Our First Wedding Anniversary

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A week before our anniversary, my grandfather passed away. He was a wonderful man and we were very close. He was a pastor and I’m proud to say that the last couple he united in holy matrimony was us. His health was failing even then. He struggled through the ceremony, not wanting to let me down. It is a sweet memory I’ll always cherish.

On top of that loss, there was joy. I was pregnant. It was September, and I was due in December. My baby bump looked remarkably like a watermelon and I remember people commenting at the funeral that I wouldn’t make it to December. 

My husband and I decided to celebrate our anniversary with tickets. Paper is the traditional “gift” for a first anniversary and tickets are paper after all. I thought it might be good to laugh, so I got us tickets to a local comedy show & dinner on the weekend before our anniversary. Our anniversary was that coming Monday. The show was a great idea! We laughed until we cried. The food was delicious too. 

Late that night, I woke up to find my husband doubled over. He kept describing this awful pain in his stomach. He thought he had eaten bad food. I gave him some medicine for his stomach, and ibuprofen. It didn’t work. Afraid, I called my mom, a retired nurse. After hearing everything, she thought we should go to the hospital.

We waited in the emergency room as Saturday turned to Sunday. My husband, who never complains about anything, was white as a sheet and clearly in great pain. I was terrified. Finally, the doctor came and checked him out.  She gave him a very strong pain medicine and left to check his test results.

As the medicine kicked in, he began to joke about it being nothing. He was feeling better and thought maybe he just had gas.  I remember arguing with him. He wanted to go home because he felt better. I wanted him to stay. I said the craziest thing I could think of: “What if it’s your appendix? It could burst if we go home!” I wish I hadn’t said that.

When the doctor returned, she told us just that. He had acute appendicitis and needed emergency surgery to have it removed. I dutifully put on a brave face and called his parents to tell them. Then I called my mother who I knew would be waiting to hear the verdict. I kissed him and held his wedding ring as they wheeled him back into surgery. I was six months pregnant. We were one day shy of our first anniversary. 

I waited for hours in the waiting room with our parents. I was incredibly afraid. My mom kept telling me how routine the procedure was, but that didn’t matter. I was afraid until I walked into the recovery room to see my husband smiling at me. After our parents left the room, I burst into tears. 

They pronounced my husband recovered the next day and let us go home. We didn’t get home until 10:00 pm. I took the top of our wedding cake out of the freezer. We waited until his parents finally left, around midnight. Then, emotionally and physically exhausted, we each took an obligatory bite of cake and fell asleep on the couch. It wasn’t romantic at all, but we weathered the storm. 

It makes for a good story to tell our kids one day and we learned a lot from it. Who knows, maybe one day it will even help me win a radio contest. I hope the prize is that honeymoon we never got to take.

Written by: Sara Parise

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