On July 17th, 1999, Jay and I got married. He was 26 and I was 28. Jay's hair was more pepper than salt at the time and his looks always reminded me of George Clooney. Being among the first of our friends to get married, it was a big wedding on a hot summer Nashville day with lots of friends and family that went late into the night.

Yesterday, without intention, I gave myself an anniversary present from Jay. A few months ago, I  put his collection of music onto a hard drive and yesterday I finally downloaded it to our computer. At first it said there were 2000 songs but as they were downloading, the number kept increasing.

The last I looked it said there were over 21,000 songs. Jay loved to have so much music at his fingertips. Before bluetooth, he managed to figure out a way to import all of his music into his car so he could listen to it while driving. He especially loved to make playlists when we had company over and was the guy friends called when they needed a playlist for a party. I guess you could say he was the "Playlist Master."

It felt like the floodgates of the seventeen years opened as I scrolled through song after song after song. It was not one song that hit me more than another. It was all of them together and as I listened to bits and pieces of many of his songs, I was hearing Jay's playlist over the years of music he loved and played for me either in passing or repeatedly in a window of our life. 

"Can we hear that song again?" I would ask until our next song we became addicted to would come along. We would blast it in his car and both sing and once we had Zoe and Simon, they joined along.

I was always self-conscious about singing in front of anyone and Jay is the only person I ever could sing in front of even when he and the kids would sometimes laugh at me when I got a little too bold. I was so self-conscious in many ways when I met Jay and from my voice, to my body, to my brains; it did not always feel easy being me. When I met Jay, the insecurities Junebug had been carrying with her for a lifetime began to melt away.

I am not sure what magic happened when he came into my life. It felt like his tug to my heart pulled me from the sky into his arms where he unconditionally held me and then onto my feet where we walked together. Our walk was not always in sync and not always perfect but he helped me find the ground that had always been beneath me. We walked together as husband and wife for almost seventeen years. I miss walking with you, Jay. 

Goodbye below by Eddie Vedder and beneath is a slideshow I made from our wedding.