On May 16, 1981, I woke up with a great sense of excitement and a little bit of apprehension. It was cloudy and rainy, but I did not let that dampen my anticipation of the day. In some ways it seemed like I had waited a lifetime for this day, but in others it seemed wonderfully new.
As I showered and dressed, I realized that my whole life was about to change. No longer would my decisions impact only me, they would impact us. No longer would I be able to take off and go somewhere without a thought for telling someone where I was going. No longer would I eat toaster pastries for supper and consider that a meal.
A little voice inside my head said, “Are you sure you want to do this?” No. Wait. That was my Dad as we stood at the beginning of the aisle to take a trip that was going to define the rest of my life. He grinned as I nodded yes, and we made the trip down the aisle to my future.
Now as I look back on that day so long ago and think if I had known what the future would hold, I may have run from the church screaming. The ups and downs of marriage, the challenges of having three under the age of 5, the addition of a 4th at the age of 39, the financial challenges, the health challenges; all of it was occasionally overwhelming. But I would do it all over again in a heartbeat because of a shared faith, a husband who never thought twice about my taking a weekend off for a women’s retreat, a father who never thought he was “babysitting” his kids, and a man of integrity who loved his children and grandchildren with his whole heart.
Today, we would have been married for 38 years. We only made it to 28 when he passed away unexpectedly. On days like today I recall my wedding vows made “till death parts us” and realize that had I known the loss I would experience one day, I may have hesitated just a bit coming down that aisle. But I would have completed the journey anyway because even knowing the heartache of losing him, I also had the joy of loving him.
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19 (Inscribed on the inside of my husband’s wedding band.)