65th Wedding Anniversary

My grandparents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this week at a nursing home in rural Wisconsin. The guests were primarily staff and residents with the addition of my mother, my younger sister, me and my three sons (son #1 of 4 is on his way to Belfast, Ireland, via Merritt Island , Florida). Cake was served with some cheese and crackers. Balloons adorned the table and a few cards were given. It was bittersweet.P1010096

Five years ago, we celebrated their 60th at the Courtyard by Marriot in downtown Springfield, Ohio. My sisters with their families and I with my three sons (at the time I was carrying #4) all made the well-traveled journey to Ohio. Along with cousins and aunts and uncles and family friends, we honored my dear Nana and Papa on their special day. The event was catered much like a wedding reception and included a wedding cake, sit-down dinner, floral arrangements and a memorable slideshow of new and old family photographs.

P1010089Much has changed in 5 years.

Now, my Papa doesn’t know who I am. He smiles the kind of smile you might give a stranger – warm yet distant. Absent is the sparkle in his eye filled with affection which has always warmed my heart and made me feel adored. For a moment, there was a sense that he is trying to remember me, but he just remained confused. It’s so strange to loose someone before you’ve really lost them.Inn1972pic1Much has changed in 5 years.

Nana and Papa came to live with my parents not long after their 60th wedding anniversary when it became apparent they couldn’t live on their own any longer. Our annual visits to Ohio have abruptly ceased, and I find myself homesick for the familiar sights and people who shaped my life from early childhood. I love Springfield with its amazing architecture and history. Even though I never grew up in Ohio, my roots are there.800px-Springfield_Ohio_c1900Much has changed in 5 years.

I knew the experience would be bittersweet. What a beautiful and rare thing to witness a 65th wedding anniversary! Yet, it was painful watching my Papa being lead around like a child, being spoon-fed and not fully comprehending the monumental event. He was the one who held my hand to lead, who bought me treats for the long airline flights home to Minneapolis, and who absolutely delighted in seeing me. Everything in me wanted to cry out, “This is not right!” I wanted the beautiful catered-meal, the wedding cake, the floral center-pieces, the crowds of relatives and the slideshow of memories. 

800px-Wittenberg_Ward_St_En_11-23-08Much has changed in 5 years.

Life is ever changing. I know the cliches, but sometimes you just have to protest. Five years ago, I bought a simple chocolate-colored dress for the party. The style of summer dress which could be dressed up or dressed down with the proper accessories. As silly as it may be, I wore that old brown dress to the 65th party this week. It was my silent protest against change, but it was also my way of connecting and making sense of 2 dramatically different events. 

Much has changed in 5 years.P1010100

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

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9 Comments to “65th Wedding Anniversary”

  1. I appreciated reading this post. My Dad died one year ago–on the 26th of June. My wedding anniversary is today–the 29th of June.

    Yes! “The sparkle in his eye filled with affection which has always warmed my heart and made me feel adored.” My dad was the one person in my life that I could always count on being happy to see me–his whole face lit up when I walked in the room. That is such a rare gift–a treasure!

    Also, this is so true for me as well: “Our annual visits to Ohio have abruptly ceased, and I find myself homesick for the familiar sights and people who shaped my life from early childhood.” My dad lived his whole life in a small Ohio town. I grew up there.

    And one more, “As silly as it may be, I wore that old brown dress to the 65th party this week. It was my silent protest against change, but it was also my way of connecting and making sense of 2 dramatically different events. ” I totally get this! Have felt the same way!

    Finally, I love the Bible verse.

    Thanks!

    • Brenda,
      Isn’t so like human nature to think we are alone in our struggles? I love what Peter wrote in his New Testament letter “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:9) Thanks for reaching out and understanding my ramblings! Your response brought tears to my eyes and a knowing smile to my face.
      Jane

  2. Thank you for writing this wonderful post for Nana and Papa! Tears are still streaming down my face. The tears are present partly because I wish I could’ve been there, partly because I know exactly how you feel and mostly because I miss our Papa.

    I miss you!

  3. oh Jane! my heart is touched by this post…

  4. Your style is very unique in comparison to other folks
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  5. Hello there! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  6. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your site?

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