Today is the 20th anniversary of the day Russell and I were married. It’s not that it would have been our anniversary. Whether he is with me physically or not, it IS our 20th anniversary. It is a day to remember the commitment we made to one another to live a life of love, light and hope. It is a day to tell stories and be the same person I would have been if Russell was still here in this world with me. It is a day to look at pictures, listen to music, and smile about what a magical day our wedding was. It is a day to honor our love in the best ways I can in this time, in this moment. By stepping forward with new intentions for my life I honor the love Russell and I shared.
“I want to honor the love, not the pain and not the suffering.” Oh yes, I have no doubt that I will still have darker days but I seek at this time, in this moment to honor the love, hope and joy of why we chose to be together. That’s where my healing is, in honoring the love. I don’t want to focus my intentions or my energy on the muddled days, on the messy feeling days, on the heavy days. I want to focus my energy and my sharings on the love I continue to feel.
Russell and I saw ourselves as individuals and as a couple as Wisdom Seekers. We very much saw life as a constant quest for more knowledge – of ourselves, of others, of the universe, of the great mystery of life. This is part of what drew us together. It’s also one of the strongest threads that could keep us engaged with one another even in our harder times. We always had a sense that there is much more to this life than what we can see and touch. Both of us love conversations with people that are real, seeking conversations.
Other common loves that drew us together and kept us together:
*Love of debating – Russell loved this one more than me but it was definitely a common thread between us.
*Love of community – one of my first memories is of Russell speaking in our first shared theology class about his need and love of community. I been an organizer of groups and a builder of community since my late teen years. This common thread between us was one of the strongest and most sought after.
*Love of helping others
*Love of reggae and salsa music – we spent much of our early years dancing. Bob Marley’s “Is it love?” was our first dance at our wedding reception. Dancing at weddings was always a wonderful treat. Every time I dance at NIA now I think of him and smile.
*Love surprising others
*Love the outside
*Love reading – we had vastly different tastes in our reading choices but it is something we both loved to do. Sitting in a coffee shop, each reading our own current favorite, was often something we would do on our anniversary.
*Love of the beach – this is the second strongest, early memory I have of Russell. As we left our first class we had together and walked outside, Russell took off his flip flops. Kind of stunned all of us around him, not in a bad way, just in a what’s happening way. He announced to the group “I have a beach spirituality and I need to have my feet on the ground as much as possible.” We then had a brief conversation about Florida, the state he was from and my heart state, and I was most definitely intrigued by this person. The rest is history.
*Love of family – some of our absolutely favorite times were spent being with our families. Playing cards, lots of conversations, good food, silliness, going out, and so much more. Just being with family is essential for us both.
Louis Hay and David Kessler write in their book You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Peace After a Breakup, Divorce, or Death, “Healing from loss isn’t like getting a cold and a week later, you’re better. Healing takes time, but we can teach people to say that they’re looking forward to peace. The grief before the peace is extremely important because it is an authentic expression of your feelings as you build a new foundation, a stronger one.”
Russell was as unique a person as they come. He always strove to be true to himself and his convictions no matter what. Truth and the seeking of truth was one of his highest priorities. Speaking and living my truth has become a daily intention for me.
I honor him, I honor US, by building my new foundation in light, love, hope and peace. I honor our love and our early dreams by speaking my truth. I honor our love, and not just the pain of this time, in focusing on the ways that he continues to be present in my life everyday. I honor our love as I focus on my healing not just my grieving. I honor our love every time I focus on my self-care and our kids care, tapping out of stuff that isn’t good for us. I honor our love when I attempt to see the good in every single moment of my day. I honor our love when I cave up to recoup and re-energize. I honor our love in my dancing, my playing, my laughing, my finding joy in my life. I honor our love in allowing myself to feel happy without feeling guilty. I honor our love in the ways that I love and support our children on their own, unique paths. I honor our love when I honestly share my pain so that it doesn’t fester and eat me up inside. I honor our love as I change patterns of thinking that no longer serve me to new ones that do.
Every time that I choose to focus on peace, love, light, joy and gratitude I honor our love. In this time, in this moment, in every time, in every moment, I honor our love. Happy anniversary Russell. Today I will laugh, and love, and be silly, and drink a beer in honor of our love. Today I celebrate US!