Sunday would have been my 18th wedding anniversary to my late husband. And for the first time, I celebrated it as remarried widow. The fact that I am now remarried, did not stop me from celebrating my love story with Jared. We had 14 years together as husband and wife. And the love I have for him will never die. Death does not end love. And I have every right to celebrate my love with Jared.
I am blessed that my new husband understands that. That he not only honors my love story with Jared but he also celebrates it. For the last 2 years on my wedding anniversary, Jon has sent me flowers. And the notes said happy anniversary to you and Jared. You’ll never be the only one to remember this day again. I had told Jon, that my wedding anniversary is one of the hardest days. Because it’s the day that only I remember. It’s a day that was special to Jared and I but not necessarily to anyone else. It can be a lonely day. And he ensures that I do not celebrate it alone.
I am so blessed to have found this man. This man with a huge heart. This man that is never jealous of the love I have with Jared. The man who says he’s grateful for my love story because it made me the woman he loves.
I am blessed to be a remarried widow that can celebrate both of my love stories. I am blessed to have found all encompassing, unconditional love not once but twice.
Jared and I had a fairy tale wedding complete with a horse and carriage and a bagpiper. It was everything I wanted. It was the wedding of my dreams. I wouldn’t trade a moment of that day. Our first date was the Kentucky/Gator game and two years later we said I do on that same weekend. Our reception was a celebration of our love with 400 of our family and friends. Complete with a Gator groom’s cake and a Gator chomp photo. It was perfect. Beautiful. Everything I hoped it would be. And I would do it all again, without hesitation.
When we got married, I told Jared we should celebrate each anniversary and the one one times 10 because I wanted to celebrate 50 years together. When we married, I knew our marriage would not be forever. I knew one day Jared would die. But I wanted to love him as long as I could. And I hoped we would get a miracle and grow old together.
God blessed us with 14 years. We honored our vows. Especially the in sickness and health part. When Jared received his first lung transplant we were blessed with great years of health. But the last few years, we saw our share of sickness. But I still wouldn’t change a thing. I was married to my best friend. The man of my dreams. And nothing was going to change that.
Fourteen years later exactly one week before our wedding anniversary, I said my final goodbye to Jared. Said goodbye to life as I knew it. Said goodbye to life as a couple.
And then 3 years later, God blessed with me another great love. A man who would understand that my heart could expand to love 2 great man. A man who would honor my love story with Jared. A man who would help me celebrate my wedding anniversary. A man who understands death does not end love.
I am doubly blessed in love. And on Sunday I honored my love story. My love story that death could not end. My love story that will live on as long as I do. My love story that showed me what love really meant. My love story with Jared.
Here’s to 18 years of love. And counting.