7/7/2001. Twenty years ago today Steve and I got married on a sun-drenched veranda overlooking the hills , under a rose-embellished gazebo, witnessed by 210 of our closest friends, family, and absolute strangers (aka our parents’ friends we’d never met or who claimed to know us when we were in diapers). July 7th. Lucky 7’s. As a young couple who loved taking road trips to Las Vegas, it was the perfect date to commemorate our union as husband and wife. The newly introduced Mr. and Mrs. Sung banking on our fairy tale happily ever after.
Fairy tales, however, are either the happy fantastical stories popularized by and for the mainstream audience or the Grimm ones fraught with trauma and imperfect resolutions in the end. These latter tales are meant to show that there is still life after tragedy even if that life is different than it was before.
My fourteen year marriage follows that literary theme to a tee and it, along with the years since, has taught me profound life lessons I reflect on today on what would have been my 20th platinum wedding anniversary:
Watching my husband, my once-best-friend, lose an ugly battle to mental illness was traumatic. I don’t and I can’t sugarcoat that.
I’ve envied other widows who’ve progressively lost their husbands to physical illnesses that allowed for heartfelt final words and goodbyes, which is the most ridiculous enviable point, I know.
I’m most proud of the resilience and grace personified in our two teenage children.
Gratitude begets forgiveness, enlivens the good times and reminds me the reasons our paths crossed to begin with.
Twenty years ago, once upon a time, I got married with the intention of forever. Nobody ever marries thinking it will end prematurely, right? Divorce? Nah, we were going to be on the SUCCESS side of that 50% statistic and make it til death do us part. And that “death do us part” clause wasn’t supposed to hit us until we were so old and senile, we’d be shamelessly flirting with each other like two strangers across the table in the old folks’ home our callous children put us in. Or so went the joke. My favorite was when Steve would tease me with, “If I die, who’s going to drive you crazy with obnoxious, inappropriate jokes and eat your half of the dessert?” My plot twist has me missing his jokes with the ridiculous Russian accent and hating having to eat all of the creme brulee by myself.
The widow’s tale is painfully hard to live. Healing is never a linear path and though I often stumble, I choose to stay the course. I have hope that in the end, it will be my love story because one day I’ll know without a doubt how loss and grief taught me to deepen the love I feel for others and for myself.
You express yourself so beautifully. What a gift you are to all of us. Thank you, beautiful, soulful lady.
Thank you for sharing your journey Lisa. I am inspired by your courage and it is incredible how you chose to grow, learn, and love from so much pain. Your journey continues and I love following and seeing that you have so much love in your life. You deserve SO much LOVE.
July 7! Do you know Tanabata? I just learned this is the Star Festival day … the day that 2 star crossed lovers (represented by the stars Vega and Altair) are allowed to meet each other as long as the skies are clear. On the 7th day of the 7th month is Tanabata!! In Japan they celebrate the coming together of these two stars who are normally separated by the Milky Way! Isn’t that incredible? It originated from a Chinese legend called Qixi and was brought to Japan in the 8th century.
I imagine that we can celebrate you and Steve on this very special day too ❤️
I had no idea about Tanabata! Thank you so much for sharing that. Now I’m curious to see how it is celebrated in Japan. And I very much appreciate your loving words of support. I’m still very much on the journey, still growing, sometimes still struggling. It helps knowing there are people like you, Emi, cheering me on. Lots of love to you and your family~
I love You. And your journey… love your writing, love your story… and am moved by your journey
Thank you, Yasmeen. ❤️ I appreciate your friendship and loving support always.
This is amazing. I too miss his Russian accent and his smile, but I see that in the kids and I am so happy that you are healing through writing and sharing. Your path has not been easy but you have dealt with it all with much grace and fortitude. Keep on the path you are forging for yourself and your kids.
Thank you so much, Dawn. I appreciate your words of support, love and friendship ❤️
Such great healing story to share with us. 💜 you are an amazing human being grateful to know you.💕
Thank you Artey! I’m grateful to know you, too. 😊