Yesterday Thing One's aunt and uncle celebrated their 66th Wedding Anniversary.

Wow.  66 years.  Huge.

Where'd they spend it? His aunt is in hospice - she was somewhat aware, but who knows how much sinks in with the morphine drip and all.  His uncle was sitting there, all alone, when we walked in.

Watching someone go through hospice is never easy, even less easy is what the family goes through.  No one should be alone during that time, and if there's a significant day (like an anniversary or a birthday) it's even more important that someone else is there to share it.  Celebrating 66 years together when one partner is in hospice? I can't even begin to imagine what that feels like.

Heck, I can't imagine being that committed to someone for that long.  They've been married longer than any couple I've known (my parents will hit 55 in August), and in this day and age of easy divorce it'll get rarer and rarer for couple to reach that many years together.

There's a saying that no one knows what's going on in a relationship except for the two people in that relationship.  So who knows how many sorrows and problems they've had over the past 66 years.  And who knows how many joys they've had.  I can imagine that one of those was not having children; I hear that they took in many of the neighborhood kids, giving them a place to hang out and share their lives when home perhaps go to be too much.  They have (between them) eight nieces and nephews, and through Thing One's family 16 greats, and 7 great-greats (with one on the way).  At least 10 (including partners) of those have visited over the past 24 hours.

It takes a lot to last 66 years together.  It takes even more to imagine life beyond that, with one partner gone.  I'm holding both in the Light, hoping that their commitment to each other lasts just a little longer, and that the end is as painless as possible for both.


Concertgoing 101

The other night Thing One and I went to a concert. It was a jazz/blues evening, not a rock concert, held in a smallish performance space.

Looking at the others in the audience, it became clear: some people simply don't know how to act at, or dress for, these events. As a public service I'm providing some tips.

It's not a rock concert. Dress up a little. That means "business casual" or "good jeans and nice top" not "ratty t-shirt, cargo shorts and Birkenstocks".  Do you have a "tramp stamp"?  Cover it up.  The people in the row behind you shouldn't be able to tell what color your thong is.  And as proud as you may be of your concert T from 198? for a famous rock band, leave it at home.  This isn't to suggest coat and tie, or cocktail dress and heels, but, you know, look nice.  Show some respect for the players and the other members of the audience.

It's not your living room.  In other words, keep your comments to yourself.  There were two couples ahead of our row who talked and talked and talked.  The gentleman immediately ahead of us actually did quiet down when I mentioned that I, too, was enjoying the vibraphonist and would enjoy it even more if I didn't have his commentary.  The second couple, on the other hand, couldn't manage to stop making out and chatting throughout the entire evening, despite two other people asking them to please - for the love of jazz, please - be quiet.  I even suggested that I could teach them how to whisper (because, as a librarian, I kinda know how to do that).  No luck.

Everyone got that?  Dress nice, and be quiet.  Simple really.


Meeting Musings

There's a moment when I'm travelling up to the boarding school I attended when, through the trees, the Tower appears. For years (since I was 14) that sight has brought about a feeling of "home" for me: there, within those gates, is where I "live".

In all the years since, I've never felt that anywhere else.

 Until this morning. Because of the Big Life Change, I haven't been able to attend Meeting. This week was the first time I could get there since last August and I have missed it. Something was definitely missing from my life. And as I made the turn to go up the driveway, I felt "home". Same feeling I've gotten on that other drive, different place.

Sadly, that home may not be there this time next year. We are a small Meeting, with only a few members, and of those few, one is definitely leaving. I can't get there frequently. Another has health issues. In Quaker-speak, we're starting the conversation about laying the Meeting down.

Words can't express my feelings right now, except to ask that you hold us all in the Light.