Friday, January 6, 2017


Yesterday was my wedding anniversary. On January 5, 2013, after 14 years of loving one another, Kevin and I spoke vows in front of our community, promising to love for as long as we both shall live, until death do us part.

We had no way of knowing death would part us so soon.

I have been a widow for far longer than I was a wife, but I have kept my promise. I still love him. I always will.

The one wedding anniversary we had together before Kevin died is a very tender memory. He was already very sick though not yet diagnosed. I made his favorite dish for dinner; he could barely eat. I'd been cooking the best things I could, both flavorful and nutritious, to try to lure his taste buds into action. I watched him swallow a few bites, look at me, then try a few more. It was, in many ways, his anniversary gift to me. He tried so hard. We sat snuggled together in our living room and re-read our wedding vows to one another. I was so happy. I was so grateful. I was so scared.

He was diagnosed 13 days later.

I would not change any of it. Had I known then what was lurking so near I would have made the same choices. Had I been told 14 years earlier that this would lead to the most painful thing I could experience, I would still have said yes, I will. I am so grateful I was Kevin's lover, his friend, his wife. I am so grateful that we eventually married; it was something I had wanted for a long time and once he was diagnosed it made everything bureaucratic so much easier. It means I am his widow legally as well as emotionally. I think this all would have been even harder if we didn't have the legal bond. This is no way is intended to suggest that those who are unmarried and lose a partner suffer any less, I just know that being his wife and legal widow gave me comfort.

I will always be Kevin's wife and his widow. Should I marry again I will speak my vows with no less sincerity and intent than I did the first time, then I will enter into a state of emotional bigamy and I'm okay with this. The human heart is a very complex and resilient bit of muscle.

Love doesn't die. As long as I am alive, as long as Kevin's kids and others who love him are in this world, he will be remembered and be loved. I am so glad I had a chance to be his lover, his friend, and his wife. I am so glad I was able to be his protector and advocate in those last desperate days. In some strange and complex ways, I am now - not glad. Never glad. But something akin to grateful beyond the loss and pain - that I get to be his widow.

I spent part of yesterday snuggled up on my living room couch. I re-read our vows to one another. I remembered. I let myself be comforted by the memories of what we were. And I will continue to be comforted, happy, and grateful that he and I were greater than the sum of our parts and always will be.

(c)2017 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. Such a beautiful wedding, such a beautiful couple, such friendship and promises to shovel snow and Sh*t. So much joy in your wedding day, and today, joy in the remembering.


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