New Years Eve. The last day of the last year we had together. Tomorrow I will look forward, but today is not a day for that.
This year, we fulfilled our wedding vows, every last one of them, every clause.
Her last words to me, the day before she died, were “Hello, Love”. That’s how she greeted me most mornings, still half-asleep. How can you beat that?
We all acknowledge our mortality when we make those vows, whether it’s “till death do us part”, or “as long as we both shall live”, or whatever other variation. This is where we’re supposed to finish, just not this soon. We spend years, or if we’re lucky, decades, looking past that piece of knowledge, just loving each other every day and not thinking about the last bit, because the every-single-day part of the promise is what actually matters the most.
If we get here, if one of us is left alone, there is something important we can hang onto: we completely fulfilled the vows we took together. Our marriage did not end, our vows were not dissolved. We just finished far, far sooner than we wanted to. It’s an accomplishment, however bittersweet. One last wonderful, terrible thing you get to be proud of your spouse for. The first, last, and overarching thing you did together.
In a world where far too many things are considered disposable, you proved love can last a lifetime, however long or short.
So now, with all vows fulfilled, all obligations fully discharged, our journey together complete, I stand on the brink of a new year and wonder what’s next. The year I dread, the first year without her in it anywhere. Out of reflex I ask her “where now, my love?”.
The only answer is silence.