Yesterday was our 14th wedding anniversary. We had already celebrated last week so there was no need for a celebration yesterday. Unfortunately we had to attend a wake last night. The wake was for someone we didn’t know but we are friends with one of the family members.
We arrived at the funeral home and were immediately escorted into the chapel and were told we had to wait in there because there were 100 people waiting to see the family before us. It left me thinking…wow this woman must have been someone really special…because there were so many people there. It made me wonder if I have made enough of a positive impact in my life time that people would come and say their good byes to me. It also secured my thoughts that I really don’t want a traditional funeral or wake. Although my daughter looked at me like I’d lost my mind when I told her this, I have not been more certain about much else in my life like I am this. I want Trevor and the girls to have a “party”. No balloons or streamers but a celebration of my life in a gorgeous little restaurant with character. Have you seen the movie “P.S. I love you”? At the start of that movie they show a funeral just like the one I want except I want photographs everywhere. I want the girls, Trevor and my friends and family to bring their favorite photographs of me and me with them and put them up everywhere for everyone to see. I want everyone to eat and drink and be merry. I of course would hope there would be a few tears shed but more smiles and laughs would be appreciated.
I knew nothing about this woman until we got close to our turn because that’s where they had the scrapbooks and photographs. I quickly learned she has three teenage daughters. Three very beautiful girls in the prime of their life, now without their mother. I met the girls briefly as we walked through and shook hands. I couldn’t help but picture my own girls and hoping that they won’t have to be standing there for a very long time, when they are grey and old would be a good time. That way I know I have lived long enough to get to thoroughly enjoy them and watch them succeed in life. And I know I am not leaving them behind at a time when they still need me.
I watched the husband shake hands with people ahead of us. He hugged alot of people and shed alot of tears in those few minutes I watched him. He kept looking over at the coffin and then would have to wipe away his tears. I shook his hand and gave him my condolences. As we passed him I over heard him speaking with the person behind us. He said something that almost brought me to my knees. He said to the woman or man behind us “Ya I guess I have to find a new card partner. I will put her picture on the table with us so she can watch but I need a new partner.” It brings tears to my eyes even right now while I’m writing this. This man has lost his best friend. The woman he has shared his whole life with and his card partner. Playing cards was probably one of those things that was “their thing”, the one thing they always did together. I reached out for Trevor’s hand. That moment reminded me of just how lucky I am to be celebrating my 14th anniversary with the same man that I have shared everything with. The man who knows me better than I know myself and the man who can finish my sentences. I panicked and tried to think about whether we have “a thing” and realized we don’t have just one thing, we have many things…movies, going out for wonderful dinners, our cozy home, our family time…and the list goes on and on. Does he know that and appreciate all those things though? The next question on my mind. That question was answered on the way home when him and the buddy we went with were talking about their Christmas party and how they both can’t wait to just get home after the party is done. They always rent a hotel room but they are both always home by about 6:30am because the only place they want to be is home. Would Trevor miss me like this gentleman is missing his wife right now? I’m sure he would, as much as I would miss him. Although neither of us are very good at showing it sometimes our lives would not be the same without each other in it.
The mood suddenly changed as we reached the friends we were there to see. Did I mention this was a firefighter friend? If any of you are friends with fire fighters or have a fire fighter in your life you know their sense of humour doesn’t get shut off…ever…even at a funeral. That minute and a half of laughter reminded me of how grateful I am to be a part of the fire fighter family. The fire department family is one who supports each other when times are tough and are always there to make you smile even when you think you’ll never find your smile again.
We arrived home late. Tucked our girls into bed and then cuddled up and fell asleep. I woke up this morning feeling so grateful to be alive this morning and so grateful for the health and love of my very own little family. Although attending a wake wasn’t exactly what I had planned for my anniversary I think it was the best gift that fate could have sent my way last night. I think I received all the little reminders I needed today.