“Shawn just told me to go to Walmart, buy a white dress, be home before 5:30, and then head straight upstairs, put the dress on, and make myself pretty.”

After hitting post, my little corner of the internet blew up.

People popped popcorn. Grabbed wine. And shushed their children. I was trending.

Facebook and I were committed to finding that white dress in September. We trudged through Penney’s where the only white frock was four times too small. We debated Goodwill, and a few friends offered to loan me one.

But then Factory Connection saved me with only 15 minutes to spare.

Then, we waited in my bedroom for nearly an hour – trying to figure out what was about to happen.

“Maybe they are going to shoot you with paintballs.”

This seemed like a strong possibility.

“Maybe it’s a vow renewal!”

“Surprise party?”

My fortieth birthday was only days away, but I didn’t think they could pull it off. Anti-technology Shawn would have to go door to door making personal invitations.

Or send out one of our birds with a note.

And right as I was about to respond to someone, I was cut off. Everything went dark.

The reveal had begun. Rather violently, I might add.

With a towel tightly wrapped around my face, Logan forced me down the stairs.

What in the world was happening?

Even in the midst of the chaos, I handed Logan my phone.

“Film this!”

Inquiring minds were out there.

Let me tell you, if there’s a way to turn it into a marketable skill, my son has a future in blindfolding people and taking them against their will.

He pushed his finger into my chest as we crossed the yard.

“Go!”

Ripping the towel from my eyes, we stepped into the garage.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!”

And my breath caught.

Friends were seated on each side of the room, with an aisle down the center.

Shawn stood pulling on the collar of a button-down shirt and tie at the end the aisle with the boys beside him.

The same man who when we walked off the stage together as husband and wife 15 years ago, nudged me said, “Whew! Glad that’s over” was about to marry me all over again.

Never mind. I should know better.

On a table in front of Shawn laid our Halloween skeleton, Wanda, wearing my favorite lavender dress. Shawn cleared his throat.

“Here lies Meg Duncan.”

My eulogy: The death of my youth.

“I was going to write down my thoughts and feelings about my wife,” he said to the crowd. “But then I realized she isn’t here to tell me my thoughts and feelings.”

And as we laughed, my phone buzzed. How was Facebook going to take this?

Would people think it was weird my husband threw me a surprise funeral (and would those people be right?) Or what if someone’s feelings get hurt because they weren’t invited?

Oh, how the obsession with Facebook skews my thinking.

My sweet little family took time to decorate the garage, make a tombstone cake, and get all dressed up for mommy’s wake. My wonderful friends sat on a Friday night listening to my husband and children roast me.

Yet here I was worried about what everyone would think, until my eyes adjusted.

Shawn caught my eye as tears filled his – and suddenly there was no one else in the room. The space between us filled with a lifetime of memories.

Our first big date at Taco Bell.

The time I donated his winter wardrobe to Goodwill.

That perfect look of both fear and joy when he read the word “pregnant.”

Jokes only we get.

Moments only we share.

And now, our hardest year yet for so many reasons, during which we’ve learned how to lean on God and each other –Shawn looked at me and choked on his words.

“I just hope she knew how much I love her.”

Right there in the middle of my own funeral, I never felt more alive. Nothing else mattered outside of what was happening right there. Shawn knew exactly what I needed; a good laugh, some sweet words, and awesome friends to party with.

You know, until around 8:30 or so. We like to be in bed by 9 o’clock. Here’s to forty.