7 years ago today, this sonnet by Pablo Neruda was read at my wedding.
Maybe nothingness is to be without your presence,
without you moving, slicing the noon
like a blue flower, without you walking
later through the fog and the cobbles,
without the light you carry in your hand,
golden, which maybe others will not see,
which maybe no one knew was growing
like the red beginnings of a rose.
In short, without your presence: without your coming
suddenly, inticingly, to know my life;
gust of a rosebush, wheat of wind:
since then I am because you are,
since then you are, I am, we are,
and through love I will be, you will be, we’ll be.
– Pablo Neruda
I’ve long been a fan of Neruda’s poetry, although my current inability to find my copy of his sonnets is not indicative of the appreciation I do feel. When selecting readings for our wedding, this one was upon which I insisted. My friend Darrell read it for us:
In the past 7 years, we’ve had a wild ride. The economy started tanking and my husband’s job suffered for it. We had a son. I suffered from post partum depression. After returning to work from time off for the PPD, I lost my job due to the economy. My husband suffered 3 heart attacks at the age of 26. I found a new job just in the nick of time, which allowed my husband to take a different job that gave him more time to recuperate. We had another son. I became a stay at home/work at home mother. We built a house.
We packed quite a lot of experiences and memories into those 7 years. For a long time, I was cautiously counting every moment. There was a while in there when I wasn’t sure if I would make it to 30 without being a widow. I’m so thankful that my husband and my family have jumped into the lifestyle changes with me. My husband has lost over 110 pounds making lifestyle changes, and he’s so much healthier today. We’re working to keep toxins out of our home, out of the products that we use, out of our foods, and out of our children. We’ve had trouble and arguments, just as any couple does, and we’ve come out stronger than ever each time. We’ve learned to compromise, which is easier said than done when you’re talking about people who are as stubborn and bull-headed as the two of us. We’ve been tempered in fire.
We were so young when we married – I was 22 and he was 24. Looking back on the pictures now, it’s so funny how neither of us had gray hair back then. I have not always been as well-adjusted and untroubled as I am today, and my husband is the main reason for the change. He helped me to build back my self-esteem, self-confidence, and trust in people. Because of his influence, I’ve been able to make friends at work and at volunteer functions. I’ve developed a closer relationship with my parents. I was welcomed into his family. We have our own family – the first in which I fully belong, 100% of the time, which is amazing to me. We’ve brought two sweet boys into the world who are teaching us new things every day. It’s been amazing.
And crazy hard. Because there are bad times, there are hard times, there are sick times. For our anniversary, we saw the Red Green show down at the Embassy in Fort Wayne last Monday. Siting in front of us, two widowers introduced themselves as we waited for the show to begin. They talked to us about the “lifers” – those who are married at least 50 years, and what it takes to have a lengthy marriage. Sometimes when you want to give up and you think all hope is lost, you get smacked in the head and told to go back there and fight for it. At no time is living with another person a cake walk. But working together, we can make it a really awesome walk.
It’s said that every 7 years every cell in your skeleton has been replaced. At the conclusion of this phase of skeletal replacement, I like to think I’m stronger because I’m no longer a me but part of a we. “Through love I will be, you will be, we’ll be.”