Monday I will be celebrating my 19th wedding anniversary. But I will not be celebrating it with my husband. I will celebrate it as I have celebrated every anniversary for the last five years. Alone. Jared died seven days, exactly one week before our 14th wedding anniversary. And for me, our wedding anniversary is one of the hardest grief days.
People remember his birthday. People remember his angelversary. On those days, I often receive texts, phone calls, and Facebook comments letting me know that others are thinking of us. But our wedding anniversary, that was just a day for the two of us. Almost no one remembers it except me. Very few people, if anyone will reach out via text message. There will be no phone calls. No Facebook comments. It’s a day that was special to just Jared and I. And that’s what makes it one of the most difficult days. The person who shared it with me, who understood just how important the day was, and cared about that day is gone.
It was a special day just for us. The day we officially started our lives together. The day we said I do. The day we became Mr. and Mrs. And it ended much too soon. I wouldn’t trade a moment. We shared a lifetime of love in those 14 years. Made more memories and took more adventures than anyone I know.
We had 14 wonderful years as husband and wife. We had our ups and downs. Our good days and bad. The days we fought and got mad at each other. And the days we loved and wouldn’t let go. Our marriage wasn’t perfect. We weren’t perfect. But our love for each other was. And that love continues in me. Guides me. Helps me move forward in my life.
When Jared and I were getting married, my mother was afraid. Because she knew Jared’s disease, his cystic fibrosis meant he would die early. And she was afraid for my future broken heart. She didn’t want to see me suffer. Ever. But I told her, borrowing a line from Steel Magnolias, that I would rather have five years of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special. And God blessed me with 14 years of wonderful.
So on Monday, I will choose to celebrate that wonderful life. Celebrate my marriage. Celebrate the anniversary. Honor the life that I had with a man who loved me until his dying day. Honor the fact that I was his forever love. Honor our love that even death cannot end.
Monday would have been my 19th wedding anniversary. If Jared were still here, we would be planning what we would do next year to celebrate our 20th. A trip. A party. An adventure. But unfortunately, he took his last adventure without me. And now I celebrate our wedding anniversaries alone. But not really. Because I know he’s near. Wrapping me in his love. A love that can never die.
Long live love.