Tonight I will toast the anniversary of a couple who has been married for 40 years. 40…it is touching and in some ways rare in today’s culture. I am delighted for this couple who have had children, grandchildren and fruitful careers and now are settling into retirement together. They have faced the death of parents, cancer diagnoses and remission but have done it together with each other by their side. But I feel a bit sad as I think of this momentous event because it is also a wedding anniversary I will never myself see. Because today is an anniversary for me too, three months since Wesley died. And I don’t want to toast that with champagne.
Wesley and my wedding was my affair. Well me and my mother. He patiently nodded as we picked out different china than he wanted, switched the grooms cake from a personalized caricature of Wesley’s World, his editorial column in college to the much more elegant grooms cake of chocolate ganache with sugared fruit. But he made all of these concessions because we had the secret pact that for our 10th anniversary we would do it up the way he wanted. He would get to have all those fun and quirky elements and we would invite the old friends who watched us become man and wife as well as new friends we had made as our lives together blossomed. Those old and new friends were there three months ago when Wesley died but it was a very different occasion than we had planned.
Our 10th Anniversary will be next April and I will celebrate that date because we are still married, just separated from one another right now. And tonight I will smile because Wesley would have loved to toast to this union we are celebrating. He would have squeezed my hand under the table as we imagined ourselves together years from now being the ones with children and grandchildren. And he would have been happy. Now I am happy for us both.