My parents would have been married 60 years today. Here they are, my mother laughing as she makes her way carefully down the rain-slicked steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, my father grinning, too. A rainy wedding day supposedly presages tears throughout the marriage, a prediction that came sadly true in my parents’ case.
I’ve often felt a tug of envy when friends describe fêting their parents’ milestone anniversaries with gatherings for extended family, gold decorations, laughter, toasts, displays of old photos, and tears. Both my parents are gone. But even if they were still here there would be no celebration, because they divorced after 26 years of alternating emergencies, grief, and estrangement.
I like to believe that somehow we are all joined together one day and that we will know each other again. So today I’ve been musing about what kind of conversation my parents might be having in the beyond. It’s a gauzy vision—I don’t really have a set idea of where they are or how they would get there. I picture them as civil and stiffly polite to each other, carefully inquiring after each other’s health but skirting all the mines that could detonate in recrimination. But I’d also love to imagine them laughing as they are in this photo, all the old sorrows fallen away, sharing stories and memories of sweet times, few as they were.