I knew today was coming. I’d probably looked at it on the calendar a half a dozen times, but somehow in the overall randomness of the day, I let it slip. My third wedding anniversary.
It really is hard to wrap my head around the fact that, in November, Kristen will have been gone for three years, we were only together for two. But the amount of life, both good and bad, that were packed into those years were more than some relationships endure in a lifetime. She watched me go through five minutes of CPR when I flatlined in the emergency room, and I watched her struggles with addiction.
Sometimes I fear that my tattoo of her handwriting has boiled her down into some sort of inspirational symbol she may not actually have been completely comfortable with. Kristen wasn’t an angel, she wouldn’t want to be remembered that way. She was a complicated woman with an electric smile, a sailor’s mouth and a devastating allergy to drugs and alcohol. More than anything she had the ability to see through and accept the flaws of others, probably in no small part because of the lifelong battle she had with her own. Her gracious attitude gave me the courage to face my life in a way I couldn’t before she came around.
Whenever I look at this picture of the two of us listening to our friend Joe as he walked us through our vows, the words “in sickness and in health” come to mind. In that moment, we felt the gravity of those words in a way few couples seldom do on their wedding day, because we had already lived them. It was three years ago that she and I snuck away to say those five words to each other on the precipice of a cliff on the Washington coast. Regardless of how it ended, it remains one of the best moments of my life.
Happy anniversary, babe. Thanks for helping me become the man you could always see I would be.