May we always be one

Wedding Anniversary

Today is our wedding anniversary. Our 12th one. The second one that I have to be without you by my side.

May 27 – we chose that day purposefully. That day marks the true beginning of our together-life. The day when we arrived from the U.S. in Germany together. 2004. Alex and Sabine greeted us at the airport with a red rose each for both of us. A sign of welcoming love. A year later we got married – or as the Germans term it life partnered.

May 27, 2005. It was a gorgeous day. The sun shining down on us. The hottest day of the year. 30 degrees Celsius (almost 90 degrees F). And here we were, sweating. I in a velvet dark blue dress, you in a satin blue shirt and black pants, both of us wearing matching capes. Magical outfits. Befitting our magical day.

In the morning, we had our legal ceremony in the historic town hall of Pfungstadt-Eschollbruecken. The Standesbeamtin (town official) read every part of the ceremony in German and English. We hadn’t known she would do this; she didn’t have to, but she did so that you would be able to understand everything.

In the evening, our personal ceremony followed, officiated by a pagan priestess in the ruin of Burg (castle) Frankenstein under the green umbrella of a hundreds-of-years old oak. Our guests had gathered in a circle, celtic music was filling the air as we slowly walked hand-in-hand through the gate into the courtyard. I remember how you wanted to walk more quickly because everyone was waiting for us – and I slowed you down, whispered to you, ‘This is our moment. Let us take it in fully.’ And so we did.

The ceremony was beautiful: our vows, an oath on the sword, our boys lighting the candles of our guests, every guest stepping forward and gifting us a wish, magical wedding bread, salt, and wine…

We had each written our own vows but the last verse we shared:

“With you I want to grow old. On my honor, I vow to be open, honest, faithful, and ever caring. I will respect you, cherish you, comfort you, protect you, and always love you. May we always be one.”

Our vows don’t include the traditional, ”til death do us part.’ No. We promised to stay on the same path always and forever.

In 2015, we renewed our vows. Little did we know that May 27, 2015 – our 10-year anniversary – would be the last anniversary that we would celebrate together. It was a special one. We had our 10-year re-commitment ceremony. This time in our backyard, guests in a circle – different ones than before – wishing us well. Again, it was beautiful. Magical. And we were still as much in love as ten years before.

I still try to make this day special. Magical. Have a new ritual.

On our porch I create our memorial table: a photo of us from the very beginning of our relationship, a wedding photo, a photo of us from 2015, our wedding photo album and the one from our honeymoon/family trip to Rhodos/Greece..our wedding candle, the Buddha statue that I gave you for your birthday with the bands that bound our hands during our re-commitment ceremony…our two-heart-shaped rocks that we found on the beach in Provincetown…the rubber duckie and the wolf from your memorial table…and a bouquet of flowers picked from our garden. I played music from my ‘Wen-Love’ playlist all day long. Looked at the photos in our albums.

This time I asked the boys to get ice-cream in the afternoon from the Sugarshack – your favorite. We got a small cup for you. Doesn’t matter if you can’t actually eat it. Then we had our anniversary meal – shrimp sauteed in garlic butter with lots of sweet Vidalia onions and crunchy garlic baguette hot from the oven. That’s what you prepared for me the first evening when I came to Richmond to help you move to Germany. Ever since that time this was our special ‘our meal.’

I also asked the boys to bring helium-filled balloons. Purple, orange, blue, red, and green. The kids’ balloons flew high, high up into the sky…We tied my orange and your purple balloon together and I still can’t believe they got stuck in our oak tree – the last tree left on our property. Typical! Are you trying to tell me that you are not leaving me? That you will always stay here with me?

Now I’m sitting here, writing this blog. Thinking of you, of us, and all that we had, and all that we lost.

But one thing I know – WE WILL ALWAYS BE ONE.

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