Mike and I were married in Las Vegas. We joked about it and thought it was pretty cool to be married in the Garden of Love.
There were so many people that walked down the aisle before us, but when I turned the corner our eyes met. It was as if this was our place where our intimate bond would be the first and last to have united in marriage in this room. It did not matter where we got married, what mattered were the words we shared with each other in our vows.
When I said “I, Samantha, take you, Mike, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part,” it never once crossed my mind that death would part us before we both were retired, with grey hair, barely able to see and walk with great-grandchildren running around.
Hearing his shaky voice with tears welling up in his eyes as he said, “I, Mike, take you, Samantha, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part” I never thought that he would ever leave me behind.
I took our vows to mean forever, that there would be no end to our time together. That we would die together in a bed, lying next to one another with my head on his chest holding hands. That our family would cry, not that they would be sad we were gone, because the end of our life story ended the way we did everything else in our lives…together.
On September 2nd 2010, my sense of forever changed. The part of our marriage vows “until death do us part” happened. A woman’s bad decision changed my concept of forever.
I thought our vows would last until the end of my time, not Mike’s. Just thinking about this and writing it down makes my eyes well up with tears and here comes the tightness in my throat. Why did my forever have to change? It was unfair that I had Mike taken from me and my children. I realized that I am not in control of everything and what I did with that was important.
After I watched my husband’s casket being carried away, I knew my forever ended. I needed to redefine what my forever meant. To me it was about love. I can carry love…that love with me forever. I can hold onto the look in his eyes on our wedding day and the days that followed. Love is something you cannot touch, but you can feel.
It was no longer about rolling over in bed and watching his hair turn even grayer. Yes, at 32 he had several grey hairs. It would no longer be the intimate moments, making coffee before he left for work, talking on the patio about our future and laughing when we imagined our children growing older. It was about the love we had for each other, our children and the memories we shared.
Forever is the desire that I have in my heart to write this blog, my book; to educate people about trauma, about loss and what it feels like to have your marriage ended without having a choice. It’s telling my children when they do something just like their father. It’s fulfilling the promises I made to Mike when he was alive. It is about letting go of my anger, forgiving him for dying and remembering our life together. He still holds a corner of my heart, but has a different place in my life now.
My forever is about facing my new life with courage and living again.