In Sickness And In Health: The 3-year “Heavenly” Anniversary of my husband, Jim Patrick Gainey

Today, January 11th, marks the three-year anniversary of my husband, Jim’s passing.  As many people feel when they’ve experienced great, life changing loss, it feels like an eternity has passed – while simultaneously feeling like it was only yesterday because the memories from that day are so clear. In the weeks and days leading up to the anniversary of Jim’s death, I replay details of those days in my mind.  Those days were filled with begging God to wake us up from this nightmare, and to heal Jim…but knowing that this was not going to happen; to make his passing as peaceful as possible, and to give me the strength to care for the boys the way that he would.

I clearly remember on January 8th, 2016, picking up my oldest son, Shamus from school early that day. We were meeting our parents, priest, hospice social worker, a photographer, and a videographer at our house so that our priest could perform the anointing of the sick and renew our wedding vows.

I am forever grateful for these memories, though they are equal parts heart-wrenching and heart-warming. I am thankful that our boys could witness their parents renewing their promises to God and each to other, even while knowing that we only had days left together. In my experience, as a widow of three years now, my vows to love, honor and cherish Jim continue beyond his death. I will always love Jim. Our children will always know their father and will know that they are his “pride and joy”. I miss him every day.

Now, I am remarried. To a wonderful man. A man who loved my Jim, too. Prior to Jason and I dating, I asked him why he wanted to get to know me and he said “You are the link to the best friend I lost touch with, and wish I hadn’t “. I can’t even imagine being with someone after Jim who didn’t know Jim; someone who wouldn’t want to hear all of my “Jim stories”, who would try to separate my life with him – from my life with Jim. – Jason, I thank you for being exactly what my heart needed.

While these days and memories can take me back to the pain and bring my grief to the surface, I would rather have had Jim’s love, shared our life, in sickness and in health, and carry him in my heart for the rest of mine, than to have never known his love at all.