Disclaimer: This story contains mentions of grief and loss which may be triggering to some.
“I vowed to love you, to honor you, until death do us part. Turns out, I lied.
It was the coldest day out of that unseasonably warm November. The frost lent a natural glisten to the day’s décor. The trees hung on to their last flecks of color, but thankfully, the sun seemed to follow us that day. Its light bathed the altar and its warmth settled comfortably around us. I listened as you calmly promised forever, in sickness and in health, for better or worse. You finished and, lost in the moment, I forgot my turn was next. Laughing, I squeezed your hand and quickly swore to honor you and love you all the days of your life. Until death do us part. But it seems as though that wasn’t exactly the truth.
You see, I have a slight problem with the phrasing here. To me, the word until implies, ‘I’ll fulfill these vows; I’ll love you up until death, but that’s where it all ends.’ That could not be further from the truth. In our new reality, it has become abundantly clear death ends a life. It doesn’t end a relationship. Far from it.
It doesn’t end the excitement I feel to tell him about a good day or the funny thing Vienna did. It doesn’t end the ache in my chest when I can’t hear him over something I know would make him laugh. It doesn’t change the way his hand fit in mine (okay, mine fit in his) or the way my hand lays outstretched, reaching to remember. It doesn’t change how proud I am of the person he became and the father he is to Vienna. It doesn’t change our arguments, our obstacles, or our triumphs. Death changed our future physically, but emotionally it’s exactly the same. Well, exactly the same with a heaping helping of grief that is. Death didn’t make me love him differently or less, in fact, it may make me love him even just a little bit more. Death certainly does not end a relationship. Not if you don’t want it to.
So today, on our wedding anniversary, I got to thinking… If I could go back to that exact moment we stood there facing our future, I’d make a few edits, add my own spin just a bit. I’d vow to honor you, not just for all the days of your life, but for every second left of mine. I’d promise to love you not just until death did us part but to love you endlessly, every day, until the day death brings us together again.
Happy Anniversary Joe Abate. I love you forever and three kisses after that.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Meghan Abate. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read Meghan’s backstory here:
‘We have your husband.’ A pit formed in my stomach. Looking back, my heart hadn’t really begun to break yet.’: Widow shares ‘the pits and peaks of grief’ after losing husband
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