He and his wife celebrated another anniversary. The years are passing but they're still so few compared to the lifetime together we shared.
We were fortunate. We were. Even with the early parting, we were still given many years and great memories made together; choices and possibilities, errors and regrets -- yes, those too.
Maybe it's a need for the closeness shared.
Perhaps it's returning to the joy of special occasions where dancing was part of the celebration.
I say "think" because we experienced a fire and lost almost everything we owned when we were married seven years. Fires are horrid.
Walking through the ashes tears you apart. We were fortunate no lives were lost and as with so much of our life, picked ourselves up and began again.
Back to the dress and coat.
My "date" was supposed to drive me to the little shop to pick up the dress that was being altered. As I would discover through the decades of married life, he would sometimes forget, often to my frustration and yes, even anger. Seems small now, that anger; seemed big at the time.
He forgot. Completely. Totally. He called me on the phone that night and received a very "cold" reception.
Today I can say he was honestly confused; he'd really forgotten. To me then it was a major event; the dance was the following day and I wouldn't have time to pick it up so I'd walked all the way there and splurged on a cab for the return because I had this long, flowing dress to carry. No cell phones in those days. No way to reach him.
Compounding the "situation", I asked him if he'd forgotten to do anything that day and he paused, thought a minute and said, "No, I went to all my classes and came home and took out the trash. No, nothing. Why?"
Of course, to me, the mention of remembering to take out the trash at his shared apartment was too much. He could remember the trash but not remember the dress I needed for the dance?
Memories. The good. The bad. The movement back and forth, around, twists and turns, fast and slow. Like a dance. One you create as you move through life.
Yes, I remember dancing at our wedding, at our 25th wedding celebration with friends and family, at events celebrating life and amazing celebrations with our children.
And, I remember our last dance.
In a hall we returned to in celebration of one of Mom's sister-in-law's major birthdays -- turning 90.
I'd danced there as a child. Family gatherings.
My uncles playing musical instruments and singing. Country music; country songs; country dancing. Some I enjoyed; some I walked outside to avoid.
Cousins now with their own children and grandchildren. Mom seeming to be enjoying herself and everyone amazed at her "ability" at such an advanced age, older by several years than her sister-in-law.
My husband said he wasn't feeling really well. He'd had his first trip to the ER and short hospital stay.
We didn't know this night would be our last "dance" together.
I admit, I've always loved to dance. Our song was played. The one we danced to at the college Newman Center where we'd met. Johnny Mathis' "Twelfth of Never".
I begged him to dance. We stood and held one another for a few minutes with the familiar melody bringing back so many memories.
Then, he begged to sit down; he couldn't stand any longer.
His weakness increased and the following day we went back to the hospital and started our journey down the last road we went down together.
Life is a dance. Sometimes slow; often fast.
We dance together, we dance alone.
The notes can be high or low.
The tempo varying or sometimes too familiar.
We write the music and sing the song along with moving our bodies with the melodies we create.
The Dance of Life continues for some and ends for others.