Jeff and I were together for ten years but he died just two and a half years after we were married.
We didn't do a whole funeral thing, mainly because Jeff would have hated that, I was against having a viewing and because he was cremated his remains would not have been ready in time to do the interment. We decided to do a celebration of life in my parents backyard.
But I distinctly remember the feeling I had before the celebration of life officially started. People started arriving and I had a panic attack and had to go sit in the back bedroom and hide. When the speaking finally started I was walked to my seat.
I found it so familiar to our wedding.
Neither Jeff nor I wanted a big wedding, we just weren't those kind of people but it was so important to our families so we had a compromise, we had a small, destination wedding that his mom planned. I literally had no hand in practically the entire wedding planning. The only thing I chose was my wedding dress. Everything else was chosen and paid for by Jeff's parents and my parents. But I still had him to rely on and to commiserate with because even though we weren't really planning the wedding, we knew there were certain things we didn't want to do, so we fought to keep it as simple as possible.
For his celebration of life, his parents and I planned it together. For the most part we were all on the same page but there were a few things that I fought for. Of course I wanted it to be simple because that's what Jeff would have wanted. We told all the men to either wear a sports team jersey, especially a Charger's jersey or his softball team's jersey.
But this time, I didn't have him to commiserate with, I didn't have him to be nervous with. The feeling before the wedding was worth it because we would be together after. The feeling before his celebration of life was terrible because at the end, I still wouldn't have him after. Waiting for his celebration of life to start was so similar, yet I knew it was so different than our wedding just two years before, specifically waiting in a room while everybody was waiting for me to walk down an aisle.
But walking down the aisle for our wedding, I didn't worry about everybody looking at me because he was waiting at the end for me. I knew that he was just as nervous as I was with all of the attention on us.
Walking down the aisle to take my seat at his celebration of life, he wasn't there waiting for me at the end. We wouldn't walk back up the aisle hand in hand, knowing it was all over and the pressure was off and we had each other to lean on.
It's devastating remembering like it was just yesterday how happy we were on our wedding day when it was finally all over, all of the nervousness and annoying things we had to do just to be married ended up being worth it in the end, because we had each other.
Yet when the celebration of life was all over, I didn't have him. I was all alone, so all the stress, nervousness and annoying things I had to do to celebrate his time here on Earth was just over, with no happy ending. No Jeff at the end to commiserate with, to lean on, to love.
Weddings and funerals, I never thought I would think they had anything in common until cancer took my husband. Another reason why I hate cancer for making me a widow.