I’m sure that if you have been following along with my 25 for 25 posts, you may have noticed that I veered away from the stories of our marriage and moved more toward a ‘lessons learned’ aspect. That was kind of on purpose. The beginning years of our marriage were rough, but there was a lot of good that was brought into our marriage through those rough years. And as I said back in 7 of 25, those years were just preparing us for the heavy seas we would be set upon in our teen years…
Or as I like to call them:
The Dark Years
Somewhere around our 12th year of marriage, we had the shifting winds of life start to blow a storm in our direction. It started with the death of my wife’s grandmother. Now, at 90 plus years of age, that was something to be expected and she wasn’t the first grandparent to pass, as a matter of fact, she was the last. But in my mind, her death marks the beginning. Two years later, my step-father passed away suddenly in his sleep. He had been sick with something totally unrelated, so his passing just came out of nowhere. A year later, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and then, a year later, my younger brother was also (that puts us in 2006, if you are keeping track).
Six months after his diagnosis, he passed at the age of 31. I’ve written about his before, so if you’re interested. A month later, my youngest cousin was killed in a car accident at the age of 30. And the storm picked up strength. My mom left us in January of 2008, then wife’s mother in 2009, my wife’s best friend a month or two later.
There are others in between, and I don’t mean to leave them out, but the last few were her father, who lived with us the last year and a half of his life, her uncle a month later, and my uncle earlier this year. All in all, in the space of 11 years, we lost about 20 or so family and friends ranging from an 18 to 75 (honestly, I stopped counting when we passed 12 and I really don’t care to put the mental energy into figuring it out).
We both got weary, and life nailed us pretty hard during that time frame. Even though there are many stories in there that I can pick out and share, doing so without having to re-live some of those dark moments isn’t as easy as you might think, because those moments are like baked in chocolate chips in the cookie batter.
And personally, I’m pretty frayed when it comes to this topic… so I tend to avoid it with a wide berth.
In the end, we weathered that storm, partly because in the beginning, during those turbulent years of our marriage, we had to figure out how to rely on each other in order to stay married, and the other part because we decided to stay married in the beginning, in other words, we dug our heels in, held on, and were too stupid to let go (one of the few times that I will admit stupidity has its advantages).
Not every marriage (nor life) has so many trials and tribulations, and yet, there are others that make ours look like a Sunday stroll through a park. In the end, whether you make it or not to 25 years has less to do with the circumstances that you go through and more to do with whether you allow those circumstances to push you together or pull you apart.
I think I said that already in a previous entry, but it’s totally worth repeating.
And if you have ever wondered why my writing is so dark sometimes... this time frame probably has a lot to do with it.