Two Sides of the Coin

I wake up this morning with a heavy heart.  It is our wedding anniversary.  We would have been married 28 years.  

My initial impulse is to crawl under the covers with the cat on my heart and go back to sleep.  Or maybe, make my way to the sea, put my feet in the water, but that feels like too much.  

I’m not sure what to ‘do’ with this day, how to honor it and grieve it at the same time.  Last year I cringed at the date, could think of nothing but getting past it, somehow, without it ripping me to shreds.  This year the pain is not so intense.  And I wonder if perhaps this time there is space to celebrate and not just mourn this day.

So, even as it aches to go back to the memories of our wedding, there is something soothing at the thought of delicately recalling that time, long ago, when we joined as man and wife.  I have an album I can pull out to plop on the couch, along with a cup of tea and a big box of tissues.  

I remember, it was a perfect day in every way. We celebrated in Topanga State Park, told them it was a picnic, rather than a wedding reception. Mike and I wore sun hats and sandals, I tucked sweet peas into my hair.  Folks lounged on blankets and chatted, got to know each other at tables laden with delicious food. We toasted to our future surrounded by family and friends, and vowed to love and support each other for as long as we both should live.

I suspect I will reach out with fingers to trace his face, as if I could feel him through the photographs.  Remembering how happy and carefree he was that day.  How he looked at me when he told me how much he loved me and how happy I had made him by agreeing to be his wife.

I remember how I stared up into his deep brown eyes, feeling my heart expand at the depth of the love I felt for him.  My new husband, that word delicious on my lips.  We were just beginning, had our whole lives in front of us.

Though there is never enough time, today I am grateful for the life we did have together:  raising our family, traveling, camping, fixing up the house, sitting on the porch with a glass of wine, or simply walking together as we imagined the next steps of our lives.

It is an odd paradox, this holding of grief and joy together, this loving and mourning at the same time. This year there is more joy than there was last year.  This year I can feel the loving of him more deeply than just the losing of him.

My Darling, I raise a glass of champagne to you, toast our love and all that we shared.  I am honored and grateful to have been your wife. Happy Anniversary. 

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