Today would have been our 23rd wedding anniversary. How have I already spent this day alone 3 times? I have no idea. Don't ask me what I did the last two years, I haven't a clue. I am sure I will reflect next year back to this year and also have no idea how I spent today either.
I do remember our 20th anniversary - our last. We never did much for our anniversaries, but we figured this one was special, so we snuck away for an overnight and booked a golf getaway. I think you golfed like 36 holes - I quit around 18, or maybe it was 27? It was wonderful time together. Then, you gave me my anniversary band. I told you didn't 'need this' that you shouldn't spend the money with all the medical bills, blah, blah, blah. It was the last, most precious gift you gave me. Sometimes it's good not to listen to your wife. :)
As I sat at the cemetery this morning, I thought about these two rings I wear. The wedding band, and the anniversary band. The wedding band which now, in hindsight, really represented a promise, a vow to each other but destination truly unknown. We couldn't see into the future of a house, careers, three wonderful daughters, great vacation get-aways, a wonderful four legged friend....and a cancer diagnosis, that would put an end to our journey together.
The anniversary band represents so much more to me now. It signifies that we had taken the journey, together, and we were doing good, we were living the life. We had discovered each other, put up with each other's faults, we had learned how to be parents, we had learned how to stay married, and how to love our children and each other unconditionally.
Then, we learned a very tough lesson that no matter how 'good' of a person you are, how hard you pray, how hard you fight, or how it isn't fair, life can still hand you some terrible, terrible things. I think we dealt with them as best we could - you stayed positive and strong, I did the best I could to juggle your caregiving and our girls. But, our efforts went unnoticed, and by the following February, you were gone.
Thank you sweetheart for all your love and for fighting so hard to be with us. We wish you were still here too. This anniversary day, and always, you will remain a part of me. You have left your legacy in your daughters, and you will always be "Forever in Our Hearts."