Posts Tagged ‘father-in-law’

December 15 is the anniversary of the marriage that no longer exists. The marriage no longer exists because the husband no longer exists, having died eight years ago, which begs the question: does the anniversary still exist? Or perhaps the question is, how do I acknowledge its existence? 

In a parallel universe, one of those infinite dimensions that split off at each major event and form the “what-ifs” of our lives, I might be planning a dinner or a getaway for the two of us. My mind turns that way from time to time. Such magical thinking, as Joan Dideon has named it, is inevitable. It’s a coping mechanism, one that changes form and purpose over time.

Last month my father-in-law Pete turned ninety. From a legal standpoint,  he is no longer my father-in-law, but such definitions often prove to be utterly inept when it comes to describing the ties that bind us. He is an amazing man: tall, trim, and upright; still exercising, making minor repairs, or running food over to shut-ins during the holidays. Writing to thank me  for a gift,  he closed:  “When people ask me how I’ve managed to reach ninety, I tell them it’s all smoke and mirrors — and it is!”

JimPete94 Pete and Jim, 1995

 Smoke and mirrors and the “what-ifs” are represented by those parallel universes we can’t see and can’t know, notwithstanding quantum physics and fervent believers in alternate realities. In another universe, I would be celebrating with my tall, strapping husband, he from such long-lived and healthy stock. Or perhaps not. If one thing changes, so does another; change has consequences. Events set off other events: illness or injury, trauma or death, disappointment, division, good fortune or incidents that affect those closest to us. The road keeps on dividing and subdividing. 

In an alternate reality…ah, but I don’t live there. Nor do I any longer live in the past I can’t change or the future I can’t know. In the here and now, I am, if not deliriously happy, at least profoundly grateful for the opportunity to have married and loved. So I’m going out to dinner with my sister, who was extremely close to my husband. After all, he was and will always be her favorite brother-in-law.


Read Full Post »