Monday, 4 June 2018

Anniversaries and Memories

Today is my wedding anniversary; the fourth since my husband passed away.  This photo was taken on the last anniversary he was well.  The next year he spent our anniversary in hospital, near death from the combined effects of chemotherapy and blood clots that his cancer had caused to form in his lungs.  

My guy was never good at remembering our anniversary.  He worked on a ship, three weeks at sea and three weeks home, for most of our marriage.  When he was at sea, the day went by like any other.  Unless the ship was in port somewhere his only means of calling home was the ship's radio phone - an open channel that could be listened in on by anyone, and was reserved for emergency calls.  I got used to not hearing his voice on anniversaries away. When our anniversary fell on a day that he was at home, my fella seldom remembered it until I put a card in his hand at the breakfast table.  So rare, in fact, were his remembrances that when he did remember, I'd chuckle and ask him what he'd been up to.  😉

In the early years of our marriage, my husband's anniversary-not-remembering felt hurtful but, if I spoke to him about it he'd reply, "I don't need a special day to be happy about marrying you.  I'm grateful for you every day." Good save, sweet sentiment, or both, that thought has stayed with me ever since.  

It's true, you know: Although it's lovely to have special days to honour those we love, Our loved ones are blessings to us every day.  I became even more deeply aware of how precious my fella was to me when I was faced with losing him.  

It's been a tough journey.  My husband died three months before our 35th wedding anniversary and after having been one-of-two for so many years I was not only swamped in grief, but I found almost every aspect of my life completely changed.  It was awful.  It was gut-wrenching.  It was terrifying. At times I felt I'd die from it.  Yet here I am, four anniversaries on, all in one piece, with a healing heart, finding my way forward step by step and I'm here because love - love of my husband and the care and love of family and friends - carried me through.

This is the single most important lesson that has arisen from my grieving process:  We don't need a special occasion to celebrate love.  We're none of us guaranteed more than this moment and the people in it. We need to not take that for granted.  Love is precious and the people we love are beyond value.  We should tell them we love them whenever we have the opportunity to say it.

So here I am, still sometimes lonely, still finding my way, but here and - quite often - joyful. These days, people tease me about how often I say "I love you,"  but I'll continue to say it as often as I can.  I know in my heart that, when all is said and done, it's loving others that makes the world go 'round.

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