top of page

Almost 4-Year Wedding Anniversary

"Grief is the last act of love we have to give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love.” - Unknown

Visiting Atlanta Sept 8-10

Warning, another "all over the place" post. But first, for those of you still reading and are in the Atlanta area, I'll be in town to visit Teri at White Chapel Memorial Gardens on our anniversary. No set schedule for the weekend as of now. I would be grateful to meet up with anyone interested, whether in a group or one-on-one. Feel free to text me, and we can arrange something that works for your schedule.

5 Month Milestone

As I sat down to dinner with some dear friends this past Saturday, it caught me off guard that it had been five months since Teri's passing. While I often put on a brave face when I'm with friends and family, the truth is that these months have been tougher than I anticipated. I don't really know what to say besides I'm hanging in there and share whatever is on my mind. I wish it was easier to just be myself and not be OK in the presence of people and instead, use this blog as an outlet. It's when I return to an empty home without Teri is when the weight of her absence truly sinks in.


Another realization that struck me during this period is that it's the longest I've ever lived alone. While I'm a strong introvert and need alot of alone time, I sure miss having roommates. I've had roommates throughout college and my post-college years. Even during my time in India at 26 and when I bought my first home in Brea at 29, I always had someone to share the space with—until Teri came into my life.

Brief Trip down Wedding & Anniversary Lane

When friends visited me after Teri's passing, I would share a slideshow of around ~200 cherished photos, beginning with screenshots of how we first connected through her eHarmony profile that I shared in my last post. The last photo would be with me after her funeral that I shared about on this post.


Before I would start the presentation, I would share our wedding highlight reel:

While I love sharing this and watching this most of the time, showing the video was always the most difficult part of the presentation. Sometimes I would go to the bathroom or clean the kitchen so I don't have to watch. Sometimes I would just stay there.

Year 1 - 9/8/2020

Teri and I agreed early on that birthdays and anniversaries weren't about grand gestures. Looking back, I wish we did a little bit more. We were also not really "gifts" people and didn't get too excited about trying out fancy restaurants. This definitely made my life easier.


On our first anniversary, we celebrated by going to our favorite place—Costco:

Costco in Yorba Linda - 9/8/20

Even though everything is way more expensive now, I still love Costco. Our weekly trips here held a special place in our routine, one that I dearly miss. We often purchased the same items, but found it surprising how the total bill remained nearly identical week after week (this now seems silly now that I write this all out). Occasionally, we would venture into buying something new, especially when items were on sale. Sometimes I would get away with purchasing things we absolutely didn't need, like the three giant Squishmallows in our living room. Despite our best efforts, the bill seemed unusually high for just the two of us.

As time went on, the Costco routine started to lose interest. I'd sometimes suggest to Teri that she should go on her own, attempting to find excuses to skip the trip. It was then that I learned the hard way that she would return with far more items than our usual shopping list.

Shortly after we got married, I decided to cancel my long-standing Costco membership. There was no need for two memberships when we always went together. Unfortunately, this also meant I had to present a death certificate to Costco in order to transfer her membership to my name. I distinctly remember the moment when I informed the associate about Teri's passing, and her genuine concern and empathy deeply touched my heart.

I also recall the three times I went to Costco with one of my close female friends since Teri's passing. These trips were filled with mixed emotions. It was comforting to walk up and down the aisles with someone, reminiscent of the times Teri and I used to do the same. Occasionally, we'd come across items to share, as purchasing them just for ourselves felt excessive. Later, we'd return home, put everything away, and cook some of the food for dinner. I would make a similar meal that I would make for me and Teri. These outings served as a reminder of the bond Teri and I shared, and the love and friendships that continue to sustain me on this grief journey.


I guess my takeaway is to embrace both the milestones and routines you have with yourself and/or with your loved ones.


Year 2 - 9/8/2021

In our second year together, a work-related business trip briefly separated us, but here's a photo of us, looking somewhat cheerful as we made our way to everyone's favorite airport to drive to during rush hour, LAX. While we didn't typically make a big deal over these milestones, Teri wasn't thrilled about my temporary absence that could not be postponed for a later date. However, our story took a turn for the better when we realized the incredible support and love that surrounded us. Thankfully, we had amazing friends like Melody who celebrated our anniversary on my behalf. It was a testament to the support and love that surrounded us:

Reflecting on our second anniversary, it's true that I often allowed work to consume too much of my time and energy, a recurring theme in our marriage. Balancing work and personal life was challenging, primarily due to the cost of surrogacy, which was a significant financial commitment. However, as time passed, we found ways to navigate this challenge together, discovering a deeper appreciation for the moments we shared.

Year 3 - 9/8/2022

On our third anniversary, I couldn't find a photo of both of us on that day. Life was busy as I prepared for my upcoming half Ironman. It was a reminder that sometimes, we get so caught up in our routines that we forget to capture the moments.

I remember the conversations we had before I signed up for the race. Teri always wanted me to race, she new how much I loved it and how a race was an effective way for me to keep up a training routine so I would stay in shape. She shared her concerns about me being too consumed about the race, especially when it came to beating my friends. I took competition way too seriously. While everything worked out with the trip and we all had fun, I still wish I spent a few seconds on our actual anniversary day taking a photo of us.

Year 4 - 9/8/23 (to be continued)

I'm writing this post as I am en route to Atlanta. This past month has been filled mostly with anxiety and sadness because I'm making an entire trip by myself to celebrate my anniversary and not knowing what to expect. Why also couldn't I put this much effort when she was here? I also had moments recently about not going, primarily due to work and being exhausted from having to travel. Thankfully I'll be there soon and look forward to seeing Teri and spending quality time with her (and some of you).


Have a great week and weekend,

Erwin


209 views13 comments

Recent Posts

See All

13 Comments


Seulhee Lori Nam
Seulhee Lori Nam
Sep 12, 2023

Happy Anniversary, Erwin! Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts and fond memories with Teri with all of us. They truly humble me and inspire me to appreciate everyone God placed in my life now. You must be back to Irvine now. Praying God that He will meet all your needs (especially the void and loneliness you might feel in the empty house) today and for the days to come. May He bless you with extra comfort, peace, joy and renewed purpose! God loves you and He has you in His hands. You were greatly missed at church last weekend. ❤️ Lori


Like

Emilyn Edillon
Emilyn Edillon
Sep 12, 2023

Happy Anniversary. You guys had an amazing wedding and happy that you were able to make both of your dreams come true that day. I was inspired by that special day that you both put so much hard work into.


I remember a few months before the wedding, I was so happy when Teri asked me to be a bridesmaid. Even though I didn't know anyone at her bachelorette party, she always made me feel comfortable and naturally included me with all of her Georgia friends and family. It was so special to see her sister Khoa plan the trip to perfection including an "adventure theme" which is very Teri + so many fun games and outdoor water activities which…


Like
Erwin Edillon
Erwin Edillon
Sep 12, 2023
Replying to

Thank you Emilyn! I was sharing in Atlanta with my friends about your Korea trip and how thankful I was for both of you to experience this trip in 2022. Hope we can visit Atlanta together In the future.

Like

clzing
clzing
Sep 09, 2023

Erwin, thank you for sharing. I hope the trip to Atlanta continues your healing journey. :) Coni

Like
Erwin Edillon
Erwin Edillon
Sep 12, 2023
Replying to

Thanks Coni! So nice to hear from you, hope you’re doing well. Thanks for following along on this journey.

Like

It made me smile to see these photos and watch the video. Praying for the Lord to be especially present with you during your time in Atlanta.

Like

Foley Ma
Foley Ma
Sep 08, 2023

Happy anniversary. Thank you for sharing it with all of us!

Like
Erwin Edillon
Erwin Edillon
Sep 12, 2023
Replying to

Thanks again for spending your Saturday with me! Keep sending photos as you come across them.

Like
bottom of page