Sunday, August 09, 2020

Remembering a Marriage, Making a Life: An Essay in Photos

 My husband Howard and I met first in high school -- as pen pals in Canada's Centennial Year, 1967.  We met 'for real' in Montreal in the fall of 1974, and were engaged February 11, 1975.

We both had longer hair then than later, 
and I wore contact lenses most of the time 
instead of my "Coca-cola bottle" glasses.

With Mom and Dad
at the home of my Aunt Alice Rennie
Time to go to the church!

St. John's Anglican Church,
Huntingdon, Quebec
(est. 1834)

In the fall of 1976, with a dramatic change in provincial government from Liberal to the Parti Quebecois (Separatists headed by Rene Levesque), we decided to move West.  Howard's family was in Vancouver, but we opted for Calgary because my sister already lived there, and Howard had cousins there.  Besides, I told him, I couldn't bear 5 months of rain in the winter.  I needed snow and sunshine!

We found work, bought a house and in 1980, started a family.

The nursery was ready...

Our daughter, Gina Ruth, arrived
January 13, 1981

And then there were four...
Our son, John Martin, arrived
June 6, 1985

The kids grew...

And grew...

And grew...

There were family vacations

High school came...

Gina - 1998

Marty - Grade 11
September 2002

We got older too.  Howard's Type 1 Diabetes, which began to show its nasty effects as early as 1986, grew more destructive by the year.  There were many crises, surgeries, and a decade's worth of haemodialysis.  Still...we managed to get away on a cruise from Vancouver, B.C. up the inside passage to Alaska to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary...

On our way!  Aboard a Royal Caribbean ship,
Vancouver, B.C., July 2005

A year later, he was gone...having marked 31 years together.

My mourning has not yet (quite) 'turned to dancing' as the Lord promised,
but there are many things for which I am grateful.

My reinvented life as an artist in a central Alberta rural hamlet on the rolling prairie.

Mirror, Alberta
Taken just after moving in, September 2008

Two grown kids whom I love with my life...

Who've gone on to higher education... 

Gina's M.Ed. - U of Alberta, 2008

Marty's BFA (Drama) - U of Lethbridge, 2008

At Marty's Dip. Technology Grad - NAIT
Edmonton 2014

 And who, despite the 4 1/2-year difference in their ages, and their very different personalities,
still manage to be able to get along when they're together!  😊

Celebrating Summer at Sylvan Lake - 2009

Edmonton, October 2016

With our parents gone, I've grown closer to my sister too...

With Wendy, July 2016

I like to think we're there for each other, no matter the miles between us.

My friends and colleagues are too many to enumerate, while my neighbours remain a source of support and help for this "widdy lady", as well as good friends.

It's been a good life thus far, despite the cares and struggles of illness, the loss of loved ones, the on-going challenges of aging, and the particular chaos that 2020 has brought.  

But I'm glad I'm here, expecting to mark my 68th year next month, having built a rich store of memories, with -- God willing -- many more to come.

Eternity in a ring
From HMB - Mother's Day, 1985,
now on my older hands.
On that wedding day 45 years ago, my step-father and I danced to a song that remains a favourite of mine when I think about how "...swiftly fly the years -- one season following another, laden with happiness...and tears". 

August 9,1975 - August 9, 2006


Kate said...

Thank you for sharing your family pictures. They look like nice memories. Good to remember in these quiet times.

elle said...

You are blessed, Margaret.
We moved from Sunrise Farms where we raised our kids south to where we now are retired in Sundown, Man. We are also blessed. The song is true!

Bethany G said...

Such a beautiful story Marg and I love the photos - and yes, you are blessed to have had an amazing time with Howard and Gina and John... and life moves forward in a plan that is set long before you met. Love to each of you in thought today and when I see you again in person, with a good hug!

els said...

What a beautiful story and pictures. Yes life has his ups and downs and you had a lot of them.
It gave me goose bumps and I admire your positivity.

Kathie Briggs said...

Lovely memories. I shed a few tears along the way. Daddy & I also danced to Sunrise/Sunset, sung by one of his best friends, at my wedding in 1975.