June 22 is a very special day for me. It always will be. It was on this day in 1986 that Bill and I exchanged wedding vows and from that day forward on the 22nd of every month that followed we celebrated our marriage with cards, poems, dinner out and special moments. I still do honor that day each month.
Memories of our life have been flooding my mind and heart for many days now...more than they usually do. I have relived the preparation and planning of our wedding including the day we chose our rings with their open weave; a symbol, we decided, of the openness we planned to have between us in our marriage, a desire we carried out over the years. I remember driving our motorcycle up to my friend's farm the week before the wedding and leaving it in her barn so it would be there for our 1st honeymoon which was at a nearby site. Our second honeymoon, a few months later, was in Hawaii. And I remember being with the people I most loved and experiencing the deep joy of the dream of our lives coming true. Most of all I remember promising to love and cherish Bill as he promised me the same. And that we did...and did well.
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I think back to that day and realized as I looked at the photos yesterday that so many who were present for that glorious event have since died including my parents, Bill's father and brother, several of my closest of closest friends and of course, Bill
Wedding anniversaries take on a very strange feeling for someone whose spouse has died. Those of you who have lost your spouse know all about this. It is a day that really has meaning only for the two people involved and a day that is most often celebrated by the couple on a special date or trip. When one of them is gone, the other is left to remember and honor that day alone. It is like no other special day or holiday.
Little did we know on that warm day in June the adventure that was to be ours over the years. How grateful I am for the moments we shared and the deep love that was ours. We were indeed very blessed
In Gandhi Park in London
I usually treat this day the way I treat all of Bill's birthdays, death anniversaries, holidays, our wedding anniversary and other special times. I spend time looking at photos of moments we shared, reading poems and cards we wrote to each other, writing in my journal and making a visit to the cemetery among other things. It is rare when I spend one of these days with friends unless it happens to be Christmas or Easter. I am a person of ritual so I will usually light a candle, meditate, and just be silent for a while on these sacred days. Certainly there are tears and smiles.
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I recommend a plan for these days...especially in the early years following a significant loss ("early" being something only you can define). Later on these special days seem to be easier to deal with though I have been surprised many times in these four years when a birthday or anniversary or any day just sweeps me out to a dark sea of pain and throws me back up on the beach with great force. After these many months I have come to be prepared for almost anything. That is how grief is...unpredictable. It is not a straight line but rather a roller coaster ride with sharp unexpected turns, deep and painful dips, and days where the ride is smooth and even peaceful. The dips get further apart if we do our grief work. Time is not the answer. Time only works if we also do our work.
How do you spend the day of your wedding anniversary or other special days?