My Aunt Kathy just celebrated her 30th wedding anniversary.
This is a significant event for anyone, but particularly significant for my aunt and “bonus” uncle, Monty, because my aunt had some doubts about the marriage before it even started.
You see, my aunt was a 30-something year old widow at the time, raising a small child. Monty was significantly older with grown children and even grandchildren.
Aunt Kathy entered our family Years before by marrying my mother’s brother. He was also significantly older and when he passed, my aunt felt all those feelings of deep grief, the sleepless nights, the despair.
We’ve survived the worst event of our lives, why would we want to put ourselves through that again? It’s the timeless question. Is love worth the price we ultimately pay in heartache?
For those of us who have been through the loss of our beloveds and get to the point of thinking of our future, we know that fear.
When she was finally able to face her future and started dating, she made a list of things she was looking for in a man. She was looking for someone closer to her age when she found Monty.
My aunt told me that was her only hesitation.
Monty stepped into the family, partnering with my aunt to finish raising my youngest cousin and becoming “dad” and “grandad” to both of her girls and grandchildren. He accepted my mother as part of his family and helped her a great deal when she was still alive. In the process, I also got a bonus uncle.
“I told him to give me 20 years,” she said.
In the years they’ve been married, they’ve been through it all, of course. The ups of realizing their goals, building their dream home here in these Ozark Mountains and the downs of health scares – both his and hers.
She said she would do it again.
My aunt was brave. She chose and grasped life and allowed love to rule rather than allowing the fear of the heartache another loss would ultimately bring.
To think of all our lives had she allowed fear to rule is like imagining a real-time “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when George sees his life had he never been born.
It’s a lesson for all of us to contemplate, but especially widows and widowers who know they have a 50 percent chance of losing a new partner again.
My aunt would tell you if that’s your only hesitation, choose life. Grab it and go for the ride. Nothing in this life is a sure thing and we can only enjoy the moments as they’re given to us.
I know we’re all better because she did.