Thirty one years ago today, I married the love of my life.
Fifty two days ago today, he died.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about anniversaries and tenses. “We’ve been married for 31 years?” (Do I continue to count the years now that he’s gone? Are we still considered married?) “We were married for 31 years?” (This sounds like our marriage ended. Did it?) I’m celebrating our 31st anniversary?” (Doesn’t sound right without the We’re. Plus it’s no longer a celebration. So what is it?)
I’ve decided to go with how I opened this post. “Thirty one years ago today, I married the love of my life.” (Simple, true, and updatable each year.)
Bill proposed to me (down on one knee) at my parents’ cabin at Kimball Lake in the spring of 1983. He did not have a ring. He said he had picked one out, but wanted to make sure it was what I wanted before he bought it. When we got back to Saskatoon we went to Peoples and he showed me what he had picked out. It was a beautiful ring but much more than I was comfortable wearing. He kind of thought that would be my response. I chose a smaller engagement ring with a wedding ring that fit together with it, and I told him that I wanted another copy of the wedding ring to go on the other side for our 10th anniversary. Which I got.
(Who knew how hard it is to take a picture of a ring?)
We were married on Saturday, November 26th at Trinity United Church in the Montgomery neighbourhood of Saskatoon. Bill’s longtime friend Doug Obed and Bill’s brother Bob were the groomsmen. My friend Debbie Cathrea and my sister Sheila were the bridesmaids. I wanted to rent a wedding gown, but my mother wouldn’t hear of it and paid for my dress.
The reception and dance were held at the Leisureland hall. My mom tells me it was storming, but I don’t remember. 🙂 My dad’s boss and my former teacher, George McLeod, gave the toast to the bride. I gave the response (as if I was ever going to let Bill do my talking for me!).
The first dance was supposed to be “Love Me Tender” by Elvis Presley. The DJ had assured me he would have that particular song for the dance. He didn’t. So our first dance was “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” by Elvis.
I’ll always remember Terry Hryniuk and friends doing an impromptu version of Do Wah Diddy at the dance. “There she was just a-walkin’ down the street…”
Yes, it’s a sad day for me, but I have lots of happy memories. Our usual anniversary celebrations involved going out for supper and a movie. My sons are going to take me out for supper and a movie tonight. There will be tears throughout the day – that I am sure of – but some smiles as well.
The other thing I’ve wondered is what can people say? What would I say to someone whose husband has died, but it’s their anniversary? “Happy anniversary” doesn’t seem appropriate. “Sad anniversary” is more accurate, but hardly something you want to wish someone. So how about “Happy memories”? That works for me.