On the 20th of August it will be my third Wedding Anniversary – except that it isn’t because Mike died before he could marry me. Still, in my mind and in my heart, it’s our Wedding Anniversary. But, it’s nothing like I imagined it would be. On our Anniversary there will be no long stem red roses. No fancy celebration dinner. No weekend get away to celebrate us. No jewelry. No hugs. No kisses. No I love yous will be exchanged. No anniversary sex will be had. Nope. Where all of this should be, there will be nothing. Zilch.
There won’t be anything that resembles an Anniversary celebration. There will just be me – alone – remembering our special day. Part of the difficulty is that there was no Wedding day. Mike died before we became husband and wife. I have no photos to tenderly hold in my hands. There is no wedding bouquet to fondly look at. There is no wedding dress to put on and sit and cry in. There are none of these mementos. When I close my eyes, I have no memories of our Wedding. I just have a head full of supposed to bes. So, on August 20th, I will do my best with what I have. I will try to imagine the wedding we never had. *Sigh.
It goes without saying, these dates are just plain cruddy. But, so far, in anticipation of my Wedding Anniversary, it feels less awful than it did the first year, or the second year for that matter. Somehow, I feel less devastated about everything… but, I feel more empty. And, really, I’m not sure which is worse the devastation or the emptiness. Really, both are terrible.
When I think about our Wedding Anniversary I feel a bunch of nothing really. Where there should be joy and happiness there is just a huge void. Where there should be happy memories of “the best day ever”, there is nothing. I have nothing to recall because our Wedding day never came to be. So, I just sit with the nothingness that it is. The nothingness of our special day quietly blends into the nothingness that Mike has become. It is sad. Beyond sad really. It is tragic and it hurts. But, I will be “okay”. I have lived through this Anniversary date twice before.
I am just sad – like usual. However, on this third Wedding Anniversary, I am not particularly more or less sad than any other ordinary day. And, this is progress. This year, leading up to our Wedding date, I am just your run of the mill sad – the kind of sad I always am. The kind of sad I’ve grown used to. But, I will take this brand of sad because it beats the soul shattering sadness I used to feel. Again, the evolution of grief is apparent to me. This is progress. I’m grateful.
The other day I read something Dan Rather wrote. The topic was world affairs, not affairs of the heart; but what he wrote struck deep with me. Mr. Rather stated, “I don’t long for the past as much as I yearn for the future”. This is exactly how my grief feels now.
This is not to say that I do not miss Mike.
I really, really do.
I miss him a whole lot.
But, even more than longing for Mike and our shared past, I desperately yearn for my own future.
Mike would be glad about this. The new interest that I have in myself and my future is good for me; and it is something of an Anniversary gift to my “husband”. Mike would like that I am trying to live and love again. Like I wrote last week, my grief has become a “Grief of my Own”. So, in keeping, on the week of what would be my third Wedding Anniversary, I am celebrating the love that was; and, while doing this, I am also dreaming about a beautiful future that is yet to be.