Till death do us part

"It hurts you more if we don't do it than it hurts me if we do".

That was my Viking's practical response to my asking him to be married in church after he had asked me to marry him. Also something more practical than real romance, because he got down on his knee in a hotel in Germany. After I had casually asked him during a wedding show on the German channel the question "What do we actually want with getting married?

A smile comes to my lips when I think back. Today is the 21st anniversary of my marriage to Alwin. Not only in the town hall, but also in the church, we made a commitment to each other to spend our lives together. That is a promise you make before the law, and the law can, in principle, undo that promise. But the promise you make in church is eternal. "Till death do us part.

In retrospect, he found the ceremony in the church more beautiful and impressive than the one in the town hall. The Roman Catholic faith has many symbols and customs that can stir something in you if you are sensitive to them. Sometimes a bit stiff, but we had put our own spin on it, adding personal elements to the tight format. I think that's what made it so impressive.

When the mother of punk, Nina Hagen, sang the Ave Maria in her dark, authentic voice, a tear ran down my cheek. It was the icing on the cake.


"Till death do us part" sounds so unreal and distant when you are young. And during our marriage we actually experienced how 'for better or for worse' can work in practice. It hasn't always been a bed of roses, and it doesn't have to be. After all, life is not a linear programme, but something that comes to you in different shapes and forms. With challenges where you do what you need to do in the moment. We have been given a toolbox of skills and resources to draw from. For every moment there is something to tap into. Improvising, adapting and evolving through trial and error, and acting instantly when life is threatened. We all have to deal with it. It makes us human. Life enriches us with experiences that we can store and record in our memories. Good memories and not so good memories. Personal and general. The ones we pass on to the generations after us and the ones we received from the generations before us.

But today that one sentence, which seemed so far away then, is so close. It feels like yesterday. That's how deceptive time is. The clock keeps ticking. And yet today I am not sad. Death may have separated us physically. But love does not let itself be separated. It goes on. Love is beyond death. It is a commitment that does not have to take a physical form. Although I miss his physical presence, it is still our wedding day. I wear his wedding ring on my left finger. Behind mine. That way it won't fall off. Somehow practical.