On my first Anniversary I created a shadowbox for my husband. Inside of it were the letters we had written to one another before I came here, our ticket stubs (his from coming to see me and mine from when I flew to him) a leaf from a walk we had, flowers from my bouquet, rings we shared before and after our wedding, the hotel receipt from our honeymoon and our vows. I never thought about it much until we had one of those days that come to all married couples – a day when everything seems to have shattered and you lose focus; when the world spins you upside down and you aren’t sure how (or if) things will go right side up. That’s when I found the box again and I remembered.
- The letters reminded me of how and why I fell in love with my husband; how and why he fell in love with me.
- The ticket stubs reminded me of the sacrifices each of us made to get here.
- The leaf reminded me of our long walks then and the journey we’ve made so far together.
- The flowers from my bouquet remind me of the beauty that we created in our life.
- The rings reminded me of my promise to him before I came here (home) and the ring he gave me on our honeymoon (the crystal dragonfly) reminded me that he has always given me wings.
- The hotel receipt reminded me of how we have never, but that one night, been apart and how much it meant to have him there with me every morning; and how to miss him (sometimes I forget).
- The vows reminded me of the promise we made together in front of our families, our friends and our children; that no matter what happened in our lives we would always be there for each other.
I looked through the box and I realized that it was more than just a shadowbox, more than a gift, it was a way to keep our love going even when it seemed things were so far from us. It was a memory of who we were, who we are and who we are becoming together and I wanted to share that with those of you that may be – at this moment – sitting where I was.
Take some time to look back and search for the pieces that brought you to where you are. The journey alone takes you through the missing moments, sometimes you can find what you lost just by looking. Then collect them all into a box, your letters, your pieces of memorabilia of the good times and the difficult times where you had persevered. And if you lost some pieces, find ones that match the idea and the symbolism of those moments; a petal, a piece of lace, the CD to the first song you danced to. Then place them all into a box, it doesn’t have to be a pretty box or a shadowbox, it could even be your favorite shoe box. And then when those days come, find a moment and go back. Remember how and why, remember the paces and the steps, remember the beauty that was there, the sacrifice and the freedom; remember the promise and the missing.
Sometimes in the heat of things we can’t see the reasons, it is only in the absence of them that we realize what they are. The idea of the box is to take a step back to make the right step forward, whichever that might be.
Another beautiful idea is to take it out, each year, on your Anniversary and together go through the memories – remembering each other as you were, as you are and discuss the aspirations of yourselves. Who are you aspiring to be in your life, your relationship, your parenting, your career? Have a bottle of wine (or sparkling water) and share your life together and then at the end of the night add a new token to your box.
If it wasn’t for this bad day, I would have never come to this idea. Maybe it was the reason it happened all along. I honestly believe that everything in life has a purpose. I hope these words find another who may be having a hard time finding themselves.
So many thanks to my husband, who has always inspired and believed in me. I love you.