Tuesday, July 27, 2010

18,250

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Eighteen thousand two hundred fifty. That's how many days you'd have been married if you celebrated your 50th wedding anniversary.

18,250!

Recently I attended a golden wedding anniversary for dear friends and I have to say, they are the happiest married couple I know-- And I'm blessed to know numerous happy couples. But this couple is special.

She was 19, he was 21 when they met for the first time late one night, both pacing the halls of the surgery wing at a local hospital. She was having her appendix removed the following morning and had a bright future ahead of her, including her lavish wedding that was all set to go in three weeks. He was in much more serious condition and was having surgery to remove a particularly nasty form of cancer. His prognosis was grim.

They talked and walked the halls for hours. When they said good night they wished each other luck and that was the end of it.

But it wasn't.

Within days she called off her engagement and cancelled the already planned, very large, wedding. She believed that, if she was spending all her time thinking about a man she'd just met and barely knew, she had no business marrying someone else.

He survived surgery but was wildly sick. Months passed, and with a lot of networking and finagling on her part, eventually she and her parents were invited, through friends of friends of friends, to his parents house for dinner. It had been six months since that night in the hospital.

And their romance began.

Clearly there was a deep connection between the two but countless people, including his doctor, were absolutely adamant that she stay clear of this "dead man" as they repeatedly referred to him. But they had a love that rose above all the negative and believed whatever time they had together was better than none at all. So, with doctors telling them he had less than two years to live, they joyfully married.

From day one, they lived life in the moment-- And continue to live and live and live, never taking a second together for granted. That's how they've been successfully and happily married 18,250 days and counting.

Live in the moment-- It sounds so easy as the words roll off my tongue. But, in actuality, it's not always so easy-- At least it's not for me. But I'm getting better at it.

Maybe it's because I'm on the south side of middle age. Maybe it's because I've lost so many people recently. Maybe it's because I'm learning the playing field of life can change on a dime. Or maybe it's because I know I will never reach 18,250 days of marriage and want as many happy days and years with my husband as I can get.

Time and experience is teaching me that staying present-- in the moment-- is the best way to minimize regrets and appreciate my very content life and happy marriage.

Beloved and I married too old to ever reach the 50th anniversary milestone. Then again, I'd like to think we were old enough and wise enough when we married to appreciate our days together-- every single one of them.

When I spend time with our friends who have navigated through their tremendously successful 50 years of marriage, despite the monumental medical odds being again them, I am reminded to reset my "live in the moment" mindset and focus on being present in my life, my marriage and my relationships with friends and family.

I'm surprised by how emotional and sentimental I've become as a result of the wonderful anniversary party Beloved and I attended but I'm happy to say it reminded us both how much we cherish one another.

Cheers to living in the moment my friends.
Welcome to www.TheFiftyFactor.com - Joanna
Photo Credit: © Dmitry Ersler - Fotolia.com

71 comments:

Flartus said...

I am hoping both my parents stay healthy to enjoy their 50th in 6 years! Their marriage, while not idyllic is definitely built for the long haul. I'll be thrilled that my dad will have made it through some pretty daunting odds. I sure hope they're looking forward to it, too!

deb said...

oh, and how you made my day,
just lucky to be on here now and carry this with me.
this hope and faith.
beautiful story Joanna.

Eva Gallant said...

What a wonderful story!

Mari said...

That is a wonderful story! And the moral to it is just as good.

Kristina P. said...

I was just thinking about how much I still have fun and love my husband. We are nowhere near 50, but hopefully, we'll get there!

lisleman said...

You said this very well. People should not get so focused on counting a number off. Time is a strange thing that can seem to hold still when someone has a hold on you.
It's really what goes on in those minutes rather than the number of them.
The expression "Time of our lives" doesn't describe any set duration.

TechnoBabe said...

Very nice post, a loving tribute to your friends and a reminder to all of us to live in the moment and cherish what we have. What a great beginning for your friends to find love and to get married with the odds against their having much time together. Ha. They made their own history. I truly love stories like theirs, thanks for the special post.

Sassy Pants Freckle Face said...

that is wonderful!!! I can only hope,...

Bernie said...

I loved this post, it is so uplifting and gives every married couple hope and help for a better future.......:-) Hugs

Brian Miller said...

what a beautiful story...i love hearing how people came together and to hear how long they have been together is inspiring...

jillsy said...

now, that is obviously an example of love at first sight! how romantic and wonderful that their time together has lasted way longer than they ever expected.

Big Pissy said...

What a lovely tribute to your friends.

I so enjoyed reading that post. :)

Chris H said...

When Stew and I married, many people, including his parents.. were totally against it. I was a divorcee with 4 children, and we had just had our own first baby.

It is now 23 years later, and another 3 kids added to our brood!

We are blissfully happy with each other, and the 'doubters' have had to eat their words.

I loved the story of your couple... how gorgeous are they!

Thanks for the timely reminder to live and enjoy every day, and every special person in one's life.

{{{HUGS}}}... and that includes you, you are one of my special friends too.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Now that's what I call LOVE! She gave up a large wedding, planned and ready to go and he looked beyond his prognosis. That's a happy ending story for sure.

I hope that you and Beloved have a million more days together.

Lisa said...

That is a beautiful love story. My parents just celebrated 50 years in March. It was something to see as their friends and family gathered to wish these two people who don't really like to be the center of attention a happy anniversary.

Tammy said...

Oh Joanna, that was the most beautiful story. It just brought a tear to my eye. My hubby and I try not to take any of our days for granted, he is 20 years older than I and we've been together 27 years, I don't know what the future holds, but 50 years is probably not in it for us either. Thank you for sharing that!!

Fireblossom said...

"Two lovers entwined pass me by/ and heaven knows I'm miserable now"

--Morrissey

I think people like that only do it to annoy me.

mizzmarycontrary said...

Beautiful story! DH and I were married when he was 21 and I as 19. God willing, someday that will be us celebrating our 50th!

Jeanie said...

Several things in the last few weeks have brought the advice of this post to the forefront for me. Thank you for your wise words that will help me to remember to never take a single day or a single loved one for granted.

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

What a great post! :-)

Joy said...

What an inspiring couple. I'm so impressed she followed her heart and did what she did. I can't imagine how hard that was to call off a wedding like that.
Our Sunday Paper has been doing interviews with couples that have been married 40 plus years and I have really enjoyed reading their stories and how they met.
One couple had been married 60 years. He said he just lets her do whatever she wants and he goes and watches Gunsmoke. So cute. It cracked me up.
♥ Joy

Ina in Alaska said...

Very wonderful post and testament to two people working through huge challenges and the marriage enduring for 50 years and counting. Congratulations to them!! I feel like that "template" for a successful married life such as they enjoy no longer exists in these days.... sigh..... xoxoxo

Joanie M said...

What a lovely story!

I, too, will never see 50 years of marriage. John and are both now on the back end of 50 and, if we ever got married, we'd be lucky to have 20 years.

I did manage 8411 days of marriage.(I'm counting my marriage as being over the day I found out about HER, even though we lived together as man and wife for another 50 days... I bet she doesn't know about THAT). I guess that's good in this day and age, although I was really striving for 18,250 days and counting.

Webster said...

happy, happy day
fifty long years together
a marriage complete

angelcel said...

What a wonderful love story. Isn't life odd? Given the circumstances (her imminent marriage, his extremely poor health) and their chance meeting 50+ years ago, it's clear that they were always *meant* to be together. I wish them health an happiness for many years to come. x

ladyfi said...

What a wonderful story - such courage on the part of a young woman; and determination to live on the part of a young man.

My own parents hit their 50th anniversary a couple of years ago...

Betty said...

We plan on celebrating my parents 50th anniversary this year. It´s really a big milestone and deserves a celebration. Although there have been many hard times they have endured and I´m proud of them.
I loved reading this about your friends. They really set an example for us to follow. Great post!

RNSANE said...

Joanna, that was such a beautiful and loving post for your friends. It touched me deeply. You are a wonderful writer and I enjoy reading anything of yours but this, especially, touched my heart. I am going to forward it to my newlyweds. I pray that they will have fifty years of this kind of love and happiness.

Debbie said...

I'll be at half that number of days next year! I certainly plan, the good Lord willing, to make it to my 50th.
This story was so beautiful.

slommler said...

I just celebrated 36 years with my best friend. I must admit that I don't remember to live in the moment but I am getting better at it. And not to sweat the small stuff!!
Cheers to your friends who have loved and lived the 50 years together!!
Hugs
SueAnn

pita-woman said...

I remember going to my maternal grandparents 50th when I was a kid. When they passed away (exactly 1 year to the day from each other), I think they'd been together 64 years (maybe more, can't remember).
My dad's parents... sadly, Poppy died 3 months before their 50th.

I feel fortunate in this day and age of disposable marriages, to have made it to 22 years (next month). I just hope we live long enough to reach for 50.
Sweet post!!

VM Sehy Photography said...

What a lovely story. Wouldn't it be wonderful if more marriages lasted as long. I do believe that the key is not to take your spouse for granted, but it is difficult. When you know time is short, it brings that moment to moment living into sharp focus. The trick is to find that focus despite the everyday routine lives that most of us live. Technically we don't know what fate holds and no one is guaranteed a certain number of days, so none of us should take anyone for granted, yet as the days pass on, and we come to believe tomorrow is a given, we begin to lose that living in the moment focus. Being married for 18 years, does not guarantee me another 18, and I hope I treat my husband like I know that. With any luck, in another 32 years, we too, will be celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary.

Willoughby said...

What a truly inspiring story, and you've written it so beautifully. Destiny certainly had in hand in their lives.

Happy 50th anniversary to your friends!

Nezzy said...

What a true love story that's lasted 50+. We all just need to live in the moment and cherish what we have.

God bless ya and have a wonderful Wednesday sweetie!!!

gayle said...

Life can change on a dime and that scares me so much!!!!! This year I will have been married 40 years. So hard to believe!!! I too need to live in the moment!! Maybe I should get me a plaque to remind me!!

Canadian Blend said...

Very inspiring!

My parents hit the 50-year mark last May.

I'll be 98 if my wife and I make our 50th. She'll be 92. We'll likely have white cake with white icing to celebrate -- it's both our favorite.

Cathy Clementz said...

You always come up with the best stories to share with us. I hope one day you can make a swing by OUR way when you are headed for an Ohio visit. I think I could spend hours in your company just listening to your family tales. You usually manage to tug at a heart string or "resurface" a couple of things that I haven't thougt about in ages.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

How beautiful! I always think longevity of marriages ought to be celebrated more than weddings. GETTING married is easy. STAYING married, now that is special.

anne h said...

Love this story - love the way you tell it, JJ!

Lilly said...

Awe, that was beautiful. Remember it's quality over quantity. And you have that by the sounds of it. Your friends relationship was fate clearly, lovely love story.

Shrinky said...

What an amazing story! Seems like you have your priorities worked out pretty well, too. However much time you and your beloved spend together, sounds like it's going to be a quality, happy time. (smile)

Katherine said...

Beautiful, gorgeous post :)

Happy Thursday!

K xx

Mr. Stupid said...

This was a beautiful story. It's always inspiring to read about people who have been together for so long and lived happily.
Have a nice day...:)

The Empress said...

sigh,you and i both.

we didn't marry till 35, we'll be 85 if we live for our 50th...

maybe, could happen.

very sweet. i hope you can show them this post somehow.

Daryl said...

Love this post .. tomorrow, July 30, ToonMan and I will celebrate 11,680 days, at least 11,670 have been perfect and the other 10 werent all that bad; we're too old to reach 18,250 together and I dont want to think about any number of days without him... so living in the moment is excellent advice! Thanks for the reminder, Joanna!

My name is PJ. said...

my in-laws were married 67 1/2 years when she died. Amazing to think about.

I'm on the south side of middle age too....and lately it's given me pause for thought. I know our husbands are both older than we are. Lately, I don't like the odds of mine going first.

Cam said...

TOMORROW IS THE DAY...

I am shipping the mats. They are all boxed and taped and they will be on their way.

I am so thankful for your patience and kindness, and all those awesome words you've shared about Steph.

Much love, Cam

Sarah said...

He hon...I loved that..how beautiful is that!! Funny how things work..when you really follow your heart and soul...it all follows the right direction in the end. Congrats to them..and to you hon and your DH...it's not the number but the quality that counts!
Hugs and love, Sarah

Unknown Mami said...

What a beautiful story!

Jayne Martin said...

What a very lovely tribute both to your friends' marriage and to your own. I love that refer to your husband as "Beloved." Wishing you many, many happy "moments" together.

Bossy Betty said...

Sweet, sweet story. Thanks for sharing it with us!

Lisa at Lil Fish Studios said...

Truly a moving story. You're right, it's not so easy to live in the moment all the time but it really is important to have some of those moments. Thanks for sharing this.

beth said...

what a fantastic love story....and how smart she was to trust her gut and call off her original wedding plans...

my parents just celebrated 50 years, too and the hubster and i have our 26th this year.....lots of hours and days and years together...

anybody today, in love....is so incredibly lucky :)

Aleta said...

What an incredible story! OMG, I had tears in my eyes. This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing their story and yes, it is a lesson to live in the moment. I need to remember that too. It's hard to do sometimes. They sound like a blessing!

Ms. Bake-it said...

What a fabulous love story! I love to see and hear about marriages that have beaten the odds.

You are right, it is not always easy to live in the moment, but as I get older, that is what I try to do. I may not always succeed, but at least I am trying.

I wish you and your Beloved many more years together filled with love and joy.

~ Tracy

Hilary said...

What a beautiful story and wonderful tribute to your friends. Wise advice, this living in the moment.

Delena said...

We will be celebrating our 42nd anniversary this coming Feb. We beat all odds I believe. Knew each other 6 months to the day and he just turned 19 and I was 17. Life has blessed us with 3 children and 7 grandchildren.

otin said...

Sad to hear you say that you can never reach your 50th. That kinda makes me think about my own mortality!

Michelle said...

Wow that was powerful. I hadn't ever figured out how many days that was, and I can only hope to be happy iwth my husband after half that! The thought gave me goosebumps. I'm with you on living in the moment - and on needing to work on it!

CatLadyLarew said...

My mother died recently, just one week shy of my parents' 60th Wedding Anniversary. Instead of mourning her loss, we celebrated their anniversary with my dad at the beach. Blessings to you and Beloved on your years together... may there be many more!

Kelly H-Y said...

A tremendous and inspirational story and post! Congrats on your POTW!!

DG said...

50 years is utterly inspiring and such a beautiful journey for a couple :)

dreamzz12{at]aol{dot}com

Janelle said...

Beautiful story. Sure would like to win this giveaway!
Best wishes.
Chanticlear1@gmail.com

Zuzana said...

This post blew me away, so beautiful. I do not how I missed it the first time around. What a lovely romantic and sensitive recollection of love and what love means. How a connection is created in the most unusual ways and in the most unexpected moments and how true love can last 50 years and beyond...
Congratulation on your POTW nomination, so well deserved.;))
xoxo

Cricket said...

Hi Joanna - Great post and congratulations on the potw.

My wife and I have a slight chance of making it to 50. I'd be in my 80s... the family average isn't good on that.

We used to teach pre-Cana with a group of wonderful couples. One of them used to introduce themselves saying: We've been married for twenty wonderful years... we'll be celebrating our 40th anniversary next year.

Pauline said...

It's wonderful what faith in love can do! A toast to "living in the moment" is never amiss. Lovely post.

Hilary said...

Wow, what an incredible story. Thanks for sharing that.

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Beautiful post! If I got married right this second, I may live to see my 50th anniversary. But I'd probably have to give up beer and ice cream, so what kind of quality of life would that be?

Moannie said...

Blooming heck! Over 18 thousand...we've done 52 years and it seems longer than that...only joking.

Congrats on POTW

Eddie Bluelights said...

Great story Joanna.
My wife and I celebrate our 38th anniversary in March so we have a long way to go to 50. I think she deserves a medal (and so does she LOL).

Congratulations on POTW at Hilary's. You know me, always the last to find out LOL.

Marla said...

What a beautiful post!!