Thursday, August 24, 2017

Happy anniversary to me

All photos by Sara Tro
So, last night in honor of my upcoming five-year wedding anniversary I watched a bunch of old videos of me and my ex, drank some tequila, and cried myself to sleep.

Because not only would August 25th be my five-year anniversary, it is also the one-year anniversary of the day I asked for a divorce.

Somehow, without planning it, I ended up asking for a divorce on our anniversary- a moment that's burned into my brain for the relative lack of drama with which it occurred and all the drama it unleashed soon thereafter.

Weddings small and big

We actually had two weddings. The first was on August 25th, at my mom's house in California. That was our legal wedding. On September 1st, we had a wedding and reception in Seattle.

It wasn't supposed to be that way. There was only supposed to be one wedding - in Seattle - and my mom was supposed to be there. When we'd announced our engagement 7 months earlier, in February 2012, my mom had been thrilled.

She loved my ex. She had lung cancer. She liked the idea of me finally tying the knot.

So she offered to pay, and we immediately set about planning the wedding together. We picked the venue, the caterer, quibbled over the invitations. Then her health took a dramatic turn for the worse and she couldn't help me anymore. But the wedding planning kept me afloat as I watched her go downhill, the cancer creeping into her brain.

I wondered, many times, selfishly, if I would have to cancel the wedding. Couldn't she live long enough for me to have my big day? It turns out she did.

But by late August of 2012, she wasn't well enough to travel. She wasn't going to get to enjoy the beautiful venue that I'd found (with her help), a rowing club on Lake Union.

And so we had a very small ceremony at her house, with a rabbi. It was beautiful in its own way. I'm not even sure my mom fully understood what was going on by that point. But I think she knew it was a momentous and happy occasion. She seemed happy, anyway.

We were too. Nervous but happy. Hopeful. And so were my sister and brother in law, the only other ones there.

The wedding in September was beautiful too. Everything I ever dreamed a wedding should be. A handsome husband, a gorgeous locale, many smiling friends. Champagne. Karaoke.

A dream.

The only thing missing was my mom.

A month and a half after the wedding, she died.

The divorce years

And things went downhill after that, as they have a way of doing. Two years later, my sister and her husband of 12 years had split up. Two years after that, it was us.

I'd like to say that I'm glad that  my mom doesn't know.

But I think she actually does. Because she came to me once in a dream, six months before my ex and I split up, to reassure me that everything was going to be OK.

She didn't say anything. She just smiled. A lot.

That's how I knew something big and scary was coming. And that I was going to survive it.

How well I'm surviving depends on the day. Last night, as I watched old videos of us from seven or eight  years ago, I felt like a jealous interloper spying on my old life. (Because of course all old videos are happy. Who ever videos the screaming fights? The throwing of the Xbox controller ? The tears?)

Look how happy we were sitting on the couch with our old pug, Snuffy. Playing guitar, singing songs together, not doing much of anything.

Look at how he looks at me. So lovingly.

Look how pretty and happy I look.

Look how you can see the lights of Seattle in my old condo.

I miss that condo.

I miss Snuffy.

I miss my mom.

I miss...