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Until Death Parts Us

Those were the last words I can remember hearing as 20 year old single, civilian  woman.

And I recall standing by the alter, looking at my fiancee and a tear falling down my face.  Because for the first moment in my life, that phrase "until death parts us"...  It all made sense. It was one of those singular moments of clarity you have as a human. One of those moments,  Where in one single fleeting second you feel as if you understand the universe, only to find yourself feeling lost in the next breath...

The Pastor marrying us standing before us, my roommate standing at my side, and a friend of ours from high school standing at his.  My bridal bouquet modest, and spilling with daisies, and roses, and carnations. 

A 5 year friendship, and a 15 month romance.  Nine months of that spent on different parts of the globe.  My  fiancee, had spent those 9 in Desert Storm with the 82nd Airborne division.  From August 1989 until April 1990, he had spent living in sand.  No e-mail, no regular mail service, 3 disconnected, and brief  phone calls (which amounted to almost $700). A letter sent to my parents asking for my hand in marriage, and a hand written proposal of a marriage we had talked about before he had left.   Weeks would go by with no mail, and then 10 dust covered envelopes would arrive.  Care packages sent and not received, lost somewhere...

And this was the one moment I had waited for.  You see  upon meeting him at the age of 14, I knew I would marry him someday.  It was simply a matter of convincing him.  I had convinced him. 

So,  I watched Desert Storm unfold with a heavy heart.  Unsure of what was happening, and while I attended my liberal arts college during the day, hearing professor after professor "talk" about the war all day, I would go home to watch it unravel on television, and I would fall asleep on the couch.  Only to wake up and do it again the following day.  Wondering if he had gotten to shower, or wash clothes.

The empty handed mailman hated seeing me stand  by the row of apartment mailboxes.  He  would not look at me, when there was no mail.  When there was mail, he would hand the stack of letters to me, and he would smile.   

I would watch the oil burning, and I would see the night vision green hazy coverage, following the men of the 82nd, and I would look for a glimpse of him.  I needed to know he was OK.  I would call his Mother, and we would say, "was that him?  Did you see him?  I thought that might have been the back of his head?"

The war ended, and he flew up from Fort Bragg to Omaha Nebraska.  The drive was long, and I cannot recall the drive to Omaha....as I am recalling events of the day.  I can tell you what I wore, and that it took me all day to get ready.  I borrowed a blouse from a girlfriend.  I wish I had that blouse. 

And in that pre 9-11 World, I could meet him at the gate.  Eyes flooded, and wide, and I saw him.   Older looking than his 22 year peers , brown from 9 months of riding on a Sheridan tank, thin from eating MRE's.  And beautiful.  He was the most gorgeous person I had seen....

So when the Pastor said "Until Death parts you"...my World stopped. 

I stood, hearing the rain on the roof of the church, and looked at my soon to be Husband in the eyes, so he knew I understood what that meant.  Everything around stopped in time but our eyes and the sound of the rain. 

And I recall a thought in my head...Death.  Death will part us, and one of us will be left alone.  I prayed at that moment to God, please let it be when we are old....

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