It’s been 17 years since I walked down that cement path to the gazebo where we wed… 17 years since we said I do and promised to love each other forever… 17 years since we decided to become one in front of all our family and friends.
But it has been 5 ½ years since I was able to hold your hand, hug you, kiss you, and have you tell me you loved me back. Some days it feels like yesterday and others another lifetime completely.
I have learned a lot about how we process grief and loss this year. I have learned a lot about who I am in light of grief and loss. And I am continuing to learn how marriage to you has shaped me into who I am now.
Some days I don’t recognize the me that was married to you anymore… I’ve changed and grown so much since I lost you. But I believe for the most part you would be proud of the me that I have become.
I’m braver. I speak up for myself and share what I am thinking with others. You would never have believed that people think I am opinionated and have a strong personality. The me that has survived grief and loss stands up for what she believes in, embraces what she wants, and expects big things from others.
I love bigger. I’m more vulnerable. And I am also so much more insecure than ever before. I attribute that to having been married to you. You loved the chase and made sure I knew I was wanted every single day from the moment I met you. I can hear you proudly telling everyone we met that you were a “stalker success story.” You always ran after the things you wanted with your whole heart! Marriage, school, children, and work.
This year I have been bold. I have conquered fears and stepped out in faith to do so many new things. Friends have encouraged me to finish my children’s book, my book about life with you, and to embrace new ministry opportunities. I have jumped up to chase after things I think will help grow me as a person, a mom, & a friend. And I am making so much progress on moving forward!
I have not improved on overanalyzing, but hey we can’t all be perfect 😉 I can almost hear you laughing about that and telling me that I should have been a lawyer.
Loving you and losing you has truly reshaped me. I am so thankful that when I face struggles and storms like I have had the last few weeks that I can look back and remember how you faced everything head on and with all your might. It gives me the strength to keep going and know that what God has ahead of us is bigger than anything we could ever imagine.
I miss you every day… but this year I have slowly realized that while I miss my best friend, I am more sad that our kids do not get to see how you lived and loved with everything you had in you. I am so thankful for your family who has embraced us and let our kids have a glimpse into what life with you would have been like if you were still here.
Thank you for teaching me to love big. Thank you for teaching me to reach for the stars. And thank you for reminding me every day what miracles our children are. You would be incredibly proud of them too!
I am thankful for the way you always encouraged me to chase my dreams and never got tired of reinforcing what I should have already known in my heart. I never doubted for a single moment that you loved me with your whole heart and for that I’m truly grateful.
I know how blessed I am to have struck gold with you. You showed me a true picture of what the everlasting love of our Father looks like and you were truly such a gift to have as mine. We weren’t perfect, but we were perfectly imperfect together.
Sending hugs to you and our sweet baby in heaven today. Happy 17th Anniversary! Love you, Mean it!