We Were Together

My husband is missing another wedding anniversary. (Because he died.) And after all this time, after everything I’ve done, he is still not alive.

If that sounds like I feel stood up, its’ because I do. There is this side to widowhood that is sarcastic and irreverent and very WTF.

What happened?!

You don’t call.

You don’t write.

But then there are other times… and I remember how good it was. How good we were. I remember all the love.

And I must say, those times are harder. Going to that place, getting swept away in it, letting your mind wander back to your happiest moments and visit there for a while.

I love this quote from Walt Whitman. It shows up in my feed frequently, usually from fellow widows.

It usually leaves me feeling somewhat short of breath. Because we were together. And I do forget the rest sometimes.

Sometimes I visit those memories and I forget.

I forget all the petty fights we had.

I forget all the little annoyances.

I forget the ways I feared I’d failed you.

I forget the ways you weren’t perfect.

I forget the look on your face after your heart was no longer beating.

I forget the trips we didn’t get to take, the healing that never happened, the promises we’d made that could never be fulfilled.

I forget the ways our house was always a mess.

I forget the bad habits.

I forget the dishes forever in the sink.

Instead I remember your beautiful face when you looked over at me.

I remember hugging you, the freckles on your neck, and the funny way your beard grew on the right side.

I remember the way you held my hand as you drove. Your hand holding mine over the gear shift.

I remember watching VH1’s Top 100.

I remember your smile as you held Olivia for the first time. The complete joy and love and manic admiration.

I let myself remember what it felt like to be in a room with you. Sometimes I see you in the corner, still, your hands in your pockets, watching us. Watching me.

I let myself be there for a moment, maybe longer. “What do you think, Jake? How are we doing?” The answer is always the same.

And I remember our wedding day. Taking that picture with you out in the field and then holding your face and telling you, it’s going to be okay. Stressful, but okay. Relax. I love you.

I remember standing in front of our family and friends and feeling like the luckiest woman on Earth, and even though we were telling everyone all about it, no one could really understand what we had.

I remember dancing and dancing and dancing.

Also, some more dancing.

I remember calling you my husband and feeling so ecstatic.

I remember calling you my husband nine years later, and feeling so proud.

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Tomorrow will be our 11th wedding anniversary. I miss you, husband. I remember and I miss you.