Sunday, November 10, 2013

Being Divorced on My Wedding Anniversary: Remembering My Wedding Day

Autumn in the New York City area is glorious. From the brilliant colors of the leaves to the return of sweaters, it’s an exciting time of year, filled with new beginnings and old traditions.

What Autumn Meant to Us

Max loves autumn. It reminds him of his glory days running cross country. He also loves football, the smell of crisp fall air, and knowing that Thanksgiving was just around the corner. 

Me? I liked autumn just fine but I also associated it with loss. In late 2003, my sister Katherine's then 29-year-old husband was diagnosed with lymphoma I was 24 years old when I witnessed fighting proof of my sister’s profound love for and commitment to her husband. She was just 28 years old and advocating and researching and caregiving with the tenacity of a spouse with decades of marriage behind her. 

Despite their fiercest efforts, my brother-in-law died in his home on October 17, 2004. I was forever changed by the love and grief I witnessed, particularly during that month. That "in sickness and in health" stuff was no joke.

Fast forward to 2008 when I joyfully accepted Max’s marriage proposal. We started wedding venue shopping and ended up looking for autumn wedding dates. October 17, 2009, was available but I declined for October 24, 2009.

Maybe now, I had thought, beautiful October could have new joy for me and my family.

Kat the Bride, being escorted into the church by my dad
and the umbrella carrier.
On October 24, 2009, Max and I said our vows on a rainy, dreary day. It didn’t matter. We were both deliriously happy. My wedding day will probably always be one of the happiest days if my life.

Almost exactly three years later, I filed for divorce. I was so emotionally overwhelmed that the terrible timing with our anniversary hardly registered with me.

But this year, free of living with Max and lawyers and paperwork and uncertainty, my anniversary hung over me like a threatening cloud. The question was whether the cloud would quietly pass or violently storm. I was awash in sad memories of my brother-in-law’s final days, the happy memories of my wedding, and the horrible truth that fierce love and dedication saved neither my brother-in-law nor my marriage.

Allow me to share the details of my wedding anniversary when I was no longer married.

October 24, 2013 and I'm Not Married Anymore

What would have been my fourth anniversary fell on a Thursday. I decided the best thing was to take the day off from work for a Me Day. I lined up a perfect day. 

I woke up to a brilliant blue sky, so already the day was different from October 24, 2009. I started Me Day with a bagel and The Golden Girls, two guaranteed Kat pleasers. Then I took a Spinning class. After getting nice and sweaty, I headed to a day spa for a facial. 

Fresh faced, I ate Mexican food for lunch while reading People. As I nearly gagged over Kate Middleton's post-baby body, I glanced at my watch. Four years ago at this time, photographers were capturing the primping process at my parents' house.

Today it was just me and my burrito.

I texted Max. I told him I was thinking about him and asked how he was. His response:
I am thinking about you too.
I was going to email you later but I’ll just tell you now that I love you
 and I hope today isn’t too tough for you.

Tears spilled on to my burrito.

I texted back that I loved him too, and that I have no regrets. He agreed.

And that is all we said to each other that day. Hardly as monumental as wedding vows, but those couple of texts made such a difference for me. I still felt sad and missed Max, but I felt... peaceful. (That doesn't feel like the right word, but close enough.)

That evening, I met Yoshi at the pub where we had my divorce party. We had a few beers and a few laughs, and then we called it a night. Later that night, I was able to rest peacefully alone in my massive bed in my one-bedroom apartment. I’d come a long way since last October 24, and I know I’ll be even stronger next October 24. 

In time, the beauty of autumn will feel hopeful to me again.


How did you handle your anniversary after your breakup or divorce? Did you ignore it or did you recognize it?

Super Sunday Sync

15 comments:

  1. I'm sure that first non-anniversary is hard. I've been in the tears on my burrito moment before too. I love how respectful of each other you and your ex seem to be.

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  2. I'm thankful that if I had to go through divorce, at least we didn't have to hate each other.

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  3. I didn't speak to my ex on what would have been our 8 year wedding anniversary. In fact I was out looking at and applying to the apartment in which I now live. I didn't talk to him at all. We're mere acquaintances now. I'd be more inclined to celebrate my divorce than my previous marriage.

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  4. I really don't know what to say but thank you for sharing.

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  5. Andrea{TheUglyTruthMom}November 11, 2013 at 8:13 AM

    Mine never bothered me. We didn't celebrate our last wedding anniversary together, and our first apart didn't affect me enough to even remember!

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  6. It is my first visit to your blog and I can't tell you all I want to in a two line comment.
    What strength, what love and loss and what an inner core you have. Those are my first impressions, that you are undeniably good and present in your own life.

    some marriages, relationships, partnerships are just not made to stand the test of time, but I believe that this space of yours is beautiful and inspiring.

    I hope it's okay if I become a follower.

    thank you for sharing this with us..all of it. I feel lucky to read it.

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  7. I'm so touched by your kind words. Thank you so much! And I'd love to have you follow my story and share your experiences as well.

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  8. Mine is actually today, I'm doing well but remembering where I was six years ago today makes me sad.

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  9. Girl, I hear you. I hope you're doing OK and you took time for yourself today.

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  10. Went a did a mani/pedi with my girlfriend so wasnt too bad

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  11. The Jenny EvolutionNovember 19, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Quite a moving and unexpected post. Thanks so much for sharing with the Friday Flash Blog on The Jenny Evolution.

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  12. Your post is very touching. Going through a divorce is a tough one. I'm really happy that you've found your inner peace after. Cheers to more happiness. :)

    Rochelle Wagner @ SherrillCameron.com

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  13. I still get a little emotional on my wedding anniversary, even though I've been divorced for 5 years now. It reminds me of the good times and it's a hard pill to swallow. It sounds like you are definitely handling it well and I'm happy to read your post! Thanks so much for linking up with us on Throwback Thursday Tell-All Linky Party!

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  14. Thanks Natasha! My wedding anniversary just past, and I actually did fine this year. :)

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