Wedding anniversary – 9 years

Tomorrow’s our wedding anniversary. It’s been nine years. NINE YEARS. Nine years is almost ten years – a decade. I don’t even know how this is possible. When we married, I was almost 23, and Mark had just turned 22. We were babies.

It’s difficult for me to look back at our wedding photos (or any of our photos pre-tragedy). I can’t help but feel sorry for the couple in the photos, blind to the horrors that await them. Mark doesn’t admit it, but it’s difficult for him too. The other day, a song from our wedding played over the speakers in our house, and Mark broke down and hugged me on the couch as we both cried hysterically. Although we have a lot to be thankful for, we didn’t expect our lives to look like this – we didn’t expect to bury a child. No one does.

So much has changed in nine years…

I’m up 25 pounds, and Mark was up 45, but now he’s down 30, for a net swing of about 75.

Our ring bearers (Mark’s cousins) now dwarf us, even though the oldest one is only a freshman in high school.

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We’ve weathered job loss and building a home together (a self-inflicted struggle, to be fair).

We’ve said goodbye to two grandmothers and a beloved uncle. This year, a treasured friend of Mark’s family died from injuries she sustained in a fall from a ladder. There might have been even more casualties in nine years – I apologize if I’ve missed mentioning someone.

Almost 18 months ago, we buried our firstborn child, and just over five months ago, we welcomed our second child.

We’ve traveled and built careers and expanded our family. We’ve dreamed, fulfilled dreams, and watched everything come crashing down. Though we’re still very much heartbroken, we’ve worked to rebuild our lives (to the extent possible) and have occasionally dared to dream again.

We’ve grieved together, but sometimes we’ve grieved differently. I’ve begged Mark to be patient with me. He’s begged me to keep hanging on. “As long as I’m alive and Joel’s alive, you have reason to be here,” he often reminds me.

And he’s right.

I don’t remember much from our wedding day, because it’s been NINE YEARS. But I have some random memories… It was an uncharacteristically warm day for December. We had some wardrobe malfunctions – my train was flipped over as I walked down the aisle, and this ruined some of our pictures, and Mark and his groomsmen wore shirts made for bow ties, even though they actually wore regular ties (the tux rental place screwed up). The church where we married had just “updated” it’s flooring with this ugly blue tile that made it look more like an elementary school gym than a church, and it pissed me off so much. None of my bridesmaids wore any underwear whatsoever. Some of our guests brought their foreign exchange students without telling us they planned to do so, and it created stressed out whispers over seating assignments.

Some of my favorite recollections from our wedding involve our music. We hired a string quartet to play the pre-service music including the processional (Canon in D, I think). Mark’s grandpa, an accomplished organist and pianist took over from there. (It sounds like a lot of instruments, and it kind of was, but it was a beautiful service nonetheless. I promise. With the exception of blue tile floor, of course.) I don’t remember every detail without cheating and looking at the program, but our three main songs were The Father Says I Do, I Will Be Here (Steven Curtis Chapman), and The Prayer (most famously sung by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church, or maybe Celine Dion).

Our singers were fabulous. Here’s a link to The Prayer from our wedding in case anyone is bored and wants to listen… (Several of the onlookers turn around when the female singer hits the high note – you think she can’t go higher, and then she does it, and the male singer is great too, though I’m not sure his Italian is spot on, but I give him giant props for his obvious talent with making up some of it on the fly.)

And I can’t help but think about how true the lyrics of I Will Be Here have rung for our lives…

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the sun does not appear
I… I will be here
If in the dark we lose sight of love
Hold my hand and have no fear
‘Cause I… I will be here

I will be here
When you feel like being quiet
When you need to speak your mind
I will listen
And I will be here
When the laughter turns to crying
Through the winning, losing and trying
We’ll be together
‘Cause I will be here

Tomorrow morning if you wake up
And the future is unclear
I… I will be here
As sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for years
So I… I will be here

I will be here
And you can cry on my shoulder
When the mirror tells us we’re older
I will hold you
And I will be here
To watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here, hmmm

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me

And just as sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for years
So I… I will be here
We’ll be together
I will be here

Gawwwwwd, this song makes me cry now…

We aren’t the same people we each married nine years ago. Though Matthew’s death has in no way strengthened our relationship, we’re making it… We’ve tested the outer limits of “for better or for worse,” and despite everything we agree that there’s no one else in this world we’d rather do life with, which is a big deal.

But a few things remain constant – we’re still each other’s biggest cheerleaders, we still make each other laugh, and we continue to be here for each other through everything – quite literally in many of the ways the above song describes.

*****

Last year I posted our love story, which I’ve linked in case anyone is still bored and is curious and hasn’t read it yet. (The other day I accidentally disclosed the part about Mark and Kris Jenner being the same person to some of Mark’s co-workers, but he didn’t care, so it’s all good.)

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And just in case anyone was wondering where Joel gets some of his expressions…
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13 thoughts on “Wedding anniversary – 9 years

  1. Happy anniversary! Congrats on 9 years!

    I can no longer listen to my wedding song. It’s rarely on the radio, but I have it in a playlist. I can’t bring myself to remove it, but I have to skip it every time it comes on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aawww. All the pictures are so cute, especially the last one. ❤
    A very Happy Anniversary Christine. 🙂 Love is all about this – living all the ups together, and seeing all the things crashing down together too.
    And now I am going to read your love story. 😉

    Like

  3. Happy Anniveraey Christine & Mark! We’re a December wedding couple too 🙂 It’s amazing how songs we once loved have taken on a much deeper meaning now. And I agree about looking at the pictures. It’s so hard to see the blissfully unaware old us, the smiles that were once untainted by grief. I’m glad you and Mark have each other to keep pushing through. Keep teaching Joel to make those awesome faces.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy Anniversary! We were married on December 6th, love a winter wedding! I was 10 weeks pregnant with Isobel on our wedding day so I find those deliriously happy pictures so emotional to look at too! I’m so so glad we didn’t know what was to come.

    I hope Joel had a lovely first Christmas and Santa was good x

    Like

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