July 6th, 2010


Eleven Years

It feels like forever ago, a whole lifetime ago, but I haven't forgotten.

S. M. L.

This is a strange anniversary for me, being that I am engaged again. Next year at this time I will be married. It is the last time I intend to ever be engaged -- but that was my plan the first time too. Life is what happens when you're making other plans, as they say, and sometimes that realization stops me cold with fear. More than most people, I am acutely aware that just wanting something to last forever isn't enough to make it happen.

It's a little bit bewildering, and I don't entirely know how to feel. Two days ago I was sitting in the bow of a friend's boat, soaking up the sunshine, feeling a cool breeze on my face, watching a beautiful shoreline go by, nestled in the arms of my fiancé, utterly at peace. A thought passed through my mind, "I couldn't possibly be happier." It's true. S is a part of my past, not a part of my current life. But I still want to recognize his memory once a year; he deserves to be remembered.

There is also the lesson I learned as a result of his death, that nothing is certain. It terrifies me sometimes, knowing that all this could be taken away again. Even though I know that the particular thing that took S away won't happen to M, there are still accidents and diseases everywhere waiting to pounce. Life is so fragile, and there are no guarantees.

What can I do with this lesson? I don't know, other than to plow on. Try not to let the fear control or distort my life. Soak up every joy we find together, and hope there will be hundreds, thousands, millions yet to follow. Most days it's easy, because I really and truly am happy. Sometimes though, it still takes everything I have not to be paralyzed by the knowledge that I have no idea how long this will last nor what the future will hold.

But I'm going to keep reaching for that future, and do my best to make it a beautiful one.