Our 31st Anniversary

We hit the milestone 30-year anniversary last year. The 31st anniversary seems a bit anticlimactic but I still want to express to John in some way how much he means to me, so here’s this year’s effort.

He never imagined he would get married. He was a confirmed bachelor to everyone who knew him. But one of his famous sayings was also, “Never say never.”

What I remember the most about our wedding is him looking down at me with his blazing smile and the bluest eyes I had ever seen, and saying without any hesitation:

“I Do.”

I was the rattled one, cotton mouthed, and as I spoke my vows I could see the minister slowly lean in a bit after every sentence.

I asked John many hours later why he didn’t seem the least bit nervous. I mean, be honest – wasn’t he just a little terrified by the prospect of marriage? You know, the “Til death do us part,” “forever and ever,” and all that?

“No,” he said. “I have a wife now and I’m completely happy!” He genuinely seemed so delighted that I had to laugh and promptly forgot all my jittery questions.

Many years and three children later I wanted to start my own dental practice. It was the early 90’s – long after the country made great strides in enacting equal rights for women in the workplace. I went to the bank to secure a loan expecting it to be a fairly easy transaction. The bankers were adamant – John had to co-sign the loan. Since I was legally married, he had to agree or the financing was a no-go.

American Cancer Society's "Courageous Kids" day at Great America
American Cancer Society’s “Courageous Kids” day at Great America

At the bank they handed us a stack of papers and explained that John would not only have to sign but he was required to be the lead signor – even if we divorced, declared bankruptcy, or I never had even one patient walk through the door, he would have to pay all the money back. Every cent and interest. I wouldn’t have blamed him for bolting out the door at that point – I almost did.

I whispered to him that if he was scared or had any regrets, we could just say we changed our minds and walk out. He looked at the mound of paperwork and said:

“Where do I sign?”

My dreams became his dreams. They were just as important and exciting to him as they were to me. We shared the risk and the worry – and marveled in the successes.

We faced our greatest challenge when a relentless, and ultimately victorious, cancer struck our only daughter, Kate. The fear was crippling and the pain and sorrow overwhelming as we struggled to be strong for our children.

John and our daughter, Kate during her treatment
John and our daughter, Kate during her treatment

“No matter what happens, we’ll get through this together,” he said.

When one was weak, the other seemed to rise up and gain strength. When I felt too exhausted to take another step or was weak from giving blood for transfusions, he was there to prop me up, let me rest, and remind me over and over that we were in this together.


No matter what.

30 years later he still embodies all of the traits I hold dear. He’s a promise-keeper, a grudge-forgiver, and a truth-teller. He reminds me to take life less seriously, to have much more fun, and to worry a whole lot less.

He’s my daily reminder that no matter what we’ve had to endure, I’ve been incredibly lucky in love.

Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge
Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge




10 thoughts on “Our 31st Anniversary

  1. Wow, this had me in tears this morning. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story about your marriage (as well as about your children and your chosen profession). I love that your husband reminds you “to take life less seriously, to have much more fun, and to worry a whole lot less” and that he is your “daily reminder” of your life’s fortune. It would be hard to ask for more than that! Congratulations on your 31 years together!

    1. Hi Paula, Thank you for your touching comment. He really does remind me to soak up the good in life and discard the rest. Of course, I don’t always listen but I try! I’m sure you could tell which one of us is the “glass half full” person and which one of us is the good cop in “good cop, bad cop.” It’s always him.

  2. Julia,

    Happy 31st Anniversary to you and John!! So beautifully written and yes you and John are so lucky in love. Best wishes for 31 more years.

    All the best,

  3. Happy Anniversary Julia and John! Your blog speaks to what real love means. Congratulations!

    1. Hi Maureen, Thanks for your kind words. I’m sure this post resonates with you because you have the same kind of relationship – with the addition of many beautiful grandchildren!

  4. Julia and John, I am so blessed to know you 2 lovebirds. The words that always come to my mind when I see or read about you are:
    Victorious, every curve ball thrown at you has missed! Those curve balls have been too many but the 5 of you see it and let it pass.

    Promise: From the promise of forever love and family. To your the sad little house that needed TLC you made it work.Put some paint here and a patch there and a kiss and prayer. Voila it’s home. Now you have your palace on the hill.

    Challenge. Fill in the blank. No matter the challenge you two look it in the face and hold on.

    Pearls. Pearls of wisdom. Katie wearing pearls with her fancy dress on Kevin’s baptism. Elise wore mine. They looked like angels and danced around like one.

    Beautiful. Both of you. You inspire me. I wish you much love on your day. Bless you my friends.
    Love always.

  5. You’re amazing! I love your words…and how you stood by each other during the most tragic and harshest of times. You are both angels—-just loving each other and your family, children, and anyone you meet! Inspirational. ❤️

    1. Hi Megan, Thank you so much for your kind comment – and for visiting and reading the blog. We miss you guys – and there’s another little Fahey to miss! Julia

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