This is something I've been pondering recently. I have to look on my 10 years of marriage to Hillary as a successful marriage. It ended the way we vowed it would, "As long as we both shall live."
So I've had a successful marriage. That's great. But what was great? What was successful? Since this whole project is reflective and selfish, when was my happiest time in this marriage?
I think I have that answer. 2010, our second year in the green house. This is hard to admit.
This period of time was before kids. It was before we would make many of the friends I now have in the Lower Mainland. It was before Carina Place and the home we built together.
We would be settled by early 2010, the roughest part of the transition to the west coast would be over.
My responsibilities were to work and have fun with Hillary. My favourite memory of the drinking buddies aspect of our relationship was a night in January 2010 in that house. We were there during the 2010 Winter Olympics.
We had close friends and family members visit us in White Rock that year.
We went to Ontario twice and Whistler twice that year. I raced my bike and won for the first time.
We had a small garden and ate yellow broccoli flowers on salad when we forgot to harvest it soon enough. I got to know my parents again after living across the country from them for ten years. Hillary got to know my parents well.
We would house shop and find Carina Place that fall.
I feel guilty as I'm saying that my happiest part of my marriage with Hillary didn't include my kids. But we had less than a year at Carina Place before Isaac was born. Hillary was diagnosed and died before I had changed my last diaper in that house.
The kid induced sleep deprivation ended mere months before her diagnosis.
I think what most complicates this for me is how many of my favourite pictures of Hillary and our family came from late 2015 to 2017. I think Hillary and I were running headlong into a new golden age for our marriage. Then the diagnosis came.
Still, there was no cancer in 2010. No grief in the green house. Just two people working towards a common goal. Working towards loving each other more and building up something for the future.
I'm not sure if I'm trying to justify it to myself. I'm not sure if I need to explain myself to anyone else. It is what it is.