8,395 Days

That’s how many days I have known Ben.  (Give or take a few days for Leap Years, and then of course there is the fact that he died 47 days ago so I suppose I should subtract those days too.  But I digress….)

I know that it has been eight thousand three hundred and some odd days, because it was this exact day 23 years ago that I landed in Regina at the RCMP Training Academy and promptly met the love of my life.

That morning looked something like this …

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Yup.  Thats me.  Twenty two years old.  Swearing to serve and protect the good people of Canada (not to mention jumping for joy at the knowledge that I would be earning a whopping $31,172 per year. Canadian dollars.)

That afternoon I hopped on a plane and landed in frigid Saskatchewan where I was immediately introduced to my “Big Brother” Troop which happened to be … Troupe Douze.  Ben’s troop.

Within days, this picture was taken …

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Followed shortly after by this one …

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(I’m pretty sure I was not allowed off base when this picture was taken, but Ben was a bad influence and he was very good at sneaking out without getting caught.  He was the one that taught me “If you don’t sign off of base then you can’t forget to sign back in.”  Seemed logical at the time, and I never did get caught).

That picture was followed the next year by this one …

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And these …

Those two were on the cruise ship on our honeymoon.  We had to take them of ourselves.  I love how we always posed.  We laughed a lot together – he really was my best friend and there was no one I would rather be with.

And all of a sudden in the blink of an eye, twenty three years have passed.  We have three beautiful children and we have loved each other even when we couldn’t stand each other. There was never any real question that we would “love, honour and cherish until death do us part.”  I just never imagined that the “death” part would happen before our 22nd wedding anniversary.  In fact, I’m more than a little annoyed at Ben today because he promised me he would live until he was 100.  Literally.  He actually promised me that several times over the duration of our marriage.  And I believed him too, so today I am calling him out as a big fat liar.  (I feel like he is standing behind me as I type this, with his hand on my shoulder, smiling that sweet smile of his and chuckling as he always did. I cannot stay mad at him.)

Today Raegan asked me to pick her up at the Save On mall after school.  When I pulled up, feeling rather gloomy and missing Ben on this 23rd anniversary of the day we met, there stood our beautiful daughter holding out a Starbucks upside-down-long-pour-Americano for me.  Just because.  And I was reminded how grateful I am for the fact that I had Ben for his entire adult life, and now I am so fortunate to be blessed with these pieces of him.  I have so much more than so many others.

Ben, I miss you more then I could ever adequately describe, but these three young people help take the sting away like no one else but you ever could.  Thank you for them.

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