Fifteen And Counting

Fifteen years ago today we stood together in our garden and cast our collective fate to the four winds.  A garden that I’d fertilized to a faretheewell just to have a riot of flowers surround us as we said yes, we would, in sickness and in health, and in everything else that married couples face.  I didn’t realize it then, but I’d be fertilizing throughout our entire marriage, since love needs to be fed even more than flowers do, if you want it to bloom.

We’ve been through a lot together in those fifteen years.  Moving to France, learning to speak French and understand French culture, and love la vie française, the part of our life that French Letters readers know the best,

and learning more than we ever wanted to know about French hospitals, was just part of our story.  One of the most challenging, most interesting, and yes, best parts, to be sure, but really only a fraction of our lifetime together.

We’ve had tough times, like every couple, times when we thought we might not make it.  But we did.

We’ve spent many a sunny day together, carefree, hot and sweet, when life couldn’t have been easier and we counted our blessings hourly.

But there have been plenty of dark, rainy, and snowy times as well, times we felt like giving up, times when every bit of happiness seemed to elude our grasp.  That’s life with cancer.  You can’t hold happiness too tightly, we learned from all that.  Kiss and run, if you have to, but don’t to forget to kiss.

Having already been in our forties when we met, each with a marriage in our past and each having had a son along the way, we’ve spent quite a few “why didn’t we meet when we were both much younger?” moments, and a bit of time trying to regain our lost youth.  But really, do we want all that back?  Or is the point of marrying late to grow old together, to leave behind all that restless yearning and to finally really settle into someone?

I know that to others we probably do seem restless, endless wanderers. We’ve lived together in California, Washington, Ohio, Washington again, France, and Washington yet again.  And maybe, radiation gods, cancer gods, and all the other forces of nature willing, we’ll live in France again. Sometimes we think that we’re probably old enough to settle down someplace, superannuated for the task even, but then we remember that home is wherever we both are, always has been, and the heart’s where we’re settled, always will be.

We knew that Shel had cancer when we married, fifteen years ago.  And living with cancer like that, every single moment, day in and day out, time out of mind, sure raises a lot of questions.  But if there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s that whatever the question is, love is the answer.  So Happy Anniversary, best beloved, and here’s to fifteen more.

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26 Comments on “Fifteen And Counting”

  1. Fabre Says:

    Abra & Shel, happy anniversary! What a beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to your marriage. You are in my thoughts every day – and here’s to year 16 in France!


  2. phew. THAT brought me to a bit of tears. Bonne Anniversaire et vive l’amour.

  3. Della Says:

    Beautiful words and two beautiful people. I bit of a tear in my eye as well – “to love!” Happy Anniversary!

  4. Julie H. Says:

    Thank you for writing your journal, it’s lovely to read. Definitely life is not over till one stops living. You and your husband are wonderful examples of that.

    Happy anniversary!

  5. Joni Says:

    Abra,
    So beautifully said and how lucky you and Shel are to have shared such a wonderful life. Happy Anniversary to both of you!

  6. Carolyn Says:

    Knowing you both, I didn’t realize that you hadn’t been together for like 30 years! Bob and I just celebrated 15 years together, and I realize how brief that seems/feels. You both just exude love and Permanence, ya know? I know you do. ♥

  7. Wolfgang Says:

    So true !
    W

  8. Sue Says:

    Best wishes to both of you! Companionship and sharing are priceles gifts. I’m so glad that you found each other and chose to share your happiness with all of us as well.

  9. Zuleme Says:

    gosh I think I would really like both of you! Best wishes and my hopes for your future in France.

  10. Heinz Says:

    Happy anniversary! What a lovely post. Hugs and best wishes to you both and our hopes for many other years in love.

    Christine & Heinz

  11. Lauren Says:

    What a lovely tribute to 15 years of marriage. Happy Anniversary!

  12. Debra Lane Says:

    Happy Anniversary to two people very worthy of every happiness! I’m glad our paths have crossed. Its been a good week for weddings.

  13. Rebecca Says:

    You have the most important thing of all- you’ve found each other in this tumult of existence.
    I think of your love often- I experience vicariously the thrill of being with one’s beloved in person- thank you.
    I wish you both many more years together- all full.

  14. Brother Mark Says:

    Congratulations, love and healing from back east!

  15. Jeanne Says:

    Happy Anniversary!
    To be so loved is such a gift – wishing you many loving years ahead!

  16. Christyne Says:

    How sweet, and you can see the love in the pictures. Many more years of happiness together.

  17. Jan Says:

    Lovely! Happy Anniversary!!

  18. silvia carry Says:

    Happy Anniversary!!! You and Shell deserve all the happiness that you can gather during the journey.

    This particular French Letter was one of the most touching and inspiring…and lovely.

    Here’s to you, and Shell and the next many years together (in France?)
    If anybody can make it, that’s the two of you!

  19. Karen K. Says:

    Beautifully said, Abra. Here’s a toast, sending wishes for many more happy years for the two of you together.

  20. Nancy Says:

    What a lovely post, and loving tribute to your life together. Happy anniversary! May you have many more, and may your marriage always flower more fully than any other garden.

  21. Haven Says:

    Great writing and pics. Keep on “Keeping On”! H…

  22. Lucy Says:

    Happy anniversary you two!

  23. mimi(cigalechanta) Says:

    A lovely post that made my heart ache. I lost my husband through cancer two years ago and feel very lonely without him.

  24. islandlass Says:

    Happy, healthy anniversary to both of you!

  25. Mal Barnes Says:

    Your Life is more beautiful than novels…and your song sweeter than music

  26. Amy Says:

    Dear Abra & Shel –
    It was a lovely day in June, 15 years ago. I am glad to have been there at the beginning of your marriage and that you have been able to spend the time together that you have – and will have. Love, Amy


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