Love well. These words have become my motto over the last couple months. With every action, I want to live with purpose and impact. I want to absorb life’s tiny treasures. I want to be fully present with the people around me. I want to blow on dandelions, lock eyes with my children, dance in the kitchen. So much changed for me May 25th of last year. I learned the weight of the words “every day is a gift.”
February 9th should be my second wedding anniversary. I should be going on a romantic date with my husband, picking out matching outfits. I should be wondering who is going to babysit our two beautiful boys. Sadly, I won’t be doing any of those things. As you may know, A little over 8 months ago I lost my husband suddenly to ARVD, a rare genetic heart defect. In a moment my life was turned upside down. My oldest was one at the time, I was pregnant with our second.
They mean it when they say- every day is truly a gift. I got exactly 800 of them. I have thought about writing our story, but there is no way I could explain the full beauty in a short writing. So, like I told you in my last blog, I am unfolding it day by day on Instagram at s.s.jubilee. Time lining and remembering the joy of each day has reminded me even more how blessed I was. Though we were only given a short time together, those days truly mattered. They were intense, full of adventure, joy, and love. No relationship is perfect, we had both our ups and our downs. Most importantly, we had each other. We fought for our little family and the love we shared. We chose each other everyday. That to me is the most beautiful love.
Two and a half months before he passed he posted these words “I am not one to praise much, share my feelings much, know how to express what really moves me, or follow through with what I believe is the next best thing. I am sorry for the people who will mock me or bash me. I love all of you who support me. Over a year ago I married my wife Shelly Saba. She showed me it was ok to feel, ok to share my crazy ideas, helped me focus on what I want in life, and not to steer away because one person thought my beliefs are crazy or not going to work. She has helped me become the person I want to be. Believed in me!! I can’t express how much it means to me to have someone listen to what I have to say. And no matter what it is, support it or just play along with it because she sees the glow in my eyes when I explain various things. She may not understand but she sure does try. Many people don’t know why I chose her, I hope one day they do see how happy she makes me. For this reason alone, I will always love you. Everything else you do makes my world that much better. Thank you for the late late late night talk. I have a goal and I will meet it with you by my side.”
The last eight months have been heartbreaking. Sometimes grief and sadness are all I think about. I bring myself back to that post. Regardless of how hard it is or has been, I had the most amazing love. When I remember how beautiful it was, even if for only 800 days, I feel joy. Joy that God lent me such an amazing individual. He changed and molded me. I have said it before and I will say it again- no amount of pain can outweigh the joy he brought me. Our love story is rare and special. I will always hold it dear to my heart. I have to change my focus from the years we never will have to the ones that we did.
In 800 short days- we fell in love, got engaged, married, had our first son, our first wedding anniversary, and conceived our second. There is so much romance in between those events, so much life. Over 250 days have passed since he left us. Though I give myself time to grieve, I think it is vital to see the comparison. We may only get 800, how are we spending them? None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, today is the day. Are we living it? Am I living it, or am I just waiting?
Fareed and I had no idea our time together would be so short. I thank God everyday that those days were as full as they were. We were living like we only had 800 days, without even realizing it. Now, I want to continue to live and love in such a way.
Since Fareed’s death, many people have told me our story has inspired them to live a fuller life. It woke them up in a sense. Obviously it had the same affect on me, I’m living it. I never thought in a million years this would be where we are. But I say this, if even the slightest beauty can come from this tragedy, let it. Soak it in. Embrace it. Share it.
I am so lucky to have had someone who showed me love the way that man did. He was selfless. We were everything to each other. Though it is so painful that he is not here for our second wedding anniversary. It brings me joy that their is an anniversary in the first place.
“Grief is the price we pay for love.” Queen Elizabeth II
What do I want for my second wedding anniversary? I want our story to matter. Not in some- we have the best love story ever sort of way. I don’t think that’s the case. I truly believe that love is a choice. That so many people miss it searching for something better. Even more people miss it completely consumed by things, social media, and drama. For my second wedding anniversary I want you to join me in the motto “Love well”. Put it in your phone, post it on the wall, just remember it. As you go to bed with your spouse tonight, remember that you are never guaranteed any amount of time. Love well, listen. As you watch your children play in the yard, remember you never get this moment back. Love well, join them. As you contemplate a coffee date or a tv show, decide what is more memorable. Love well in community. As you approach an angry cashier, remember they have a story to, one that might be very painful. Love well.
Let our story remind you that each day is a gift. Let it remind you to live fully and with impact. Let it remind you that a lot can change in 800 days. That in 800 days, something beautiful may change you altogether. Embrace it.
Our wedding was one of the best days of my life. It was perfectly us. It was simple, and delicate. During the ceremony we released two doves. Doves choose a mate for life and symbolically always find their way back to each other. Though Fareed may not be here, his memory and love is always a place I will call home. We were excited to celebrate our first wedding anniversary last year. We were in Chicago for a wedding, so we ate dinner at the top of the John Hancock building. I remember discussing how small we all are in the grand scheme of life as we looked out over the huge city. Fareed told me how excited he was for our life ahead of us. What I wouldn’t give to have one more anniversary with him. I would even love to see his face just one more time as we opened our frozen wedding cake. Very few people know there was a mosquito frozen to it for the entire year.
I love that man. I am so thankful I got to spend 800 days with him. You wouldn’t recognize me from day 1-800. I know I have even changed immensely in the last 250 days. I would like to think he would be proud.
I’m not asking you to go parasailing or sky diving. I’m not asking you to get married tomorrow- but heck if you’re ready, do it! All I’m asking is that you remember to be present for every single moment. Live with every ounce of yourself. Remember that one day can change a lot. Motivate the people around you to live a life of purpose. Hug your children. Lay the phone down. Take a zillion pictures. Slow down. Fall in love. Get engaged quick. Have the wedding of your dreams. Buy flowers. Support your friends. Visit a relative. Bless a stranger. Live with impact.
Until death do us part…
Happy Anniversary My Love!