(Pictures from September 4th, 2010)
8 years ago Tim and I wed in a ceremony overlooking the green mountains of Vermont. At our sides and around us were a collection of dear friends and family, each of whom ended playing a vital role in Tim’s hospitalization, death, and my recovery in the aftermath. Matt called 911 the night of the heart attack, and sat by my side through the night at the hospital. Kelli was the first to arrive at the Emergency room. Dave was my confidant in the hospital. Liz drove through the night to be with him on his last day. Sam drove me out of Brooklyn the day after his death, then flew to Madison to help me pack away our life as we had known it. Amanda met with me two mornings after to help me process when my shock left me detached and dissociative. Hannah was with me after my move back to Vermont, with cider and lemon cakes and companionship. Our family and friends surrounded me and our children with constant love and support. The people there on that beautiful day were the people there on the worst days, and for that, for community, I am eternally grateful.
On our wedding day, two storm systems collided and evaporated in the night, leaving blue skies and only a gentle shower to wish us luck. Our families and friends held stones gathered from rivers in New Jersey and Vermont, and blessed them with love and positive intention for our union. We danced to Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” and ate the maple cake I had baked from scratch. The event space was filled with flowers grown, collected, and arranged by loved ones. Banners created by a selected few displayed words of intention for our marriage. Love, Community, Honor, Hope, Joy, Friendship, Kindness, Growth. Every detail of our wedding day reflected the beauty, connection, and love we were to bring into our marriage.
I have been struck lately by how fortunate I was to have the marriage I had with Tim. We did not have a perfect connection all the time. We both had strong personalities and wildly different backgrounds that sometimes caused disconnection and hardship in our partnership. But we worked hard to work together, to be together. We chose each other every day because we wanted to be with one another. Our friendship, our mutual respect, the ways in which we pushed one another to be better people, to pursue our passions, to live a life we wanted, that was special. We had a bond that not everyone, married or not, gets to experience. I met a soul mate at 21 and shared 12 years of adventure, growth, and joy with him. I’m lucky.
I often wonder how our relationship and marriage would have evolved over time. What would we look like today? 20 years from now? Where would we be and what would we be doing? Would we still be happy? When Tim died, it had been growing stronger for years. We were in a great place. In some ways, it makes the pain worse, to have lost that joy, that momentum. In other ways it makes it easier. He left on a high. We had not yet peaked, but we were doing well in every way. He died deeply and unconditionally loved.
I wonder if love will ever come my way again. A different kind of love, likely, if it happens. Regardless, I’m certain I will die loved. Whenever that happens. By the people who stood next to and before us on that glorious day. By the people who have come into our/my life since. I no longer have the love of companionship and partnership. I no longer have that incredible man. But I still have my people.
And people matter.