Today is my 10th wedding anniversary and the day when I celebrate the life of my grandmother who sadly passed away on Monday morning. It is comforting that my Grandma was with me as I began my new life as Mrs. Cline on the same date that I now celebrate her life a decade later. My grandmothers life was lived with fierce independence and energy. I looked at her, widowed in her 50’s and took hope and faith in the life she created after my Papa passed away. I too could live a life of honor and enthusiasm and I am blessed that she showed me that lesson. It is one I will have forever and a way that she lives on in me.
Wesley and I talked at length about our 10 year anniversary and how we would celebrate. It was the first real milestone we would come to in our marriage and we imagined it not so far in the distance that we could not feel it just beyond our sight. Wesley died before we reached that date but I still feel as married today as I was a little more than a year ago. He is not with me in the flesh, but he is with me in my heart and spirit. We had agreed that since on our wedding day I had for the most part everything the way I wanted, that for our 10 year anniversary we would have a party. A festive reception that could bring together once more the friends and family who were there on April 24, 2004, and incorporate new friends made in the subsequent decade. Friends from law school, friends from new jobs, new babies born to those we love and Wesley could have it all his way. A caricature of his face from his days as a journalist in college on the cake? Sure. A buffet of his favorite foods? Absolutely. It would be a true and heartfelt celebration of our union. And finally Wesley would get something that had had wanted for a decade.
When we got married Wesley and I disagreed on our formal china pattern; I wanted Lenox Solitaire, he wanted Lenox Fruits of Life. Ultimately, as in most disagreements, I got my way but our secret pact was that for our 10 year anniversary he could finally get the china he wanted. Now most men would not give a damn about that type of thing, but Wesley took enormous pride and care with our home and that included making a home as a couple with OUR things. I agreed that for our 10th anniversary he would have his wish, he would get HIS china. Traditionally the 10th anniversary gift is tin, but we were never one to stick to the rules.
So I have decided each year on our anniversary to buy a piece of the Fruits of Life china pattern. In Julia’s words, as a way “to remember of daddy” This first year I bought a Christmas ornament to put on our tree, to talk with Julia about why I have this precious ivory sphere with beautiful apples and grapes adorning it. Because it was what her Daddy wanted and never lived long enough to have. Ultimately I would like her to have a complete set like we undoubtably would have had if Wesley had lived. It is a legacy and a way of keeping Wesley present for her and for me.
I have felt loss too deeply in the past year, too many people that I love have passed away and it seems my tears will never stop flowing. I feel like a giantess Alice in Wonderland after partaking of the cake bearing the words “Eat me.” I feel my tears will wash me away as they pool at my ankles.
Last night I sat in my uncles house surrounded by family to come together and celebrate my grandmother. I like to think Wesley and my grandmother were with us, drinks in hand, laughing along with us. A decade ago I sat around a kitchen table to talk and laugh on my last night as Katherine Colombo. In what feels like a blink of an eye the little boys who were there at my wedding are now grown men and we have added spouses, children and friends to our life. Today I face my anniversary without Wesley, but not alone. I’m surrounded by love for those seen and unseen and my heart is filled.