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July 24, 2013

14 Years And Counting

Fourteen years ago, Craig and I said, "I do," and began this life together. We had big dreams -- of financial security, trips to take, fall Sundays filled with football and friends and family, KU basketball games. I remember our first year together...we spent a lot of time watching T.V. in the evenings while I did cross-stitch. Craig still worked the weekends at the comedy club doing improv, sometimes I still waited tables while he did. We could sleep in on Saturdays and go have dinner and beers on Monday nights while we played trivia.

That's the thing about young married love -- it's limitless in all the good you can imagine.

A couple of weeks ago, Father spoke in his homily about what it's like starting out as a priest (he was celebrating 20 years as a priest that weekend) and all the good things to look forward to -- marriages, baptisms, daily Mass -- but he mentioned that he has grown the most through being there for people through their suffering -- death, grief, heavy crosses to bear. He likened the fact that he could never have imagined what it would be like to walk through the hard parts of life with people when he was a newly ordained priest because he hadn't been there before. Then he likened it also to what it must be like for newly married couples who set their sights on the "better" and the "in health" and the "richer" and don't realize just what they signed on for with the "or worse" and the "in sickness" and the "poorer" until some more sorrowful things happen during their marriage.

I'll be honest. Before this last year, my marriage to Craig seemed to be mostly "for better" and "in health." Marriage was, for us, pretty much what we looked forward to on that day fourteen years ago. Yes, during marriage prep, we heard all the counseling and advice that marriage can be hard work. But like many young couples, we just didn't know how that could be. We loved each other and knew we would support each other through anything, not really understanding what kind of difficulties could lie ahead of us. And for most of our marriage, we haven't suffered what we'd consider any stifling negatives.

Experiencing the loss of a child is indescribable. And it's the only thing that Craig and I have experienced together that no one else can completely understand. Fourteen years ago, as I married Craig, I never dreamed we would bury a child. 

It's not been lost on me that a loss like that could put some serious strain on our marriage. But, the flip side of that is that it could make our marriage even stronger than it was before. Especially if we take the opportunities presented to support each other, to hold each other, to continue on in this life together and grieve our son together. 

I wouldn't have wanted to go through the loss of a child ever in a million years. But if I had to experience such a profound loss, I'm glad I had Craig there to carry me through it. I believe that he has been the strength that has moved the healing to the point where we have gotten. He held me and cried with me for days after we lost Gregory. He deflects things and people that could upset me. He listens. He's been supportive of my need and action for grief counseling. He's put up with my lack of attentiveness to the house. He's supported me as I have gotten active and begun running again. He lets me cry, even though it's been over four months since we said goodbye to Gregory.

So, this year, I toast you, my Love. While I wouldn't want to relive some parts of this year, I couldn't imagine going through it all with anyone but you.

Craig and me on Father's Day 2013

I am linking to Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary and posting every day this week! Click HERE to see who else took the challenge!

UPDATE: How could I not share the link love with my NFP and Me buddy? It is Katie’s Anniversary today, too. We are Anniversary buddies! Go say hi and tell her Happy Anniversary, too!


Thank you for reading. I enjoy reading other perspectives, please feel free to share yours. :)