This past week, Sarah and I marked our five-year anniversary as two widows, together in a relationship. Meeting at Camp Widow in 2015, we found ourselves just simply “connected” somehow…so much so that we were actually asked if we were siblings at one point that weekend.
But, this isn’t a story of how we met, or even of the five years following, or even of our current status of being engaged. No, what I want to touch on is all of the reasons I think about Megan ever more frequently as I widen the gap between the day she died, and today.
As Sarah and I have been together another day, another month, another year, and so on, the time I had with Megan grows ever more proportionally less dominating. Sarah and Drew’s time together was a little over three years, and Sarah and I have long since passed that “milestone”.
Now, to be fair, Megan and I were together for 12 years. Married for 9. Shelby was only 7 when Megan died. Sarah and I haven’t quite “hit” any of those numbers yet…but it’s nearing. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I think about it more and more every day. It’s not scary, or even triggery in any way. It’s just thought provoking.
I think about where Megan and I would be…had she not died. Who Shelby would be…had Megan not died. Where we might even be living…had Megan not died. Time is the one thing we can never get back, and as it passes, both the past and the present becomes less clear; more conjecture with regards to Megan and I.
The numbers are simply arbitrary points in time. Megan and I were married less than three years after we met. I hadn’t even proposed to Sarah by that point. Then again, Megan and I were together for 5 years before she and I were parents. Sarah fell into “sudden parenthood”.
Try as I might to not overthink a particular date or month, writing about it automatically defeats that purpose. One of our most significant milestones will be passed in just the next week…Shelby will be officially a teenager. It will be Sarah celebrating her birthday with her. In a few years, Shelby will have known Sarah longer than she knew Megan, notwithstanding those first few years of life where Shelby doesn’t remember anything. That is going to be a really, really big deal to me. Maybe not to Shelby, maybe even not to Sarah, but for me, knowing that over half of our daughter’s life has been with Sarah as her mother will bring both pride and disappointment at the same time.
I will always be disappointed that Megan didn’t get to be here, but at the same time, proud that someone as wonderful as Sarah does. In 2027, long after Shelby has (hopefully) moved out, I will be disappointed that I ONLY got twelve years with Megan, but incredibly happy that I HAVE had twelve years with Sarah. Becoming a widower just has a way of making you see these things differently. That appreciation was there with Megan, but it was subconscious…not something that was ever really analyzed in any way except on our own anniversaries.
Even at this very moment, a Sunday morning sitting on the couch, having a coffee and writing, is one more time that I did this with Sarah, and one step closer to having more of these moments with Sarah than I did with Megan. As a matter of fact, we’ve probably already passed the point where I’ve done this more times with Sarah, considering Megan spent so much time in the hospital through the years. The counter hasn’t started on days in the hospital, and I hope it never will.
But even if it ever came to pass that Sarah was hospitalized long term, I know that if the numbers shifted, and Sarah spent more days in a bed than Megan, I would still be disappointed that Megan didn’t get more of even those, and prideful that Sarah did, with me by her side.
And the gap between Megan and I will be ever more widened.