I was reading the Wedding announcements in Sunday’s New York Times because I assumed they would be cheerier than my daily dose of obituaries.
My habit of reading the obits stopped immediately when Jimmy died. The
words literally took my breath away. Like smiling, though, my urge
to peek in returned a short time later.
I used to, as my father would say “make a big production” out of reading them
out loud to Jimmy each morning right after our horoscopes, the weather
and The Lockhorns.
We felt sorry for the dead person because his options were over. The
grieving family was a far away concept then so we glossed over the survivors
and zeroed in on the age of the deceased.
We concluded that if the majority of deaths were over 80 all was right with the world and our personal day would be a good day. If someone our age or younger died we considered calling in sick and taking to our bed. Nothing bad ever happens to you safely tucked in.
But, Sunday, it was all about weddings. The pages in that section are filled
with photos of young women and men eager to commit and older folks vowing to love, cherish and learn from their 3 previous marriages that “ended in divorce.” These days gay couples are also included. They’re determined to announce that they’re just as entitled to be legally bound (and gagged) as straight couples.
The common thread of newlyweds is hope and expectation. In all holy unions Cablevision will never conk out, but God forbid it does, the Cable guy will show up between the hours the office said he would.
We begin our married lives entitled to have it all. Why should bad things happen to us? We’re good people. So what that in High School we told our gym teacher we had cramps when we didn’t. Who wants to shimmy up and down that stupid rope?
A few years pass and life’s been rolling along sans disaster so we increase our cockiness. The babysitter looked a little stoned but we already had a dinner reservation so off we go…all’s well that ends well.
We’re not perfect, but our lives should be. We tell the world in the New York Times that we’re forging this incredible life together. We come from Queens or Long Island, but from this point on we will be living in Fairybook land.
The vow we made “Till death do us part” is heartfelt. We enthusiastically mouth those words. This is our forever partner. We will always feel as if our heart will burst at just the sight of him.
Divorce is not in our future. Death is decades after we dance spryly at our grandchildren’s weddings. We’ll take photos with our great-grandchildren after their college graduation and our gift to them will be a check for law school. We plan to attend that ceremony, too.
We’re not greedy. We simply know in our hearts that we will both die in our sleep at age 95 on the exact same day.
Neither of us will live a single minute in this world without the other. It’s unthinkable for either of us to experience the crashing blow of loss, the loss of our life partner, the loss of life as we know it.
Life is unfair, but not to us. We’re special. But, where did we come up with this idea when UNFAIR is written clearly in the obituaries?
We must be touched in the head to imagine that we will never be touched by life.
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