Yesterday, Brian and I celebrated our fourth anniversary.
It was a quiet, brief celebration at the end of a busy day for both of us. In years past, we might have cooked dinner together, but this year I shopped and marinated and chopped. He grilled and steamed and cleaned up the kitchen. We finally sat down together to surf and turf and local potatoes and broccoli from our own garden. Then we both went back to work. Just before bed, we reconvened for warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream and a peach lambic toast. The lambic is our special drink, the one he brought to a mountain top when he proposed, the one the restaurant brought in special for us to toast with at our wedding.
Four years. Somebody asked Brian how long we had been married, and he said "Four years, but it feels like longer." Living a lifetime in seven months will do that.
Shortly before Henry died, when I think I knew but could not quite yet admit that I knew Henry was going to die, the priest from Brian's parents' church came to pray with us. He did not ask for Henry to be saved, for him to live, not that I remember. He did ask that Brian and I lean toward each other and not away from each other.
When you have a child born with a disability or health issue, people like to cite divorce statistics. I'm not sure why. Should we be on guard? Should we just give in to the inevitable? What they didn't realize was that statistics no longer meant a thing. We got on the wrong side of the odds. There was no comfort in them, but also no fear.
For our first anniversary, we had dinner at the restaurant where we had our wedding reception. Brian even made a reservation for the specific table where we sat on that special day. No lambic toast that night, though. I was already pregnant with Henry.
For our second anniversary, we had Thai food in a crowded restaurant in Boston, within walking distance from the hospital. We could not have imagined on that rainy, rainy day in October 2005, that we would be living on opposite sides of the state on our second anniversary—me in Boston with Henry, him at home in Western Mass. But there we were. Brian brought a lambic with him, but I think I wasn't in the mood to drink it.
For our third anniversary, we were 10 months out from Henry's death, still raw and tired and sad. I was pregnant with Kathleen and had just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. No bread, no dessert, no lambic.
And now, here we are. Almost two years since Henry died. Almost a year since Kathleen was born. Four full years since we said "I do."
We are still here. Still together. Still working on the in good times and bad. Still that other side of the statistic. Still loving, still happy despite the deep sorrow.