Holding On to What Could Have Been

Since one year after 1991, April 6th has been the anniversary of my wedding. Ever since 2010, after my husband committed suicide, that date has been the hardest date for me. That surprised me. I would understand if it had been his birthday, the date of his death or even a major holiday, but our anniversary would not be what I expected.

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I really grieved over that day. I had always hoped we’d celebrate our 25th and 50th anniversaries together. I wanted us to watch our boys grow up and, as they started their lives, we could take that proverbial walk into the sunset together. But even though I knew that would probably never have been our reality, I still longed for it.

Our life together had become pretty rough, especially the last year he was alive, and I honestly didn’t even know if we would make it. My husband was increasingly unhappy. He wore an almost irritated expression most of the time when he was with us, however, nothing was ever said specifically to explain his mood and we continued on in our day-to-day of marriage.

So, holding on to wonderful memories and knowing that there were so many more to have that would never be was not realistic. That would be living in a delusional world. Don’t get me wrong; we had some really good times in all the years we knew each other and in our marriage. However, so much was changing before he died that these memories weren’t at the forefront and there was so much to work through after he died.

Keeping this in mind, then, why was this day hurting more than any other? I just didn’t really understand because of all the hurt and confusion I was enduring. But, thankfully, it became clear this year. While there were some great times and some good memories, I realized that what I was really grieving was all that could have been had he decided to take a different direction in his life or had he decided to take a stand and allow God to lead him into His freedom and the life He had planned for my husband. I grieved for the boy I had met, had been my best friend and the one I’d fallen in love with and taken as my husband. I grieved the hope I had had so many times that our life would become centered together on God and all our life could have been.

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After understanding that I was holding onto what could have and should have been, I realized that I was missing out on so much I have and all that still can be. My life and my future didn’t die with my husband. Instead, I was given a new life with new dreams, hopes and opportunities that probably wouldn’t have been possible before. I know God wanted so much for my husband and me, but He also knew the choice my husband would make and He allowed Him to carry it through to the end, but His dreams for me still shine bright.

Today, on what would have been our 24th wedding anniversary, I decided I needed to make new memories to fill April 6th from this year forward and to also carry this knowledge into every other day of my life. I still have times where I struggle to get past all that has happened and I’m on a journey to figure out who I am, but I feel like a ray of light has cut into the darkness of this day pointing into the days to come.

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