If my Dad were still alive my parents would be celebrating 65 years of marriage today. What a number, what an achievement.
This is the first year that Mum hasn't mentioned Dad and their anniversary. She no longer mentions Dad at all. I think whenI noticed this I finally realised that we'd lost her and that there was no going back.
I remember their 25th wedding anniversary – the Silver Wedding. 1970, the decade that taste forgot. A big party in our local hotel. All their friends and all the family gathered to celebrate the big event. Gifts, so many shiny silvery things. I was ten years old and was dazzled by it all.
At this time in life my brother and I took piano lessons. I should say Colin studied piano and did rather well at it. I proved to be tone deaf and a pain in the ass to the long suffering Mr morris who tought us. My music books were full of his irate scribblings instructing me to "practice", "try harder" and "make an effort". As Colin was rather good at the key tinkling Mr Morris decided it would be a great idea if he played at Mum and Dad's party. Obviously I couldn't play, but hey, why not have me sing!
Now if you know me at all you'll know this is a real no-no of an idea, I can't carry a tune in a bucket far less present it on stage. Anyway it was all deemed a "great idea" and after much practice the great day dawned.
Amid all the glittery silver ribbons and decor, amid the friends and family, amid all the hoopla, we performed (for want of a better word) my Dad's favourite song "Nobody's Child". The irony that we were both adopted and one of us had always known that they were there just to make up those crutial 'boy and girl' numbers, meant nothing. It was only years later that this came back to haunt me again and again.
Anyway people survived the performance and I have always maintained that NEVER would I get a child of mine to perform like that. I cringe if I go to someone's house for supper and they wheel out their kids like performing seals to entertain and impress. Really don't do it folks, unless you have a budding Barbra Striesand living under the stairs a la Harry Potter, leave this form of entertainment well alone.
Moving on up the years to 1995 and their Golden Anniversary, 50 glorious years together. It was a much calmer, more restrained and thank God quieter event. Mum, Dad and Colin came through here for the weekend and we went out to a fabulous restaurant for a really special meal.
The photo above was taken in Spain a few years after, actually I think it was in 1999. It shows a bond, a love, a togetherness that they always had. Ok they bickered all the time, which was something I loathed and swore I would never live with. In fact when my own marriage fell into the bickering mode, that's when I knew it was time to call it a day. But they seemed to thrive on it and had a very happy relationship. They were peas in a pod, they leaned against eachother, one taking up the slack for the other, a good ballancing act.
When Dad died in 2005 my Mum lost her anchor, he strength, her reason for being. When she moved from the big house and all it's memories she lost her direction and everything started to unravel. Every year at this time she would remind us that it was the anniversary, she would smile and shed a few tears. Colin and I would take her out and have a small celebration for her to remember her love. This was always important to her.
This year there was no mention of Dad, of dates of anything. It is now the past, religated to memory land and old journals.
But today I shall bake a cake and Idgy and I will remember just what day it is. I will raise a glass to the happy couple, because Mum is still here even if only in a shell of a body, tiny and crumpled and a shadow of her former self.
love Karon x