Thursday, October 17, 2013

I Do.

Words of love abound.
We find them in the sacred texts
reminding us that "if I speak in the tongues of men and of angels,
but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." *
They drip from the poet's notebook
declaring that "I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach." **
They saturate the songs that linger in your head and in your heart, 
playing over and over again, comfortable like a sigh.
Yet with all this eloquence to choose from,
the words of love we cherish most
are those that spring up in our lives whether we plant them or not.
They are the things you say to your beloved every time you head 
out the door or nod off to sleep.  
Automatic. Repetitive. True.
Words of love abound,
but ultimately their origin, their shape are unimportant.
All that matters is that they flow.  Without end.  Between you.  Forever.
~ Barbara Govednik,  SMO & Boomer's wedding

"How'd I get so lucky?" is what I'm hearing nearly every day in the last week.  Boomer's voice says to me, "How'd I get so lucky?"  Automatic.  Repetitive.  True.  His words flowed in my direction so often from the very beginning (read Sweet 16) later adding "I should have done this years ago," or "Best decision I ever made - - marrying my SMO." on this day, October 17, 2009.

I've been very afraid of today, our wedding anniversary, the first one without Boomer.  How will I feel?  What will I do?  Earlier in the week I was feeling OK (read Yahtzee), then on Tuesday I began to bounce like a ball on a bumper pool table in anticipation of just being able to get through today (read Anticipation).  Today has so much culminating weight on it, it's anchoring my fear.  Beyond our wedding anniversary, today is rounding out the completion of all the "firsts" I've endured as Boomer's widow.  This one is one of the hardest, another band-aid ripping moment (read Band-Aid).  I've sat in a sorrow-filled continuous loop replaying our anniversary last year.  I couldn't shut it off.   

It started with a conversation about the Flintstones and the "lost" anniversary episode.  I sent him the clip and posted it to his Facebook page.  He loved it and laughed, yet again, at my knack of semi-useless knowledge (okay, mostly useless).  But Boomer was already so sick, weak, fevered, and no appetite.  We canceled half of our plans, but he was so insistent on continuing our dinner plans at the Peruvian restaurant we enjoyed - one of the few spots here in Florida (read What the What?) we found that we really liked.   I pleaded for us to postpone until he felt better, he wouldn't have it.  "No, no, it's our anniversary," he said.  All through dinner he continued to apologize for being sick (read Reality) and that the day wasn't how he wanted it to be for us.  He was gone 28 days later.  It was as if he knew. 

There's a loneliness that accompanies the emptiness you feel in grieving your wedding anniversary;  typically you are the only one who remembers.  A wedding anniversary is mostly honored and remembered by bride and groom, the husband and wife.  The rest of us, go our merry ways after the party.  It's not our day.  There are exceptions. I recall my best friend's wedding anniversary every year for example (read Vegas).  Funny, I even remember my parents' anniversary date, and I was NOT there.  It was my friend's anniversary last month, for as much as I tried to resist, that my anticipatory fear began to mount. 

I began to formulate a plan to honor our day, but everything I was coming up with felt lonely, empty and scary. It was Amber, my grief counselor, who suggested, having a session with her booked for early in the morning (with special dispensation to cancel at the last minute if I was OK) and also to make arrangements  with a local trusted friend - - just in case.  Seriously, it was starting to feel eerily familiar to the early days. 

I started to hear Boomer chime in with suggestions for me.  "Order flowers for delivery, like I use to do.  And order the ones you love, the ones I gave you that first week we dated."  I ordered the stargazers, without a vase.  I'll use the vase Boomer gave me and arrange them myself.   Just like it went.  The next thing I knew, Boomer was guiding me to create a day/evening like he originally wanted us to have last year.  I made early dinner reservations for myself at Roy's, to enjoy some Hawaiian fusion deliciousness tapping an honorary nod to our Kona, HI honeymoon.  I sent a special note for the maitre d' that I'm celebrating an anniversary.  I've shanghaied my friend Joanne to join me.  I'll dress up; wear our rings (read Mood Ring) and nourish my heart and soul with love and gratitude for all Boomer's love for me, the significance he placed on commemorating this day, the day we became Mr. & Mrs. Boomer and SMO just 4 short years ago.   I'll spend early morning reflective solitude in journaling conversation with Boomer before hitting my bike and the pool.   I'll play the soundtrack CD we made for our reception at the loft (read Lofty) and a gift for our guests.  I'll replay the video clip of our vow exchange (below), say them aloud again, and smile seeing Boomer's nervousness.  Which is pretty funny for a guy who liked to play it so laid back and cool.  It will be a beautiful day for me.  A beautiful day for us - - husband and wife. 

I know Boomer's on-board with it, as demonstrated by the timing of a note I only recently discovered and the impending full-moon tonight (Boomer was big into the full moon and it shows up at some very amazing times). I also know, I'm really not alone.  Word on the street is out, SMO's a hot mess coming into her anniversary, loving emails, texts, etc. of encouragement have been arriving.   I'm cloaked in relief, peace and oodles of love.  It's going to be OK.  I'm going to be OK. 

As I read our vows, I can say without hesitation, job well done.  We loved one another to the depth and breadth and height our souls could reach.  I stood with you Boomer.  Thank you for standing with me.  I only wish it was much longer.

I, Mike/Shannon, take you, Shannon/Mike
to be no other than yourself,
loving what I know of you
trusting what I do not yet know
with respect for your integrity
and faith in your love for me.

I promise to open my heart to you,
to encourage, inspire and comfort you.
I pledge my friendship, my faith and my love.

Come health, happiness and prosperity, 
I will stand with you.
Come illness, trouble or poverty, 
I will stand with you.
Take this ring, SMO/Boomer,
For with it I offer you
All of my love for all of my life. 
*   Corinthians 13:1-13
** Sonnet from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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