I’m just gonna preface this with my Wedding Anniversary was actually yesterday, I’ve been horrible at planning things lately, and at 10:08 in the morning… I’m still in the same comfy clothes as last night because I fell asleep on the couch! (I like to think of it as me being efficient… this way I don’t have to get undressed just to put them back on for a Sunday morning!) Long story short… well, abbreviated… this is what I did.
When I woke up, I really had no plan. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to spend the day. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to honor the date. I didn’t know how I wanted to remember the happiest day of my life in a time where the crap in life seems to overshadow and push down those good memories. I was hoping to wake up and be flooded with all the wonderful images of friends, family, and Kateri on our wedding day… but for now I guess these types of dates are just gonna remind me of how wonderful things were… of the unexplainable joy that filled my life. They remind me of what we had… what I had in my life… and what life did to my sweet sweet Kateri.
I had thought about hitting George’s in Gloucester and maybe spreading some of Kateri’s ashes in the ocean. Or maybe spending a night in Lake Placid where Kateri and I would spend a weekend if we needed outta Dodge. Once, we kinda just wanted to get out for a weekend… but also needed to do laundry! Kateri simply found a hotel with laundry services… we loaded up our dirty clothes… and spent the evening getting room service while waltzing down the hall every so often to switch it over, throw in another load, and spend another small fortune because we were doing laundry in a hotel! Oh well… it was fun… and that’s not what I did yesterday.
We got married at a place called Camp Common Ground in Vermont. It’s not toooo far away from where I live and for some reason I thought it would be nice just to go back, walk around, and remember what it was like on September 28, 2011. It was early enough that I also thought I could cruise up there and be back in time to chill at home for a bit, too! So I headed out.
It was a beautiful drive… cloudy… cool. I took the dirt roads for the first bit and just got in the right frame of mind. When I hit Montpelier I thought, “I should probably eat breakfast…?!” and then Penny Cluse in Burlington instantly came to mind… because I love it there. As I got a little further down the road, another thought popped into my head that put a smile on my face… we cooked a majority of the food for our wedding in the Penny Cluse kitchen!… how fitting that I would be eating there!… today! It’s that whole attachment to experiences thing that I seem to keep trying to do, but it worked for this! So I got to Burlington, ate my Mama Cruz’s Huevos Rancheros, caught up with a couple of people, gave and got a hug from Charles, and moved on to the next phase of the journey.
It was nice driving south from B-Town. I hadn’t driven that route for quite a while and it was interesting to see the changes… the growth. It was while I was taking in all this change that another thought popped into my head. I realized that I was going to Camp Common Ground because of the memories and experience of getting married there. Well, yesterday was a Saturday… and even though we got married on a Wednesday, most people get married on Saturdays… so the thought was, “I wonder if there is gonna be a wedding going on when I pull up?!”… there was. At least, that’s what I’m assuming… because there were people milling about as if they were getting ready for a wedding!
I had prepared myself for that possibility and thought about what my reaction would be. I even thought about just sliding in and start milling about myself!… Who would know I’m not with the wedding?! But instead, I just flipped a bitch before anyone could ask me how I knew the bride and groom… or bride and bride… or groom and groom… and started the journey back home. I would have loved to have stood in the spot where Kateri and I committed our lives to each other in front of our loved ones… beneath those two majestic trees holding court over the open field we had made into our church… but I couldn’t. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I knew I had inserted any of my experience into “The Happiest Day of my Life!” experience for these strangers… for these two people who were about to embark on their own journey filled with their own ups and downs. A wedding should be pure joy. Yes, “Till Death” is sometimes inserted into the ceremony, but on your wedding day… at least on mine… it is nothing but love. It’s a celebration. It’s a time to focus on all the reasons we want to spend the rest of our lives with someone. It’s about “The Good” in life. It’s one of those days in life that you just push all the crap aside and fill the time with music, laughter, conversation, life, and love. And I don’t think there are many days like that in our lives (except for maybe the birth of a child) so I wasn’t about to be “The Ruiner” for these people!… who didn’t happen to think about my needs when they were planning their wedding!
Since plans were sorta foiled, I started the journey home with stopping by a friend’s house in the area. They weren’t home so I decided to take the scenic route home (it’s Vermont… it’s all scenic) and go over the Appalachian Gap. Luke and I would drive it every day when we worked in the Mad River Valley and the view from the top is wonderfully convenient.
Widower Notes n Thoughts:
- It… fucking… hurts… today. (September 28th)
- It doesn’t hurt as much today! (September 29th)
- The memory of Kateri telling me, “I don’t want to die.” one day in the schoolhouse and her saying, “I love you.”… in that weak, soft but scratchy voice while in palliative care four days before she died… the last time we would say it to each other… was almost debilitating as I was driving up to Burlington.
- The memory of Kateri shouting, “Just let her go!” as we would crest a hill while driving our 5 Different Shades of Orange ’72 Super Beetle through the Green Mountains of Vermont on a Sunday afternoon… well… that put a smile on my face.
5 thoughts on “Widower Day… well, yesterday was my Wedding Anniversary.”
It sounds like you are doing what feels right when it feels right. That includes the tears, the fears, and the smiles that come with the memories. You are brave in sharing your true feelings that change as your memories arise.
Darren, the ” firsts” are so very hard. You are very courageous to face them head on. Pain sucks.
Long familiar drives can sometimes take us to unanticipated destinations, Darren. I understand the mix of the sweetest and the most difficult memories. You are finding the way to a new normal which is not always easy. I am so thankful you are feeling everything and not shutting out the memories. Hang in there, my friend.
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Thanks Maggie! And I don’t think said congrats on 365 days..?! Sooo, Congrats!!
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Thank you, Darren.
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