Tomorrow, ten years ago, I vowed my life, my love, my best and worst, my all... To the man I knew I would love until I died. I married the man who agreed that divorce was never an option. We discussed how we wished we would never have to live without the other and how it would be a blessing to live full lives together, seeing our grandchildren grow, and dying alongside one another in our 90s.
Tomorrow is our ten year wedding anniversary.
Not "would have been" our anniversary.
You see, even though our marriage died this year, that date- August 5 still lives on. The demise of our marital union doesn't negate that it existed and our wedded lives began on this date ten years ago.
I didn't understand that concept until this year.
Now, I cannot say we've been married for 10 years. We were only married for nine. So I'm not celebrating 10 years of marriage. But I am cherishing the fact that I was able to experience the love of fairytales (even if it may have been false, I still do not know and often wonder), that I was chosen as a wife, that I found someone to give my heart to and love fiercely, deeply, and unconditionally.
And I mourn the loss. I may cry over the devastation I feel over watching nine years of marriage crumble away and for the loss of what would have been another year.
August 5 was the day I dreamed and waited my whole young life for.
August 5 is now the day that could make my throat constrict, bile surge in my stomach, and tears burn tracks down my face.
I can honestly say that while I know I am better off now, not constricted and delusioned in an unhealthy marriage, the passing of this day for the first time as a divorced woman hurts the heart.
He promised me forever. He severed the promise and crushed my heart, but in the process, he made me much stronger, more courageous, more grounded, and allowed me to deepen my faith and stance on my stronghold than I ever thought possible. In a weird way, it's all been a heart-wrenching blessing.
I look back on the day with a heart full of joy, knowing that I was truly, deeply, full of love and overjoyed that he had chosen me to be his companion. I took time to look at our wedding photos, and I didn't cry. I smiled at the happiness beaming from my face, from his face, from the faces of our loved ones. I remembered the excitement that overcame me as I went to his ring on his finger and tried to force it on the wrong hand. I remember the anticipation of forever together, and the incomparable blessing I felt at becoming his wife.
I don't cry over that day. I may cry over the crushing loss of it all.
But then, my tears will subside as I look at myself today. I'm more level-headed than I think I ever have been. I'm part easy-going, but part stubborn, balancing when to let the punches roll and when to put up a fight. The heart that was shattered is mending, and somehow, instead of smaller, it's bigger and capable of even more love than ever before. Even on my darkest days, there's always a glimmer of hope, and two years ago, I am not certain that was completely true. I know what it is to have the ground ripped from beneath me and my breath siphoned away, but I also know what it feels like to overcome, to really stand tall, firm, and strong.
The 9 years of marriage transitioned from bliss to a bit of a nightmare, but with each passing year, I was given so much. I was blessed with memories of love, and I was shown who I really am as a woman of God, in times of great strife. My former husband, even in his continued absence, has given me so much.
As much as it hurts to see this day come and go, I'm so thankful it ever existed. In the pain, there's joy, and in the sadness, there's peace. It's a heartache and a blessing. The depth of meaning behind this ten year anniversary is so great, I am not sure I am able to fully discover and embrace it yet. I guess that's something to look forward to in the anniversaries to come.