‘Parker, when I first met you, I knew that you would be a good friend, but I never dreamed that we would be standing here together 7 years later. I know that I’m the lucky one in all of this because I get to spend the rest of my life with you. You, who have become my very best friend and the one person that I know I can always trust in. You, my little Packard freak, that I’m so proud of.
I have never felt the way that I do today, a mixture of hope, excitement, love and happiness. Today is really about making new memories and reminiscing in the old. You are my future, my heart and my life and I have never been happier than I am at this moment right now. I love you and know that this is an amazing new beginning for both of us. I’m so lucky to have found my one true love.’
‘Sheryl, who ever thought that when I met you 8 years ago that we would be standing here today. You are the most generous, loving, caring, unselfish person I know. I promise to love you, respect you, laugh with you and cry with you. You are my best friend, my better half and from this day on we spend the rest of our lives together making memories of us.’
-Our Wedding Vows
Ten years ago Parker and I made promises to one another and shared our love with our friends and our family. We vowed to always be there for one another. We promised to love one another.
One of the last songs we played at our wedding was ‘Better Life’ by Keith Urban. When you get married you have these preconceived notions about how your life is going to be. Hell, as a child, I dreamed about this. Everything is always so perfect in your visions for the future. Sure you talk about ‘sickness and health’ and ‘better or worse,’ but on your wedding day you only expect positive things to happen in your future.
I never expected my future title to be ‘grieving mom’ when I wrote those words and made those promises. No parent does. I never expected the last 3 years of my marriage to be filled with PTSD, counseling and grief.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would have to call Parker sobbing uncontrollably and tell him to get home right away, that something horrible had happened. I didn’t expect that we would say good-bye to our little blue eyed angel just as his life was getting started.
We were numb for so long. Both of us just absolutely terriffied, looking to each other to make it better. Both suffering with PTSD, flashbacks and nightmares. Clinging to one another trying to figure it all out.
Parker would cry in the morning and I would cry at night. It worked for us for awhile. He wanted to be surrounded by Benny’s stuff while I needed it shut away, with a few minor exceptions. No two people grieve the same way.
With a ton of love and support, we survived that first year. Then the second. Then the birth of our second son.
Now it’s getting tough again as Fletcher creeps ever closer to eighteen months. How did time pass so quickly? How are we here again? How come he looks so damn much like his brother?
We are struggling. Parker handles things very differently that I’m comfortable with. We’re working on it. I guess that’s all we can do. That and hold our breath until we cross that eighteen month threshold. That’s marriage though, working through the tough times.
I read these vows now and I’m trying to remember those two people that wrote them. They had so much hope for this amazing life together filled with happiness. I miss them. I miss their innocence. More days are happy than not, but there are just some days that are tough. When just existing feels hard.
On September 1st, we celebrate 10 years as a married couple. I had no idea what the future held when we made those promises all those years ago. I don’t know what tomorrow brings for us and our family. I do know that I love that man more today than when I wrote those words. I’m lucky to still call him my best friend.