You know that part in every wedding when the preacher is having the bride and the groom repeat after him and they say, “‘Til death do us part?” Four times, they say that. Twice when the officiant is leading and once each from the bride and groom. Four times.
I’ve been to four weddings in the last year. That’s 16 times I’ve heard those words.
I’m not gonna lie, it hits different hearing those words when the one you said them to is no longer living. Actually, at our wedding we said, “until we are separated by death,” but it’s the same idea.
My brother’s wedding was hard because it was the first big family event on my side that he wasn’t here for. At that point, I still thought of myself as married.
The couples dance where the DJ asks all the married folks to come to the floor, then dismisses them by how long they’ve been married? Those were hard. We were just shy of twenty years when Vance had his heart attack. I really, really wanted to be dancing much longer than that.
Then a few weeks ago our niece got married. It was the first major family event on his side since his death. Thanks to the pandemic, it was a very intimate affair. I think that made the Vance shaped hole even bigger.
The words, “Until death do us part,” hit different that time, too. They hit harder.
Death has parted us. We’re not married anymore.
Can I tell you that just writing that makes me cry? Big, ugly, 1:30 in the morning, alone on my bed tears.
I quit wearing my ring sometime over the last couple weeks. I took his off, too, and the VBS bracelet and the thumbprint necklace. I think I just needed a break from the constant reminders. A week later I put his ring back on. I think I still need to carry a part of him with me.
For our niece’s wedding, I put my ring on a chain along with his thumbprint and wore them under my dress. It was a little way to bring him with me, I guess.
I am at a place where I’m recognizing that this is my life now. Vance isn’t coming home.
Death has parted us.
****To be clear, this isn’t a statement of my singleness in the way of announcing I’m ready to move forward with someone else. I’m not there yet. Please don’t try sliding into my DMs like the creepy guys who stalk widows groups. (But that’s a post for a different day.)