Fourteen years ago today, Tony and I got married on the beach in Naples, Florida. Long time readers will know that Hannah was my maid of honor and my step-son Joe was our best man. Tony’s parents and my Mom were the only other ones in attendance, and that’s exactly the way I wanted it. Small. Intimate. Although my twin sister will give a dig every once in a while and say “it was really nice being invited to your wedding!” But that would have opened up a whole other layer of people, and I didn’t want it to be a 100 person event.
Tony and his son spent the night before our wedding with his Dad, Hannah, my Mom, my MIL Bonnie and I spent the night at their other property. The day was busy – I had a manicure, pedicure, had my hair and makeup done. Pretty much the best way to tell me and my sister apart was that I normally don’t wear any makeup and she doesn’t leave the house without it. I remember looking at myself when it was all done, and I thought “I look like Jennifer!”
The wedding didn’t take place until 5:30 on the beach, and I just couldn’t wait until it was time to see him. I always told him that I didn’t care if we lived in a card board box, all I wanted was to be with him. Finally it’s time to head to the beach, and I wasn’t nervous or anything – I just couldn’t get to him fast enough. He hugged me, gave me a kiss and said “your face smells like pancakes.”
I would have thought we’d have 40+ years together. From Thanksgiving week until today, it’s just been so surreal. I’ve been looking back at pictures I’ve taken in the last couple months of Tony, and now that I know, it looks as if he had been slowly dying and I didn’t either want to see it, or just thought that this was another medical hurdle we’d jump over and move on. We’d look back and say “can you believe you were sick during another holiday?!” That always seems to be the case with him.
Since Tony’s sister and her family are coming over for Christmas, I finally decided to decorate a bit. I was alone on Saturday night. I love our pre-lit Christmas tree. It snaps together in three pieces, you put all the plugs together and bam! Of course you know I have a lot of snowmen ornaments. But once I put this ornament up on the tree, the tears started to flow and they just wouldn’t stop.
The tears suddenly turned into full blown sobbing as it does from time to time. I just wanted to go back. Go back to 2007 when the kids were littler and I’d have seven more years with Tony. All of a sudden I heard a noise in the bathroom. Huh. I was the only one home. I walked in, turned on the light, and . . .the toilet seat was up! Now I’d been the only one home for a couple days, Hannah’s boyfriend or any man for that matter hadn’t been here to leave it up. I suddenly thought “that’s Tony!” He always said he was going to haunt me and my tears and sobbing stopped and I smiled. It made me feel better. The tears have a long ways before they subside. I am still strong to people around me because if I wasn’t, I’d just be a basket case all day and not want to get out of bed.
This is the last picture we have together – the selfie I did at the hospital on November 12. I would have never guessed that three weeks later I’d be saying goodbye forever.
All I know is that I miss his hugs, kisses and . . . that smile. Happy 14th Anniversary babe! I miss you more than you’ll ever know. I just have to move on from WE to ME. And it breaks my heart.