I couldn't believe it today. I woke ready to face my next milestone date - our 12th wedding anniversary. I came down to a ready-made programmed cup of Starbucks in the coffee pot, sat down at the computer while the kids were still asleep ready to read some comments from yesterday's post. Then I saw it. Look at the blogroll on the right side of my screen. Do you see it?
On a day when I ache to celebrate our love together - our triumphs, our struggles, our perseverance and our devotion through it all, I struggle to live our motto - KEEP BELIEVING.
Then I see that so many I have never even met are mourning with me. They are celebrating with us. They are sending me their love and thoughts and prayers and links. This whole blog world that has introduced me to a new kind of friendship - one that has been very one sided for the last 6 months - continues to amaze and humble me.
And I can find the strength to KEEP BELIEVING.
Here is last year's post I wrote on our anniversary. It made you cry. So few times I saw you break down and lose it. This post made you fall into a heap in my arms declaring your love for me and how lucky you felt to be my spouse. I still think I got the better end of the lucky stick. Even now. Even without you here. :
Brian,11 years ago today, I donned my princess wedding dress in great anticipation of becoming Mrs. Brian O’Neill. 11 years ago today, I stood in front of hundreds of people and God and declared my life-long love and commitment to you, and you to me. 11 years ago today, I became the luckiest woman alive.
One month later, we would find out you had brain cancer. The next 3 years, while we were still newlyweds, would bring us despair, surgeries, chemotherapy, insurance battles, abstinence from sex so we could bank sperm for a possible future family, uncertainty, and turmoil. The next year would bring more chemo, a move, a job change, more uncertainty. The next few years would bring infertility, adoptions, another job change and move.
We would spend our 10 year anniversary in a romantic little restaurant in San Francisco with your brothers by our sides sharing our eclectic dinners because you would be going in for major surgery the next day to remove part of your brain tumor, yet again. This time, we would be warned of the risks of paralysis and speech deficits, just to name a few. Your brothers shared our anniversary because, well, everyone wanted to share that night with you not knowing what tomorrow would bring. The next year would bring more heartache, more struggles and more chemotherapy. We would live our lives from test result to test result, dreading what may come next. We would find ourselves here, fighting every day for balance between normal and battling cancer.
There is no perfect balance.
If someone would have told me on our wedding day what would evolve over the next 11 years in our lives in detail and asked me if I would marry you anyway, my answer would be a resounding, ABSOLUTELY.
You see, if I had all the knowledge of what I just detailed, I would also have known that we would be blessed because of each other. I would have known that I would get the shot-gun seat to your spiritual growth. I would have known that because of you, I would become a better person. I would have known that our trials, while surreal and sometimes horrific, would shape our character by the way we choose to adhere to our bond, believe in an all-knowing God, and respond to the trials. I would have known that we would have a beautiful family of 4, just not in a traditional way. I would have known that you would bring me joy and happiness and love and strength - emotions so raw, pure, and true that they hurt. I would have known that as I watch you in anguish fight for your life every day living in fear of becoming a family without you, you would be the one giving me the strength to know we would be okay. You would be the one consoling me. You would be the one continuing to lift me up telling me, “You can do it, baby. You got mad skills. You got it going on. You are beautiful. You are better than you give yourself credit. I believe in you.” I would have known that every life you touch has a new piece of happiness they didn’t even know was missing – the laughter you bring, the sarcasm, the witticisms, the thoughts you provoke, the insight you provide.
I would know all that and I would want it all again.
I love you with a indescribable passion,
Your ever-adoring wife, Angie
I miss you, Brian. I love you.