Marriage in Vanuatu is done in 3 (main) parts: the spiritual/personal, the legal, and the kastom or community acknowledgement. We didn’t know that before we left for the Peace Corps, but that’s pretty much what Jason and I did. We signed some papers for the legal piece, and talked through our own personal piece. Then we left for the Peace Corps with a promise to throw a party when we came home.
Two years ago yesterday Jason and I threw a damn good party. If I had it to do again, there are certainly things I would have done differently, but fundamentally, it was the party we wanted to throw. And at the end of it, we considered ourselves married (“all the way this time”, or maybe it was “again”).
If you asked Jason when our wedding anniversary was, he’d tell you it was June 13th. If you asked me, I’d ask you which anniversary. Yesterday was either our two year anniversary, or this week was our nine year anniversary, depending on how you count it. August will mark twelve years of this relationship.
I cried a lot yesterday. I didn’t think yesterday was going to be that hard. Harder than another day maybe, but not that big a deal. We, well I especially, never put much stock in anniversaries. Dates don’t stay in my mind, and honestly they seem a little arbitrary. The paper signing happened this day, because that was the day we could get everyone in a room. The party happened this day, because that was the date the Saturday fell on and when the venue was free. The dates that feel important to me are the ones on which we talked about our future, the first time he said I love you and the first time I said it back, the day he decided to go into the Peace Corps with me, and the day we got our acceptance letters. I don’t remember those dates. I remember those moments, but I can’t tell you the date on which they happened.
I have a new date to add to my list. April 30th is both Jason’s birthday, and his death day. I shouldn’t have trouble remembering it. I don’t know how to celebrate it, or mourn it. I guess I will take that year by year, just like I’ll take each of these anniversaries year by year. It almost makes me regret getting married twice. Almost, but we had too much fun for any real regrets.