There is an unspoken rule about how we are supposed to mark time. The longer the duration, the fewer instances you are allowed to celebrate it. When a relationship is new, it is perfectly acceptable and even charming to celebrate your one-week anniversary. And two weeks. Once you hit a month, however, that’s it. There is no societal acceptance of celebrating five weeks. You have to wait eight weeks and then you are allowed to celebrate two months. After a year, no more celebrating the months. And to a certain degree, after enough time has passed, we are not as tolerant of the one-year anniversary. We start celebrating in increments of five. And then ten. It’s a weird thing, but we’ve all seen it. I mean, just think of the ridiculousness of someone taking to social media to sound the trumpet for a 57-week anniversary.
Today would have been mine and Emily’s five-year wedding anniversary. And, as fate would have it, it is, to the day, the one year and six month anniversary of her passing. There is something very appropriate about those two anniversaries falling on the exact same day; for the rest of my life, today will be about celebrating the love we shared and the loss I feel. Those things will walk hand-in-hand forever.
Today, as I celebrate love and loss, I think about our wedding day. Most of our wedding was pretty non-traditional by today’s standards. Knowing both Emily and me, that was a given. But, like everyone else, we wanted to be sure to have a photographer document the day, knowing that we would want to reflect on it each year when our anniversary rolled around. We enlisted our very talented friend Anja, with one simple instruction: capture candid moments. We didn’t want a lot of posing. That’s not real. We just wanted her to snoop around, spy on people, and steal their soul’s in those authentic glimpses.
She exceeded our expectations, and we have a trove of images of some of our favorite people laughing, crying, smiling, enjoying us, and enjoying each other. It’s not their anniversary, though, so you’re not going to see that today. Today you are going to get my two favorites.
They each have merit on their own. The first is Emily and me stealing a moment together before the wedding. I have no clue what we were talking about, but it’s clear from the little smile on Emily’s face that I was probably saying something stupid. And let’s be honest, if my mouth is open, it’s not as if anything else is coming out of there.
The second is of us during the ceremony. In the moments when I was not saying something stupid, this is how Emily looked at me. And you can’t see from this angle, but her face is a mirror of mine.
I love both of these images separately, but together they tell the story of what I celebrate today. It is the story of two people who, whether alone or surrounded by others, were the center of each other’s attention, living for one another.