Jana, I meant what I said. I told you that I would love you, care for you, and be by your side through sickness and in health. I meant it…
So many times, this last year, I have sat on this couch, with the tablet in my lap, crying as I typed. Today is no different. Just knowing what my topic was, today, brought me to tears. It’s good to share and let it out. Thank you, kind reader, for hearing me.
Today would have been 22 years of marriage. We went a couple weeks past 21, and those years were wonderful. Not without trouble or difficulty, but I travelled the ground with my best friend. Jana was my friend, my lover, my confidant, and my wife.
We had so much in common. Daily life was a joy. Over the years we grew to know each other so intimately…she felt like a part of me. I realized that so clearly the day she died. I couldn’t even function. Half of me was gone.
Hot summer day, corn in the nearby field, beautiful service, short reception…then we were off in a purple Saturn covered with corn stalks as decoration. We stopped a few blocks away, I cleaned the car off and we continued toward St. Louis. There, we checked in and flew out to Cancun the next day. We were married.
Starting something brand new. Learning who we were, not as singles anymore, but who we were as one. The love story continued, undimmed for years to come. We had our times of “storming,” albeit rarely, and our times of intense conversations. We wanted to know each other better.
I placed a cot next to her hospital bed. There was not a lot of room, but I pushed it as close as I could, and we tried to get as close to “eye to eye” as we could with her in her bed. We would lay there, not knowing what the future held, and look at each other. Words were not always necessary in those moments. I could read her. We looked into each other’s face and knew the fear, faith, scary possibilities, and love that existed.
At night her room was quiet and darkened. The perfect time to share some tears, words of loving encouragement, or thoughts of faith. God, is this where our years end? Will we see another anniversary? I couldn’t help but wonder… Nothing the doctor said, at that time, gave me much hope that we would be together next summer. This cold, sterile thought sat in my mind. It was immovable.
We enjoyed our anniversaries. Sometimes we did things special and spent a little money, other times we just made time for ourselves, spending next to nothing. Other times, we used it as a good excuse to buy something for ourselves that we were wanting! She was so good at remembering gifts, who gave them, and what occasion they were for. I should have given her more gifts.
This is good to share. Again, thank you for hearing me. I miss Jana. She was such a wonderful person. I loved her very much. She will always be a part of me. I will take the things I have learned from her and our time into future relationships. I see her in my girls. I think of her daily. I have good thoughts now. I enjoy my memories of her.
Today, I will mark 22 years. Jana is, in many ways, still here to celebrate with me.