To most today is just another day, nothing special. But to my family, this day has been a day to celebrate for 49 years now. It is my parent’s 49th wedding anniversary. They met 54 years ago and were married in 1967. My wonderful mother passed 4 months ago, but we still celebrate.
To stay together so long, through the ups and downs of life. Theirs was truly a time when you stuck with it. It was wonderful growing up with parents who loved each other so much. It was wonderful to see them, even in their older years, holding hands and being affectionate. They have been a wonderful example as to what a relationship truly should be. And they taught me not to ever settle for less than what they had.
And what they had does not change with the times or social opinion of the masses. Because they taught me about basing a relationship on similar values, friendship, trust, respect and faith. Those are the things that last, long after looks and the superficial fades. They taught me about doing for the other not because you owe them, but because you love them.
I have called them many times over the years to wish them a happy anniversary and they would have completely forgotten about it. They just went along, happy with each other no matter what day.
Today, we talked about many things he remembers about her. We laughed as we talked about fond memories and talents she held. I want to take all those memories and put them in a place inside my heart that is so Holy and sacred, that they will always be bright and unfaded. Afterward Dad went to visit my closest sister in age and geography. Being so close to Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for her interest in keeping in touch with him and hope the trend continues. Tonight will be a dinner of his choice and lots of hugs.
Today marks the start of the first of many holidays and celebrations without Mom. Truth be told I do not know how to make that sound optimistic, or nice. It is a journey that we all must go through at some point in our lives. I do not know how to truly process that she is not here for this anniversary. I do not know how or what to feel. In truth, all we can do is hold those who we love just that much closer. We can make those anniversaries of whatever a celebration…of life that is here, in front of us. And maybe therein lies the key.
So tonight I raise my glass to the 49th year. I am only 43, so I cannot even fathom what it is like or what it takes to stay with someone for longer than I have been alive. But I do know it takes a lot of love. I want to take those memories of love and be inspired moving forward.