Today we celebrate 25 years of marriage.
In trying to choose one photo for this post, this is the image that kept coming back to my mind. There are thousands of images from the past 25 years of our lives together. Every image marks a moment in time, important moments that helped shape who we are and who we have become. We have weathered some pretty intense storms in our marriage. Many of them are things that would have taken others out. We aren’t so special, we just chose to fight for something that had a greater value to each of us than the pain of a moment in time. We chose to love unconditionally and hold on tight. With each new day, we chose each other. For 25 years we have chosen love.
This photo marks a moment in our marriage that has changed it forever- saying good bye to our son.
I remember this moment, the day of Mattie’s funeral, John turned to me and spoke some incredible things to me. His words were like cement, solid and strong, stabilizing.
We have been talking a lot about how life has changed. Things are not as they used to be. We are wrestling with many of those changes and trying to find a place for the “after Mattie’s death” part of us. We’ve looked intently at who we were before he was born, who we were during his life, and who we are now after his passing. Some of the changes are startling. Some of them uncomfortable. Some of them frustrating.
As we sat in a grief therapy session this past week, we talked about our marriage- the before, the during, the after.
And this is what I know for sure. What we had prior to Mattie coming into our lives was good- full of commitment and desire for growth. What we had in our marriage during his life only deepened because we linked arms in a more concerted way to love our family well and care for Mattie’s needs. And now, we cling harder than ever. We spend more time together. We talk more. We are digging in deep to matters of faith and loss. We are more dependent on each other because to be honest there is no one who knows me better than he does and no one who knows him better than I. I can read his face. He can take one look at my eyes and he knows what I need.
The day Mattie died, he held me and said, “You’re not going to lose me.”
The day we buried our son he said, “I choose you again today.”
There are days our grief collides and neither of us have much to give and there are days one of us holds the other up.
But every day, we embrace and commit to each other, “I choose you again today.”