This is the first time I have celebrated an 8th anniversary. Jake and I were married for 7 1/2 years when he was killed at work. We had known each other for 8 years and 4 days. Part of me wishes that I wasn't a "time keeper" always being aware of dates, lengths of time, and tracking and comparing the time that pertains to Jake's life and death. I do accept it as part of who I am and how I grieve though.
As I have approached this 8 year milestone I knew that it was going to be a little bittersweet. I talked with Curtis about it the other night. I told him that I was dealing with some grief issues related to celebrating 8 years with him and I never got to do that with Jake. I was worried his feelings may be hurt a little, but he responded so amazing. He said, "It would be unfair to you and Jake if you did not have those feelings anymore. It shows you still care." Being able to voice my issues and feelings was very helpful to me. I have been able to let that grief go, and today I am feeling just the sweet and none of the bitter.
Curtis and I have spent the last 8 years making our blended family into a family. We will probably continue this process for several years to come. One expert we have talked to said that it takes 22 years to fully blend a family. Wow...that is a long time! Some days it seems like we are sailing smoothly and other days it is still a struggle. With all the ups and downs, the happiness we have found in our marriage and our family is more than I ever thought possible. We have worked hard for our happiness, which makes it that much more appreciated. (To read more about our path to happiness check out this post.)
I have had so many amazing experiences with Curtis...
We have raised 8 boys that had experienced grief related to death or divorce and helped them find paths to healing. We have added two amazing little spirits to our family that have truly brought our family together and added more joy than we could have imagined. We have grown as parents in patience and love and learned from the many mistakes we have made over the years. Together we have learned how to love and parent special needs kids. We were also blessed with our only little girl, she has added so much fun (and pink) to our family.
I have become a far better wife and person because of the lessons I have learned and the changes that I have needed to make being married to Curtis. Watching Curtis change into more of the person that Heavenly Father intended him to be has been a blessing and a miracle. I am so thankful that we have the light of the gospel in our lives and in our marriage. The principle of forgiveness and trying to improve ourselves each day has strengthened our marriage.
We have traveled more than I thought I would in a lifetime in the last 8 years together. The times we have spent alone together has been such a blessing and a very important lesson as well. When you get married with 8 boys under 8 you HAVE to get alone time somehow. We knew it would be important for us to go on getaways together to help build our relationship as husband and wife...without being mom and dad too. Date nights are also vital to our relationship. I know that when the kids move out and we find ourselves all alone that we will know each other, and love each other separate from being parents together. In blended families the husband/wife relationship has to be the strongest bond to be able to stand the storms that come.
I am so thankful to a loving Heavenly Father that has a plan for me. He has allowed me to find and love two amazing men in my life. I have found happiness after I thought all hope was lost. I have seen his goodness in giving us trials in marriage so that our happiness can be greater than we ever thought possible.
Curtis is a great husband and I love him dearly. We have both grown so much, as we have grown into better people, we have grown closer together as a couple. The support and love he has showed me with this blogging and speaking about our lives has been outstanding. I truly feel so blessed to have him in my life.
Thanks for an amazing 8 years! I love you so much. Looking forward to a lifetime of memories and love with you.
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To read my original story click here.