An anniversary is the date on which an event took place or an institution was founded in a previous year. I lost Thomas on August 7, 1998 and he was buried on August 10, 1998. October 23, 2000 is the day I lost my twins, they were buried at a cemetery nearby two days later. Nary a year goes by that I do not remember these anniversaries. With passing time, the pain has dulled, but my heart will forever be missing a tiny piece. A mother never forgets.
Today is the anniversary of our wedding. I remember and suspect I always will. I remember because I took my vows that day seriously– for better, worse, sickness, health, good times, bad times…….until death. I took those vows to mean: through crazy pregnancy losses, through depression and anxiety after said losses, through crazy times at the hospital with sick kids, through job losses, moves across country, and through it ALL…..through thick and thin, no matter what, forever and always. But it wasn’t to be the case. My husband walked away from his promises. Thankfully, God doesn’t walk away from His promises!
Now we have a whole new list of anniversaries to remember. These anniversaries my ex may now celebrate, but I feel an ever so slight sadness with each passing one. Like the losses of my children, the pain has dulled over the years. October 15 — the day he walked out. May 12 –our first court date. February 1 –he finally signed the agreement. February 5 –the divorce he filed for was final. October 17—the day the Decree of Nullity for which I petitioned the Catholic Church was issued.
The first wedding anniversary after he was estranged, we were still civilly married. I knew in my heart that he wasn’t coming back, but guess I held out a tiny bit of hope that somewhere in his heart he would be open to the grace God gives us in the sacrament of marriage. I held out an ever so slight hope that he would decide to uphold his vows, as I believed he was a practicing Catholic who understood and believed that marriage was until death. The luster of his new love held more power over his heart and that was simply not to be.
The following anniversary was a little more painful than the first because the civil divorce was final by the second anniversary. While we were still married in the Church and I continued to wear my wedding ring, I knew there was no turning back for him once the civil divorce was final. Again, the luster of his new, brightly burning love only encouraged his turning from the teachings of the Church.
Here I sit, three anniversaries later, divorced and annulled—completely FREE. I am mostly healed and completely single. I refuse to allow this day to bring sorrow and pain despite the imperfections in our 24 year marriage! This day brings back sweet memories of our wedding day, the joy of finding out we were expecting each of our children, the laughter and the love that was intertwined into our lives for over 24 years. The day he came to retrieve the last of his belongings from our home, I said to him, “Let’s at least end this on a peaceful note, we were married for 24 years and there was a lot of good in our marriage.” To which he replied in a snarled, raspy voice, “There was nothing good! It was all miserable.” I choked back tears, turned and walked away. I refused to believe satan’s lies then and I refuse to believe them now. I will remember the good and the love. As I walked away that day, several funny moments flashed through my mind. I thought of my three boys and what wonderful blessings they are and I smiled ever so slightly through the tears.