I never know how to feel on June 8th. There are some things for which there are no rules, guidelines, or instructions. This year’s June 8th would have been my 21st wedding anniversary. Is it nostalgia, sadness, disappointment? Does it serve as a reminder of my biggest life failure? My largest regret?
The answer is none of these.
My parents are in the process of selling their home. As a result, they went old-school and held a garage sale. I dutifully went down to my basement to see if there was anything to purge. My brother and I sorted through some boxes. I found framed pictures of me and my former spouse – no doubt a task left undone in a moment when I got stuck years prior on what to do with them.
One of my favorite pictures was in the largest frame – a picture from the June 8th I got married. I love this photo of my new husband and me exiting the church having just exchanged our vows. He raised his arm up and waved with a big smile on his face while I gathered my gown to walk down the steps. We were surrounded by the people we loved most as they rang tiny bells in celebration.
I told my brother with sadness shading my voice how this was one of my favorite photos and I didn’t know what to do with it. I was stuck once again and set the photo down and moved on with our task. A few days later when I next saw my brother, he handed me the photo out of the frame and neatly cut in half. I was taken by surprise. The photo was ruined! Or was it?
The truth is the photo isn’t about the smile my husband had on his face that day, it is about the moment that inspires the memories. With or without my husband in the picture, the happy memories remain.
I remember my dad surprising me moments before I walked down the aisle in his military “mess dress” that he had spent months shedding pounds to don once again.
I remember the thoughtful and loving poem my sister wrote and gave to me on my wedding day
I see my mom’s exuberant delight in the bottom left of the photo and recall how we got married at 6:30 p.m. with the upswing of the clock hands – a tradition passed down from her mom.
21 years ago I had one of the best days of my life – for better or worse. And I promise to cherish this photo and the memories for all the days of my life.