Another First…Our Anniversary

Yesterday was mine and Kramer’s 33rd wedding anniversary.  I write this with such crazily mixed emotions.

A blog reader, Lucia, recently wrote:
Just a small reminder that you do know: Death can end this life, but not a relationship.”

Those words of wisdom were running deep for me yesterday.  How hard it was to celebrate an anniversary when the one you share it with isn’t here…will never really be here again, yet he’s here.  That’s where the mix of emotions comes in.

I believe Lucia’s words…Our relationship hasn’t ended.  I’m still completely and totally in love with him.

I didn’t know if I was brave enough to try to find a few photos of us…but I did.  Here’s the wedding party with us on our wedding day.

Does that not scream “1980’s Wedding”????

It was quite the day.  It was oppressively HOT.  There was no air condition in the church.  Given the chance, we likely wouldn’t have picked the day but I was three month pregnant, the minister was available, and we were as ready as we were going to get.  I was 20.  He was 24.

When asked about our wedding day Kramer would always tell the story that the zipper in his trousers broke and wouldn’t stay up.  My mom had to safety pin the zipper in place.  It just so happened that there wasn’t time so she had to do it while the pants were still on him.  In his words, “That’s when you know your soon to be mother in law likes you.  Here I knocked up her daughter and she didn’t jab me with a pin.”

Here’s another wedding picture.

We were so young!!

Here we are 31 years later at the fireman’s breakfast….

..and here we are on March 17th of this year with the kids and grands.

It’s one of my favorite informal pictures.  Whos knew all those years ago, that life would bring us five great kids and five grandkids.  We had a great run together.

Kalissa was really sweet…Earlier in the week she asked me how I felt about it all.  She asked if I wanted to be taken out to eat and celebrate, or just be left alone.  I so appreciate her sentiment and letting me decided how I wanted to pass the day.  I ended up telling her that I just wanted it to be another day.  Going out and celebrating didn’t seem right.  Maybe someday it will but not now.

Earlier in the week Kelli brought me flowers….See??Ditch flowers..

I’ll admit…this made me all teary eyed too.  Kramer always brought me ditch flowers.  They are my favorite.  SERIOUS.

So..this last week was a harder week.  I’ve found grieving kind of goes that way for me…with some weeks and times being easier…others harder.  I think that’s pretty normal.

At the Celebration of Life someone said to me that they were so sorry I only had 32 years with Kramer.  Someone from the outside looking it would think that.  I really don’t.  I’m still with Kramer.  I’ll be with Kramer for forever.  But more importantly, I had 32 GOOD years with Kramer.  I’ll take 32 good years over 50 bad ones with someone that wasn’t kind to me…considerate of me…devoted to me.

Kramer knew a lady that lived where he grew up.  She was a gem…someone I aspire to be like.  She lost her husband young and finished raising the kids on her own.  If you asked her how many years she had been married.  She would say something like this:
I’ve been married 42 years…my husband was here with me on earth for 21 or them.
I see me being the exact same way.  I’ll always be married to Kramer.

Some people say “you’ll get through it”.  That kind of makes it seem like there is somewhere on the other side that I need to get to…that someday it (grieving) will be over.  I’ve done this with my mom…I’ve done this with my dad.  I don’t think “I’m over” their deaths…I think how I grieve has changed.  I don’t cry as often.  I think of more happy memories than sad.  I foresee that with grieving Kramer.

That’s where I am this week…kind of scattered…happy yet sad, thankful, but disappointed I didn’t get more years.  The good news is that even though it’s hard, I’m still mostly thankful.  I can see that although this isn’t easy, I can figure it out.

23 thoughts on “Another First…Our Anniversary”

  1. Unfortunately the first year is FULL of firsts without – first anniversary, Bday, Easter, Christmas, etc. doesn’t get easier after that just a little different.

  2. Mary Ann Mettler

    What a wonderful perspective. We all need to find our way and each one finds it in a different way. Hope you can get together as a family like you have in the past, didn’t you say that was in July in another post – That is a tradition worth keeping.

  3. I guess that old saying is true- better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. How lucky you are to have had those blessed 32 years

  4. “The pain now is part of the joy then”. C.S. Lewis….

    I have never totally gotten over losing my parents either…..How painful to lose a husband you were soulmates with..

  5. Judith Fairchild

    Yep good days bad days ups and downs. 1st’s way to many times. So glad you can make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed you. Loved the wedding pictures. More timeless than ’80’s like the song says remember when. Keeping you always in my prayers, as I have walked this road a long time.

  6. Ellen Bencken

    You are legally married to him forever, be he by your side physically or spiritually.

    Having buried my parents and several other family members, I agree. There is no “other side” to get to. I do believe we get used to the physical absence but it will never be OK with me.

    So great that your kids ask you what you want. Your talk with them shortly after Kramer’s burial was soundly heard. You know how to care for Jo :-)

    God Bless You as you live each day with your grief as well as with the joys of daily life.

  7. Love your ditch flowers, I also was a pregnant 19 year old bride with pastel rainbow brides maids in the 80’s.

  8. Oh Jo, it’s a journey for sure. Sometimes you feel sad and it’s not expected and other days seem normal, at least you get by with out crying. I look back on my 32 years of marriage as lucky, not that I didn’t want more, but blessed to have those years together. Many people don’t get that. Hugs to you!

  9. My husband died after just 7 years together. He’s been gone for 3 years now and our anniversary is always the hardest day for me, grief wise. Not his birthday, or the day he died, etc. I think it’s because our anniversary is the only day that was just about us and what made our marriage special. It’s a very lonely feeling being the only surviving member of your marriage. Other holidays I was used to celebrating without him since, as a chef, he was usually working them anyway. Our anniversary was in the off season so we always made time to do something special for it. This year with it being our 10th anniversary was especially hard. He had big plans for our tenth and we didn’t have a chance to do them. You will find your “grief rhythm” as the years go on, I agree you will never really be “through” or “over it.” Certain times and seasons will be easier than others. For me, grief is more like a wavelength… sometimes it crests and is really intense and other times it is in a lull, never off my mind but in the background and easier to carry. It’s easier for me to predict when those times will be now that it’s been a couple years. Lots of love and hugs sent your way.

  10. Y’all look so young, and very 1980s. Such a blessing to have had such a good marriage and the family it brought you both. I can tell you’ve raised thoughtful kids, to bring you the kind of flowers they knew you would love from Kramer. Hang in there, an easier day is around the corner.

  11. Susan the Farm Quilter

    “I can see that although this isn’t easy, I can figure it out.” Rather reminds me of the quilting book you got that you have fallen in love with back in the day…it seemed as though it had patterns you couldn’t make, but now they are doable. Day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second…you are walking this new road with your kids, grandkids, IRL friends, blog friends and God. Know that someone somewhere is praying for you at any given moment and God is always with you.

  12. Oh Jo, this particular blog could have been written by me! There is so much of what I feel in it. My first anniversary without my husband will be coming up on 9/11 and ours would have been 32 years. I so agree with your sentiments and feelings so I just take one day at a time. Your family have helped you so much, they are so understanding of you. Your strength keeps you going too. You sometimes amaze me how you have dealt with the ups and down at the same time as dealing with child care. They seem to have helped you through some of the sadder times. Take care.

  13. Donna Pheneger

    You have a wonderful outlook on your life with Kramer. And I love the stories you tell. The story of the pins slays me! I sat here and laughed.
    I know this is weird but when I think of those in my family who have passed, I think of something that Kermit the Frog said in A Muppet Christmas Carol “It’s all right, children. Life is made up of meetings and partings. That is the way of it. I am sure that we shall never forget Tiny Tim, or this first parting that there was among us.” Like I said – weird – I know. But it’s true.
    Love and prayers

  14. Lori Sparks Douglas

    Wasn’t that a great day! We were so young. I remember Roger wiping sweat from his forehead with a red farmer’s hanky, the hayride, and what was done to your vehicle! Love the comment about your mom. It made me laugh and it is such a Roger comment . The start is so sweet but the journey is what life is really about! So hugs from afar my friend. You are one lucky gal to find the catch of your life!

  15. Oh Jo, my husband has (so far) survived his cancer, but I can certainly relate to a lot of what you wrote. We will have our 39th anniversary this year on Nov. 1. I, too, was pregnant the day we married. It has been a long life with him, full of ups and downs. I’ve been through the death of my mom and my dad, too, and I feel like my grieving will be “my own” pattern if his cancer is what takes him someday. I love your ditch flowers also, they are the best! Love and prayers as you continue this journey. You inspire me.

  16. Katherine Gourley

    You were a beautiful bride and such a beautiful person now. I have tears in my eyes for the physical loss but applaud your spiritual connection. I have had my hubby for nearly 49 years and can only imagine your grief. I still miss my mom (in heaven 19 years) and my Granny (in heaven 41 years) and so often wish we could talk.

    I also need to say that I love ditch flowers — God provides them and there was no fussy cultivation. They bring me joy and were my Granny’s too.

    You definitely had an 80’s Wedding with the pastel rainbow of brides maids.

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