Tomorrow is our four year anniversary. It feels like forty years; for so many reasons. The story of Ryan and I meeting and “dating” is a complicated one. We entered the relationship equally broken, but in different ways. I had a history of bad relationships, and he had a history of drug abuse. A match made in hell. As it always goes, our relationship was perfect for the first couple of years. Hopeless romantics. Meant to be. So in love. Our wedding day is a day I’ll never forget. I quickly disregarded the idea that marriage would be really hard work. I knew we would have our issues and disagreements. I knew we would have obstacles to overcome. But I was not prepared for the pain ahead of us. In our four years of marriage, Ryan has battled drug and alcohol abuse. I have battled severe anxiety and depression. We’ve fought our way through trust issues while Ryan started his path to recovery. We’ve had a miscarriage at 6 weeks of pregnancy, which caused us to then worry excessively throughout my pregnancy with Ava. And then, we lost her too. Marriage hasn’t just been hard — it’s been painful, exhausting, lonely, anxiety-stricken, and scary. I am, in no way, saying that Ryan and I haven’t had our share of good times. We have. Honestly, our marriage isn’t much to blame for the hell we’ve been through. It’s the way our lives have unfolded. Some things have been due to our own choices, but others have been completely out of our control. There have been days, weeks, months even, when I have wondered how we were going to make it through this life together. Miraculously, we’ve made it this far. I can’t imagine anything else could break us, but I won’t challenge God to that. I remember telling Ryan that I knew God wouldn’t let anything happen to Ava because he knew we had been through enough and he wouldn’t possibly think we could handle any more pain. I was dead wrong. I will never again believe that anything “couldn’t possibly happen to me.” I hate when people say that all of this heartache will “only make us stronger.” Our strength has been tested enough. And I don’t really believe it’s made us stronger in a sense of going on with life and getting through things easier. It’s just made our marriage unbreakable. I can’t tell you how many times Ryan and I heard that people who go through the loss of a child almost always get divorced. It’s written in books; I’ve seen it. That statement is literally the most insane thing I have ever heard or read. If I didn’t have Ryan helping me through all of this, I would lose my mind. If there was ever a perfect person to go through losing Ava with, it’s him. He is patient, loving, selfless, and so strong. He’s not ashamed to cry with me, but he’s also the first person to pull me back up when I’m losing my grip. He loves our daughter as much as I do, and it’s more than obvious. I’ve never been more thankful for him in all of our time together. It’s hard to remember the blessings in life after all of the pain. I don’t think either of us are in the mood to celebrate our anniversary, but I couldn’t not take a moment to be thankful that Ryan is still right by my side, loving me through it all. I love you, Ryan. I could never put into words how much love I have for you and our beautiful Ava Mae.