Celebrations are supposed to be celebratory. But when these special days come around and are weighted with great memories from the past—memories that remind you of how much you have lost—things get complicated.
Birthdays for instance. Once a loved one dies, do they still have birthdays? The first year after Bill’s death, his birthday fell on Good Friday. So in addition to the complicated emotions that I felt about not being able to celebrate his birthday as we had for the 33 years that we had been together, the spiritual significance of the Easter weekend added even more weight.
Pride is another example. We always had big Pride parties in our home in the Toronto gaybourhood on Gay Pride Weekend. Maybe sometime in the future, I’ll be able to return to that tradition but I sure don’t feel like it yet.
Let’s try our anniversary. Pow! From the beginning, we had chosen to use the day of our first romantic date to mark as our anniversary as a couple. Our thirty-third anniversary fell in the middle of the two weeks between Bill’s diagnosis with pancreatic cancer and his death. We acknowledged it, in a way, as he was slipping away. But we certainly had no grand fiesta with many guests as we had thrown preceding years.
Like I said, celebrations are supposed to be celebratory, but for some of us, well…
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August Farewell, my memoir of the two weeks between his cancer diagnosis and his death interspersed with vignettes from our thirty-three years together as a gay couple, is available through http://amazon.com and other on-line book retailers.