No matter how old I get, I love birthdays and anniversaries. I don’t mind getting older, and I consider every year my husband and I celebrate another anniversary, a milestone, and an affirmation that I have succeeded in this area of my life, despite all of the naysayers who predicted my marriage wouldn’t even last six months… Okay, in reality, there was only one naysayer who made that prediction, but at the time, she was the most important person in the world to me, besides my husband.
The naysayer I’m speaking of is my mother, and I can’t help the feeling of joy and triumph I experience every year, when my husband and I celebrate another anniversary. I think that’s why this, our thirty-third anniversary so devastatingly disappointing. In fact, it was the worst anniversary celebration ever…
At approximately 1:00 a.m., Thursday, April 10, 2014, I was awakened by severe pain in my left shoulder. I was unsure what had caused my pain, thinking, “This is weird.” Then, almost immediately, the pain spread into the center of my chest, causing me great discomfort. The squeezing pain in the center of my chest, combined with the sharp shoulder pain, made breathing difficult, and I looked upstairs, where my husband was sleeping, only to realize I was much too weak to try climbing the fourteen steps that led to our bedroom.
As I continued to look upstairs, I shouted for my husband, but my normally loud voice sounded very frail and weak. I had to yell several times, but finally, thank God, my husband heard my cries and came downstairs to see what was wrong. After discussing what to do, we both agreed that I should go to the hospital, just to be on the safe side.
Therefore, after getting dressed, we got into the car and made our way to the hospital. Jokingly, I said, “Happy Anniversary,” to my husband, though, at that moment, neither one of us felt very happy. The truth is that I was terrified I was having a heart attack, and that I might die, and that fear was made worse, because this was my anniversary!
This was the day we were supposed to celebrate, because our marriage not only hadn’t failed, it had thrived and survived thirty-three years! In fact, just a week before, I had met an older couple who told me they were celebrating their sixty-fifth anniversary, and I remember praying that my husband and I would live long enough to celebrate sixty-five years together. Now, it seemed as though that dream was in danger of failing. Not only that, I lost my mother just fourteen months ago, and I’ve had a fear of dying ever since she passed away.
When we arrived at the hospital, they immediately took me to the back, running various tests to determine if I was having a heart attack. Thankfully, after all of the tests came back, it was determined that I had not suffered a heart attack on my anniversary. It was determined that my pain was probably caused by muscle spasms in my chest and back.
The heart doctor also stated that my heart is in excellent condition, and that there are no blockages anywhere. This good news gave me much joy, and a good reason to hope and believe that thirty-two years from now, my husband and I will celebrate sixty-five years of wedded bliss, and hopefully, it will be a much more joyous occasion than this anniversary was!
Cheryl A. Showers