Eleven years ago

April 13, 2000
Each year on our anniversary, Chad and I treated ourselves to a nice night out.
We had been dating for three years on this particular anniversary.

He had been so busy with his new job that we hardly ever saw each other.
It was extremely difficult, but we manged to carve out time with his work schedule and my college career.

We had been talking about the future in casual conversation for a while.
We both knew where we were meant to be.

A couple of months earlier, he asked me show him what kind of engagement rings I would like…
I was like a kid in a great big candy store.
Everything I saw was THE ring.
I just happened to see a gorgeous bauble in a newspaper circular for a local jewelry store that took my breath away.
I took it upon myself to cut the picture out. I stuck it in my wallet so that, when he asked me what type of cut/mount/etc I would like in the future, I would have it ready for him. I’m a planner like that.

And he did ask again.
Like a giddy school girl, I pulled out the picture and showed him – “this is something I would like – something similar…”

At dinner on our third anniversary, he was so nervous.
His face looked different, almost anxious.
He was drinking water like he had a hole in the bottom of his foot and it was seeping onto the floor beneath us.
I jokingly said, “What is wring with you? Do you have ring in your pocket or something?”

Yes. Yes, he did.
He didn’t propose right then.
I had no idea what was coming.

We ate.
We talked a bit
We ate more.
We were at a fondue restaurant, so the eating and talking took about three hours!

The conversation, of course, made its way back to our eventual future.
Knowing how fickle I can be, he asked me if I was sure of what kind of ring I wanted…if I was sure that I really wanted a princess cut.
Well, of course, I did.
I started with, “Remember, I showed you this ring from the jewelry circular? I want something like….”
“Like this one?”

And there it was.
A shiny, sparkly invitation to be his partner for life.
The exact ring I had drooled over.
Only the folded picture I had of it didn’t do it justice in real life.

I wanted to scream.
Or faint.

I’m a little reserved and don’t cause much ruckus, however.
I did let out a little shriek.

“Would you please do me the pleasure of being my wife?”


Later, I found out that he had been carrying the ring around in his pocket for nearly two weeks, waiting for the perfect time to catch me off guard. He always had a thing for timing…

After crying and catching my breath because hello! this really just happened, I ran to the payphone (neither of us had cell phones in 2000) to call my parents.

There was excitement, all around.
My parents.
His parents.
All of our friends.
It was all too perfect, too real and just too…complete.

We married in August of 2001, and instantly had a “new” anniversary.
But we always celebrated our other anniversary, too.
We always had two.

April 13
August 4

The girls and I went out to dinner tonight.
And even though I didn’t tell them why, I know it is our anniversary.
And he knows it too.

Last night, we had our last group therapy session at hospice.
At the end, we each held a white balloon tied to a string with a note.
We were able to write something, anything we wanted.

Love you until the day after forever.
I miss you and I am trying to do what
you wanted. Forever, Skye

Cailyn, with help from a counselor:
I miss my Cookie Monster Daddy.

I love love love love love you DaDa.

I stood in the middle of the girls and we released our balloons on the count of three…
Only Carys’ balloon didn’t go anywhere.
She panicked and someone in the crowd grabbed the balloon so we could remedy the situation.

She looked at me with hurt in her beautiful little eyes, and I gently told her that her balloon was so full of love that it needed extra help to float.
I feverishly removed the string and her love note to Chad – and asked her to release the balloon again.
It sped away, racing to catch up with the other balloons.
She smiled, the sparkle returned to her sweet little face.

She then asked if we could visit Chad’s brick in the memory garden, so we meandered that way.
She paused at it, and said, “I’ll see you later, Daddy.”
She is such a sweet, sweet girl.

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