|Wedding Day, August 18, 1979|
St. Cecilia's Catholic Church
39 years ago, today, I stepped out into the center aisle of a beautiful sanctuary to begin a walking toward the man I married, Kevin Charles Lancaster. I had no idea that that first step towards the shimmering blue eyes of a great, tall man dressed in a white tuxedo I love would bring me to this moment in time. A place of great love and beautiful memories of 32 years + one month of marriage before we lost him to the ravages of cancer, now almost 7 years ago. A love that would bring us three beautiful, intelligent, compassionate and just wonderful fun children, three great and loving grandchildren, two husbands and fathers added to our legacy of love and soo many wonderful friends. It all adds up to life full of wonder and a wonderful life full of love.
When I was standing at the head of that aisle, waiting for my father to walk me towards this man I loved so, I could never have imagined a life with two homes, five dogs, many jobs for him and a few for me. I wouldn’t believe it if you had told me of the trips we would take together; camping, fishing, canoeing. I dreamed we would go to the Grand Caymans, Canada to Mexico, to France where he’d met all my family, to Spain and so many more places, and we did.
You couldn’t tell me when I was about to step out into that brave, bold moment, at 21, that we would have an amazing love --a love that would last a lifetime --a love that can fill forever with beautiful, sacred memories, born in that moment on that day in the sanctuary of St. Cecelia --called home to my daughters’ baptisms and their marriages and baptisms of their children.
I had no idea of the hours I would hold our children on my breast, near my heart, in love-filled days of memories and sleepless nights of suffering. I could never imagine, the hours I would hold Kevin in my arms, in our bed, in love and in sleepless nights of suffering.
I couldn’t possibly know that I would become a widow, a widow leader and now, a widow warrior. I never dreamed I would write and take pictures and tell others of the journey from tears to triumph that this heart full of love has known. It was all real. It was all beautiful. It was all love. It is still love. It always will be love.
What I know now, today, at this very moment typing this to try to tell you what I know, is that we only have love. We only have love and each other and that is truly all that matters. If we live our lives full of love and learn to love each other, we will be successful. We will be happy. We will lead full, rich lives with purpose and meaning, regardless of anything else we think we need to have or that we think we must do. I have learned this because he taught me. Kevin loved like no other. He gave all he had away to all of us and all of us who know him, carry him in our hearts. Today and always, he is with us. As we move forward in new life, and new love, we know that he will never leave us nor forsake us, but he calls us to love. To love strong and hard, deep and sincerely and passionately. To love and to love each other. As Christ taught him, he taught us.
I honor Kevin and all our family and all our friends and all our love on this, my wedding day. I honor him and I thank him for giving me a life so rich, so beautiful, that I could do nothing less than sharing it with you. On paper with words on a page of social media driven by an invisible internet that will carry this message to your heart thru your eyes and bring you to this realization that all we have is love and each other and that we should not waste another moment fretting about something that will never matter to us some 39 years later…Truly, this is my testament to him, honoring his legacy and the life he lived. Let his love bring new life to all of us. We know he died loving us and that his loving us will always be with us and we are called to share it by loving others. It is what Kevin would want us to do. It is our message from Christ and it is certainly the legacy that Kevin left us. Love.
Happy Anniversary, baby! I love you always, all ways, Natalie