One Last Anniversary

Seventeen years ago, on September 26, 1998, standing on a St. Augustine lawn at The King and Prince Resort, two people agreed to love, honor, and cherish each other til death do them part. It was out of a fairy tale, if you had a fairy tale with leftover tropical storm winds, fresh and soggy sod down the aisle, and humidity that made the cake (that was inside) start melting and toppling over.

Lighthouse Wedding

The night was beautiful. Planned around football schedules, everyone who was able to attend did. We even had a few wedding crashers! My dad’s band played as long as the hotel would let them and the next morning, from the “round room” we watched the sun rise over the ocean as Mr. and Mrs. Anthoine. It was perfection.

Over the years, life happened. Loss happened. Life kept happening, good and bad.

Laughter filled rooms that were later filled with tears.

Events were celebrated in high style and others were marked simply with grace and honor.

Life changed us. For better and for worse.

We lost our way, and in it, our passion for one another.

Today marks our last anniversary.

September 26, 2015.

We’re technically still married, though divorce papers are filed and waiting for a FINAL stamp that will replace “til death do us part” with “til the judge says we’re no longer married.”

We stood before God and everybody seventeen years ago and took vows we thought we would never break. In fact, we sat in the “oh shit” room in a hospital and swore we would never “be a statistic.” But here we are. Now we have new vows to carry us through the future.

We vow to love each other in the way only parents who share the loss of a child can.

We vow to respect each other in the way only parents who have the same hopes and dreams for their son can.

We vow to co-parent with grace and dignity and promise to never speak ill of the other in front of Henry.

We vow to help each other in a time of need.

We vow to find happiness that was lost between us. It’s out there for both of us to find.

We vow to remember the 6210 days between our wedding day and today as they were, not with regret.

We vow to love, honor, and cherish Henry and the memory of Charlie til death do us part.

Happy seventeenth anniversary, Jason! Here’s to whatever’s next for both of us!

Apart. Part 2.

A few months ago, I wrote about Jason and I deciding to separate. It wasn’t an easy decision or one that was come to quickly. Much thought was put into it and much care was taken to do it the best way possible for both of us and especially for Henry. It has worked very nicely.

The boys took a vacation. Henry and I spent lots of time together. We all three did a few things together. Pretty sure we even laughed, cried, and got a little pissed off at some point.

But after a summer living apart, we’ve decided we like “us” this way. Apart. So apart we will stay.

(yes, you can read into that that we’re getting a divorce)

I can say with 100% certainty, being apart has brought us closer. Not closer as husband and wife, but closer as friends. And more importantly, closer as parents of Henry.

So here’s where we choose to go — our separate ways, which aren’t really separate at all. We will always be connected and always hold a certain love for one another.

There are things that no other person in this world could ever share with us that we have shared together. Only the two of us will ever be able to share the moment when we were told our Charlie would die. Only the two of us will ever be able to share Henry’s first cries and first broken arm and first days of school. Only the two of us will be able to share all our professional ups and downs of the last 17 years, our health ups and downs, and even our emotional ups and downs.

September 26 will be 17 years since we said “I do” on the St. Augustine lawn at The King and Prince in St. Simons. I’m not sure if we will still be married then or if it will all be final, but for the rest of my years, I’ll remember the feel of that grass under my feet as a 22-year-old Jana married the man she loved.

He will always be special. Always be part of me. Always be loved.

But now we both get to go and find our new happy, new life, and hopefully even new love.

Wish us all luck!

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