking attention or acknowledgment of Megan and I’s anniversary any more than I would have if she was still alive.

Yet still, it was an important date to Megan.  I would have assumed that it would be mentioned, even in passing, by one of our family or friends.

As life has moved forward though, for all of us, new children have been born.  Families have grown to the point that there are almost as many people who had never met Megan as there are those that knew her personally.  Her brother, as I’ve written before, died 4 days before our wedding. Her nephew just turned one year old a few days ago. Her birthday is July 24th...less than two weeks prior to our anniversary.  There are so many significant dates in this small stretch of time that it’s only natural that one of them gets forgotten.

But I haven’t forgotten it.  I wasn’t a ball of snot and tears yesterday, but still, it’s a somber day for me.  Our anniversary is arguably the worst date of any given year, because I don’t share it with anyone else.  On August 6th, I wake up knowing that it’s August 6th, rather than just a random Monday. I often wonder if anyone else even has the inkling of the thought of what day it is, save for Sarah, who, while she wasn’t exactly present for our wedding and marriage, completely realizes the significance of this date to me.  (She was, in fact, the only person to acknowledge it yesterday, composing a wonderful, heartfelt post on Facebook, and was simply “there” for me if needed)

You see, our anniversary was not set as an involuntary date.  It wasn’t her birthday, transplant date, or death date. August 6th was a date that she and I alone CHOSE to vow to spend the rest of (one of our) lives together.  That particular fact is what makes it much, much more important to me, and seemingly less important to others.

The first anniversary after her death was similar.  Nobody really acknowledged it. As such, I was frankly, pissed.  How dare you forget this most important date? How hurtful and insensitive are you that you can’t even give me a “how are you?” when you KNOW this day completely sucks for me?  I guess I don’t get to choose which events are the important ones to remember...it’s her birthday, and I have no choice but to be the “most sad” on that day.

After what would have been our 10th anniversary though, my thinking shifted.  I realized that Megan and I’s anniversary is ours and ours alone. Nobody else GETS to share in that date with us.  I am privileged enough to be the man she chose to spend her remaining days with. Fate did not set August 6th, 2005 as the moment in time that occurred...choice did.  Love did. Our hearts set that date, and nobody else got any say in it. For others to forget or leave the day unacknowledged is an honor, actually. It’s an extra day per year where I, personally, get to remember that I vowed to love Megan for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death did us part, and she returned the vow.  We kept our promise to each other.

No friends or family got that level of commitment from Megan’s heart.  She chose me. That is something that I am beyond proud of. While I will always be in a funk on the date of our anniversary every year, I will also get to be the only person that she can affect on that particular date.  Megan gets to have my heart and mind for an entire day, and no one else’s.

Just like the good old days.

Showing 5 reactions

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  • Lynn Coccio DiGiacomo
    commented 2018-08-15 11:57:23 -0700
    Thank you for your writing, to which I can so relate. My husband passed on 11/2/17, 8 days before his birthday, 3 days before our daughter’s birthday, & 5 days after our anniversary. I too have memorialized his FB page, so messages commemorating these special days, from our family & friends, have ended – just as his life ended 9 months ago. I am so sorry for your loss, and thank you for your eloquent posting.
  • Brent Norrod
    commented 2018-08-12 07:59:59 -0700
    Thank you for sharing, and Happy Anniversary! I relate to most everything you mentioned, even the memorialized Facebook.

    Our 14th Anniversary was last Friday, the 10th of August. My first without her, as she died just 10 weeks ago. I thought I would at least get card from my Mother-Inlaw, but she’s grieving heavily as well. She did call me the day before, and we cried together a little bit.

    Happy Anniversary!
    It seems weird to use the word “Happy” in anything right now, but I am Happy. I married int to an instant family. Mary had three daughters, and three grand daughters from her oldest.


    I am so Happy to have been able to know Mary, and share with her, and love her for as long as I did. But that’s just the tip. I am so grateful to have her three daughters, four granddaughters, and now great-grandson, all be a part of my life, and I, apart of theirs. So privileged that they accepted my love, and they loved me back. That makes me a very rich, and blessed man.

    I am so Happy that our paths crossed by happenstance, sharing a meal, where by the end of dinner, I knew someday, somehow, I was going to marry this girl. Yes, “Just Like That”, I feel in love over a Fish Fry. Apparently, it was mutual. We had a wonderful, passionate love-affair that lasted 14 years.

    Happy Anniversary, Mary!

    Happy Anniversary, Mike!
  • Anne Plyler
    commented 2018-08-08 09:34:39 -0700
    Thank you for finding the words and sharing your thoughts with eloquence.
  • Lisa Richardson
    commented 2018-08-07 22:41:42 -0700
    Our anniversary is the one day that is hardest for me and many of us I imagine. Such a special day filled with so many happy memories. And yet a day now that feels so empty and alone.
  • Linda Tevebaugh Keeling
    commented 2018-08-07 09:40:06 -0700
    I so get this and you wrote on something that is hard to put in words and you did so well.
    John and I’s Anniversary is coming up August 11th… would have been 11 years…. we almost made it to 5… he died the May before our 5th Anniversary.
    We were very picky in picking out Our Day….the one no one remembers or cares about.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings.