It is nine years today since hubby and I got married. Our wedding day was one of the happiest days of my life. I can still remember the joy I felt on the day and how thrilled I was to be finally marrying the man I loved. It was a beautiful day with so many of our family and friends there to celebrate with us. We were taking a new step on our journey together as we promised to be there for each other “for better or worse”, ready to share life’s ups and downs.
I look back at that happy couple, so full of hope and joy. Looking forward to their life together, looking forward to creating a family. That “happily ever after” would be full of challenges was never in doubt, but they were sure that they would work through them together.
What a journey those nine years have been. It has been quite a rollercoaster ride. From losing my dad five months after our wedding, through the anxiety of finding out about Jessica’s heart condition during my pregnancy with her and the pure joy we felt when she was born. We held each other close and gave each other strength through her surgeries. Watching Jessica grow and thrive gave us so much happiness as did the arrival of Sophie a couple of years later. There were bumps in the road as I struggled with postnatal depression after Sophie’s arrival, but we got through them together. Our two beautiful daughters were our world. In those moments when we were out and about together as a family, life felt utterly perfect.
We were so thrilled to discover we were expecting another baby at the end of last year. There was anxiety over Christmas and the new year as Jessica underwent another surgery. When she recovered well, we started to dare to look ahead once more. To look forward to becoming a family of five and the prospect of a normal life without another surgery looming on the horizon. And then, suddenly our world was completely shattered when Jessica died.
In those dark days immediately after Jessica’s death, we clung to each other, supporting each other. Each of us giving strength to the other in different ways and at different times. On the day of Jessica’s funeral, as the hearse with her little casket arrived outside our house, I looked at hubby and asked him how on earth we were going to get through it. He simply said:
“We will get through it the way we always get through. Together. I will be there by your side throughout. We are a team.”
“We are a team.” Four little words that sum up our married life together. Throughout the wonderful highs and the devastating lows, my husband has always been there, holding my hand. The last three months have been unbelievably hard. There have been many, many times when neither of us feels like we have the strength to go on; when all we can do is just hold each other close as we both fall apart. There are times when he gives me the strength to take the next step and times when I do the same for him. He has seen me at my best and at my worst; in my most joyful moments and in my darkest ones. Throughout it all, he reminds me that he loves me – not just in words, but in his actions too.
He has been the most wonderful daddy to our girls. So proud of them both and always at his happiest when spending time with his family. I loved how their faces would light up when he came home from work; the excitement in their voices when they said “It’s Daddy! Daddy’s home!” and the way both Jessica and Sophie would throw themselves on him for cuddles and kisses. I loved the way he would spin them round; the pride on his face when he watched them doing sports days, or ballet shows, or church parade. Seeing the way our girls were the centre of his world made me love him even more.
Our journey through our married life so far has not been an easy one, but I am thankful for this wonderful husband of mine. Having him by my side makes the hardest moments of our journey a little easier to bear. The memories we share are so very precious. He is the only one who has walked this journey alongside me; the one who truly understands what that journey has been like and how hard it now is to live each day without Jessica. He shares my fears and anxieties as we prepare for a new chapter in our lives with the arrival of baby Peanut.
Married life is full of ups and downs. There are times when we fight, and times when we take each other for granted. Times when he drives me mad and times when I drive him mad. I know though that when life is at its hardest, he is there by my side. Reminding me that this is our journey through life, and that we will face it together. Whatever life’s journey throws at us, one thing remains the same. We are a team. We might be broken, devastated and incomplete but we are still a team.