This week I celebrated what would have been my tenth wedding anniversary. Although my husband and I were together nearly 10 years, we only got to celebrate 8 wedding anniversaries together. Our last was celebrated at the rehab center where my husband was trying to recover from the stroke he had suffered during his cancer surgery. That was a hard day because it was not at all how I ever pictured celebrating an anniversary. Yet we were together, nothing was more important than that. 10 years is a difficult thing to celebrate on your own. I always liked round numbers and 10 sounded like a nice round number, one that clearly shows you've put forth a lot of effort into your relationship. I never could have imagined being without my husband on our anniversary, most days I still can't believe I am.
So what's a widow to do on her anniversary? Celebrate. Just because your husband is not physically here with you does not mean you cannot remember your love. The love we shared brought me to this place, gave me two beautiful children and many things to celebrate, so I did just that.
For most of the day I prepped for my time with the widows who are coming to the retreat at Gold Monarch this week. As I prayed over the words He would have me say to these amazing women I marveled at the opportunity to pour into these lives, getting to see their hearts healed and made whole. My morning was beautiful and redemptive as the Lord ministered to my heart as I prepared to minister to theirs.
That afternoon I was taken on a lunch date with the main man in my life-my son. That evening I got dressed up and went to dinner and an art class with two of my dearest friends. While I don't claim to be an artist painting is a new thing that has been very therapeutic for me. After the class we got caught in a rainstorm on our way to the car and ducked into a pizza shop to wait it out. There we laughed, talked about important and unimportant things alike and closed out the night. It was good for the soul.
During dinner my friend had the waitress bring me out a dessert with the words "Happy Ten Years" written on the plate. As I held it up to take a picture I didn't miss the nearby table full of older couples, watching me as I did. They saw the words on the plate and understood that I was clearly celebrating alone. Most of them quickly looked away. As I caught the older gentlemen's eye He nodded and looked down as if he was sad for me. Yes, would I have given anything in the world to one day be that older couple at a table with my husband. The reality is, I will not get that opportunity. My heart breaks because of it. But my heart also rejoices for the time I got with the most incredible man I've ever known.
10 years of friendship. 10 years of deepest love. 10 years of laughter and joy. 10 years that produced amazing hopes and dreams. 10 years of places I never thought I'd go. 10 years that grew and stretched me into the woman I am today. 10 years that produced fruit and the children we'd always dreamed of.
I'm so thankful for all of those things. And you know what? None of it has died when my husband left. And none of it ever will.
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