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Until death do us part...

Today is 24 November 2019. My late husband, Brian and I would be celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary today, if he were still alive. He would have brought home (or pre-arranged to have mailed if he were deployed) either a bouquet of birds of paradise, a nod to the first bouquet of flowers he ever sent to me when we began dating at the age of 20, or an equally beautiful bouquet of yellow roses, my other favorite flower. We would have promised to not buy each other gifts, and then both completely ignored that promise and secretly gone overboard with things we knew would make each other smile, always including a date to do something adventurous together. We more than likely would have stayed the night at Turtle Bay up on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii – a resort we spent all of our special days together during our years visiting the island, and a place we created many memories together as a couple and as a family. We would have laughed and kissed and held hands, talking about how lucky we were to have found each other, and then found each other again after all of our years apart and how we were meant to be together. How the love we shared was unreal and unrivaled. We would have reminisced about our wedding day and how perfect it was, how in our vows we promised to be each others partners-in-crime and to love each other until death do us part.


I wasn’t sure if I would write about this today or not, but it’s on my mind and in my heart and I want to share it with you. I’ve been watching the calendar dates pass by as this day drew closer, unsure of how I would feel to look at it and realize it’s here.


Six years ago we stood on the beach of Manzanita, Oregon, unable to go a minute longer without being each others husband and wife. We were all smiles. Holding hands, laughing and sneaking kisses to each other during the entire 10 minute ceremony while six of our family and friends stood next to us. It was complete bliss. I was marrying the man of my dreams in our favorite place on the planet and to this day, that has been the happiest moment of my entire life.


We lived the happiest and best years of our lives together, building businesses and a family together, accomplishing life goals and traveling the world. We packed a lifetime of memories into the 4.5 years we were married until we saw our vows through and death did part us.


Despite the sadness I feel in knowing I won’t get another anniversary with him, I won’t see the smile on his face as he brings home another bouquet of birds of paradise, that at some point in the near future, the years he’s been gone will be longer than the years we had together, I’m so unbelievably lucky. I married the coolest guy in the world in the coolest spot on the planet and the memories, family and life we managed to make together during those years together will be something I take with me to my own grave. I feel nothing but grateful for the time we had together, the lessons he taught me in love and life, on what’s important, with what love should look like and feel like, how to take chances and most importantly, the value in living a life with no bucket list.


“I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with you. And then I realized you spent the rest of your life with me. And I smile because I know you loved me until the day you went away.”




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Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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