Thursday, August 21, 2008

Six Years

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...whatsoever you seal on earth shall be sealed in heaven; and whatsoever you bind on earth, in my name and by my word, saith the Lord, it shall be eternally bound in the heavens...
- Doctrine and Convenants 132:46

Today, August 21, 2008, is our SIXTH wedding anniversary. These first two photos are the photos we used for our engagement photos. These engagement photos and our wedding photos were taken by my brother and his wife. Here is their photography website link: Rob Higginson Photography

More photos from our engagements.

These two photos were taken by a friend of my mother in law's. Just another fun engagement session in a beautiful place.

The night before our wedding, Aaron's family hosted a wedding dinner in their backyard. Some friends of Aaron's from Brazil came and cooked the whole dinner. Aaron LOVED Brazilian food, so it was perfect. It was such a great evening. It had been raining that day and the report said it was supposed to continue raining that evening and then that it was supposed to rain the next day as well. We didn't have any alternate plans for the dinner, so it was such a blessing when it stopped raining about a half hour to an hour before the dinner started. Aaron's dad stood up and asked for people to just stand up randomly and tell a memory or an experience they have had with Aaron or me. So, there were some funny and special things said about each of us. It was a wonderful evening.

That next day, Aaron picked me up bright and early so that we could go early to the Salt Lake Temple to have our 'couple' photos taken before the wedding. It was going to be better lighting and there wouldn't be people walking through our backgrounds. Even though it was supposed to rain that day, there were only a few small clouds in the sky. We were so blessed with beautiful weather and a beautiful day. Everything about the day was beautiful. It was the most joyful day of my life.

Aaron wanted to surprise me with the suit he picked out for the wedding. So, I didn't see what he was wearing until he picked me up that morning. I LOVED it. His tie and vest were steel blue and then his shoes were black and had blue on them to match his vest. He was really proud of his shoes and I loved how excited he was about what he had chosen. He looked SO handsome that day. He was always handsome, but on our wedding day, he was radiant.
About 6 years before I got married, I found a dress in a magazine that I knew I wanted to be my wedding dress, so I held onto that page. When it was time to get a dress for my wedding, my mom, my sisters, and I went and picked out a couple of patterns that would work for the dress and then we went to pick out the fabric. My mom made my dress and it was absolutely perfect. I loved wearing it. I am so grateful to her for the work she put into it.

These are the guests who we were privileged to have at the actual ceremony in the temple.

These few photos were not set up. They are some of my favorites from the day because they were candid and I love the way Aaron is looking at me.

The reception was gorgeous. It was in Aaron's parents' backyard. They worked so hard all summer to get it ready. They planted flowers and just had the yard looking spectacular. I am so grateful for their hard work. It was perfect. Both families helped so much with what we needed help with. Everything was so great!

My sisters made my cake. I love daisies. My whole reception was covered with gerber daisies and so was my cake... made out of frosting. I love this cake. They did a great job and I am grateful for the beautiful work they did.

On the left is a cross stitch of a bride and groom that my mom made. The flowers were done by my sister and Aaron's sister. My sister also made my bouquet. Everything was beautiful. The cake on the right is the groom's cake. More on that later. The interesting cake in the back that looks like a bunch of rings stacked up is a Norwegian wedding cake.

Cutting the cake.

Eating the cake. With the Norwegian wedding cake, the bride and the groom are supposed to take ahold of the top of it together and break some of it off. Supposedly however many rings break off in your hands, that is how many children you will have. You can see in one of these photos how many rings broke off. I think it was like 14 or so. Wow...

Aaron LOVES Ford trucks. He is obsessed with Ford. He loves their trucks, he loves to talk about Ford, he loves to tell people that they are better than other trucks. So, I asked my sisters to make a Ford groom's cake. Aaron LOVED it.

It was always my dream to be married in the Salt Lake Temple. My dreams came true on August 21, 2002 at 11:20 a.m. It was the most beautiful day of my life. I have had two most beautiful days of my life. My wedding day and the day Aaron Jr. was born.
I always wondered if I would be nervous the day I got married. I was. I had every emotion running through me that day. As I walked into the sealing room where we were to be married, I felt this peace wash over me from head to toe that made any and all nervousness become just a memory. I cried all the way through the ceremony because the JOY was overwhelming. I was so happy. WE were so happy. Our wedding day was exactly as I imagined it.
I am so grateful that Aaron and I are sealed for eternity. I am eternally grateful that he chose me and that I chose him. Looking forward to eternity with Aaron is what makes this difficult journey seem bearable.
Our anniversary this year is just another one of those 'firsts' that I have been dreading. In those first months after Aaron passed away, all I planned to do was visit the cemetery and then sit at home with Aaron Jr. and Ode, our dog. I planned to just have a day of nothing but sorrow and loneliness. But the last few months, I have thought a lot about what we could do to celebrate the day. As I looked at our anniversary, I realized that even though Aaron isn't here physically to celebrate with me, it is still a day to celebrate. We started our eternity together SIX years ago. That is still something wonderful to celebrate.
It is strange that my very first posting on my blog was from our anniversary last year when we were celebrating FIVE years. Looking back at those photos makes me realize that I just had no idea what would be happening in my life just a few short months later. If only we had known. Now I can only imagine... if I had known Aaron was not going to be here much longer, I would have tried even harder to make sure he knew how much I love him. I would have made sure he knew that he brought joy to my life and that I was SO grateful for him. He would have known. I hope he knows now.
I imagine that today will still have the moments of loneliness, sadness, and sorrow... but we are going to celebrate. I miss Aaron so much. I know that I am doing better than I was in the beginning, but the pain of Aaron being gone is still a very real pain. I still feel the heartache and heartbreak. I still wish everyday that he could just hold me and make everything okay. I still feel like half of me is missing. I miss Aaron, but I can be grateful for what I have. I am grateful for the blessings in my life. At times it is difficult to recognize them when I am missing Aaron so intensely, but I am truly grateful for the multitude of blessings in my life.
I hope and pray that I will feel the comfort and peace of knowing that Aaron is with us today.

Happy Anniversary, my Menino. I love you... for eternity...
Love always, your Menina *

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LL said...

Beautiful Leslie...your photos, your special day and your words!
This is indeed a day to celebrate!

Anonymous said...

Oh Leslie, your wedding photos are truly beautiful. So are your words.

It IS a day to celebrate. How much richer your life is, because you had HIM. Richer sorrow. Richer memories. Richer love. Richer understanding of what is truly important in life.

So much love to you on this day.


Vicki said...

Leslie, I love your photos and the stories you tell with them. You are so good with words! I learn so much from you and am grateful to have you as my cousin. Love ya and Happy Anniversary!!

Brenda said...

This is a beautiful post, and you both looked so wonderful and happy on your wedding day! Thanks for helping us all remember to share our love with our spouses and each other.

dani said...

leslie, what a gorgeous wedding what a beautiful couple... aaron knew that you loved him then, and he knows it now.

Valeri said...

Well I wasn't planning to cry today...

That was absolutely beautiful, Leslie. You both looked RADIANT on your wedding day. I'm sure Aaron is celebrating too. And I'm also sure he DOES know how much you love him.

Karey said...

Happy Anniversary, Leslie. These pictures bring back so many memories. I hope your day is filled with more happy thoughts and memories than sad ones. We love you!

Seesalou said...

wow. it seems so long ago to me. i pray that you will find comfort and perspective today and a little more each day after that. how sweet the way aaron is looking at you...i can see why those are your favorites. i love you.

Mindy said...

I love all of your pictures, especially the candid ones that you love. What a beautiful and special memory! We got married in the Salt Lake Temple, but it was December, and bitter cold... needless to say, we don't have very many pictures as neat as yours!

Lots of love on this special and difficult day!

Tabitha said...

Oh leslie ~ what a totally beautiful post ~ I cannot deny that I cried as I read your words. You looked gorgeous on your wedding day ~ and as others have said ~ Aaron knew that you loved him and that you always will.
Sending you much love today XXXXX

Anonymous said...

I'm still here and think of you and Aaron so often. You sound so strong Aaron would be so proud of you. He'd fall in love with you again and again. Keep moving up, Aaron Jr. has much to be proud of too. We love love love you.

Leslie said...

I dont think you could have said it better. Beautiful.

JuLene said...

I have been reading your blog for awhile. I found it off of Sasha's blog. I the last time I saw you was at Steve's wedding. I have always admired you. You brighten everyones life with your sweet smile. My heart breaks for you and your pain. I can't imagine the pain you feel. I like so many others, wish that we could make it better. You are amazingly strong and such a wonderful example. I am so thankful for eternity too! I'm so happy that you have the blessing of eternity to be with your true love.


Anonymous said...

Ihope that yesterday was not as hard as you expected. I loved looking at the pictures. You both looked so cute. I loved the ford cake. My husband is a Chevy freak so I can totally relate. I still think of you a lot and hope that you are finding it easier every day. I am with you I am so glad that we know FAMILIES ARE FOREVER!!!

Jennifer Bowman said...

Your words as always are so touching. I hope yesterday was good for you although I can only imagine it had its hard moments. You two are truly a beautiful couple. It's such a blessing you are together FOREVER!
A friend you have never met, but checks your blog often :)
- Jen

Matchbox Mom said...

I hope that your anniversary was all you hoped for!! You deserve it. What a blessing your story is to me in my life...thank you for sharing your sweet family with us fellow bloggers out here in the blogosphere!
Don't know ya, but love you dearly...


Joann said...

It has been a while since I have had a hard time controlling my emotions when reading your bog, Leslie. But, for some reason, this one jsut hit me! You both looked so beautiful. And the way he was looking at gently and SO in love! I think those are my favorite pictures, too.
I have also found that the best way to make it through those BIG "firsts" is to celebrate your loved one's life. And with Aaron, there was definately A LOT to celebrate!
Thinking of you often!

The Michiganders said...

What a tough day. Your ability to show gratitude for blessings when you are suffering is beautiful.

Your words really touched me as I just celebrated my anniversary on the 19th. You were on my mind that day. I really wanted to appreciate it--because you are right--we never know what is ahead.

Thank you for lifting me.

Sasha Fisher said...

I love the way you started this posting with a scripture. It puts everything into perspective. Though life is sad at times eternally it is joyous.

Joann said...

I still love the candid ones where he is so adoring of you! I jsut had to see them again!

Guy said...

I ran into your blog after seeing Mark Larsen's for the first time today. My family and I have been living in Wisconsin for a few years now and I hadn't heard of your loss until reading your blog just now. I used to be very close friends with Aaron in Jr High and it is hard to imagine him gone. I am so happy that you two found each other. You have a beautiful family and are blessed to have them for eternity. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for you.
Your Friend,

Tawnie said...

I love you Leslie!!! This was beautiful. Happy Anniversary!

Marc and Megan said...

My heart is so touched by these photos, your words, and the amazing love that you and Aaron still share. This is such a beautiful celebration of your eternal bond. I am convinced that Aaron was missing you today, too. He is looking forward to being with you again soon. Thank you for sharing your story... it is helping me to be more grateful for every day that I have and the small blessings that come.

Please know that you're always in my thoughts and prayers.

The Heiners said...

Happy 'eternal' anniversary to you, Leslie. What an amazing blessing for you, Aaron and Aaron Jr. to share. Your family is still very much intact. I enjoyed seeing the wedding and engagement pictures. Neither of you have changed much, still beautiful.
You are handling this 'first' very well. I hope you were able to celebrate, although you deserve to miss Aaron with everything you've got. I can imagine that you look adorable smiling through all those tears. Thinking of you often.

April said...

I'm glad that you were able to celebrate the day (though very hard)... I believe that is what Aaron would wish for you to do! I'm sure he was in heaven celebrating it too.

Jyl said...

Oh I love your wedding photos! You look absolutely stunning,... like always really... But What a cute wife you are to surprise him with the ford cake.. your adorable, its no wonder Aaron couldn't live his life without you!