First Anniversary

Tomorrow is my first wedding anniversary–and also the first anniversary of the last full day I had with my son.

To celebrate like the schmoopie romantics that we are, Renee and I are going to drink peach bellinis made with unopened wedding champagne, feed each other the wedding cake she saved all year in our freezer, and enjoy a few surprises along with the chicken marsala dinner we’re planning.

Marking the last-day-with-my-son anniversary is going to be harder.{01380890-E5AF-47CF-8B69-E3D3E8DA6F2C}

I’ve accepted that our wedding memories will always have this shadow over them – not because Kyle was there (because of course I’m thrilled he was there and that everyone was able to spend the day with him). No, I am haunted by how I treated Kyle that day. He was sweet and patient with me–and visibly anxious to please both me and Renee, to do a good job with the tasks we’d assigned him, including planting last-minute flowers in the yard and serving as DJ at our do-it-yourself wedding. But I was wound tight, worrying right up to the last minutes over dozens of details involved in throwing a party for 100 people. I fixated on the stupidest things and came down the aisle 45 minutes late because I couldn’t figure out what to do with my hair.

Despite this, our wedding was all we’d dreamed; we were giddy with pure joy – and so so grateful to everyone there witnessing and celebrating our pledges of love and helping to put the wedding itself together. But when the music died in the middle of our reception because D.J. Kyle hadn’t plugged the laptop in, I should have just laughed and helped him find a charger. Instead I was snarky and sarcastic with him when he raced over looking for one.

I’m sorry, Kyle, that I only started talking to you with pure love and no criticisms now that you’re dead.

The heaviest fear I carry is that seeing me marry Renee might have given Kyle some kind of permission to relapse.  He loved Renee; he made a beautiful toast about our love and how much it meant to him to see me so happy. But I secretly fear that seeing me “taken care of” and in love gave him permission to give up; he started shooting heroin again within a day or two.  Then again, I hadn’t just gotten married all the other times he relapsed, so perhaps the two events are unrelated.

Meanwhile, there’s Renee, who couldn’t have known on our wedding day what this first year of marriage was going to bring.  I wish it had been otherwise, but here we are.  She’s been extraordinarly sensitive and supportive. And to paraphrase Sinatra, if we can make it here, in the land where sons die, then we can make it anywhere. Congratulations to both of us for making it through year one.  Happy Anniversary, baby.

Author: Lanette Sweeney

Mothering adult children is hard. Being an adult child isn't easy, either.

5 thoughts on “First Anniversary”

  1. No matter how much we “know ” it’s not our fault, we’ll always “know ” deep down it is. I’m sorry that these two major life events are forever entangled. But having a supportive person by your side must have been a blessing. Congratulations on your anniversary and may you have many blissful years together.


  2. So, so lovely, Lanette. I am so sorry for this forever loss — and so, so happy for the Love you create and sustain with Renee xo


  3. I feel your pain… I excluded my brother from my wedding due to his previous drug problems, and he died 10 months later. Whether our beloveds are invited and absolutely cherished, invited and mildly snarked at (even for a little moment and a totally valid reason), or not invited at all, when they are gone, there is the deepest pain, and the worry that whatever we did or didn’t do somehow affected their choices…I’m so sorry…


  4. I just keep thinking of all the things I should’ve said — or not said — or done — or not done. I hate that we have no do-overs. I want Kyle here to comfort me & I’d know now what I could say that I didn’t. It doesn’t matter how much I want him here, death is so f***ing final — it just sucks! I miss you Kyle! You were the best grandson I could’ve ever wished for! I’ll love & miss you forever & ever! Grandma


  5. Wishing you love and happiness on your first anniversary and many more years ahead. Kyle could not have gotten a better and more loving family – mom, dad, sisters, grandmom, etc. How can we understand addiction?


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