Couples who have been together long enough to look back over a period of more than just a few years all have specific tales to tell. Sometimes the stories are humorous, or not. A pursed-lips recount of travel plans gone awry or an unlovely vacation may feel scratchy, depending on the outcome.
Bouts of physical/mental illness or other challenging circumstances represent trying time for both parties, and I’ve heard it said that what appears to be a trivial incident long after is sometimes the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
When a marriage break-up occurs, it’s devastating – from observers’ points of view. A lot of tongues wagging about he said, she said… I knew it wouldn’t last… and sometimes astonishment - “they’re the last ones I ever thought this would happen to!”. Stories abound and surface from abundant sources; and opinions vary widely. Eventually the dust settles and the survivors each try to find their own way in a world they aren’t knowledgeable of. Resolution can be happy, sad or desperate.
A couple well-known to me seem to have weathered a lot of storms, a May-December marriage which presents age-related challenges for both. The wife chuckles about “grumpy old men” and he grumbles when things aren’t going his way. The restraints of longevity bring impatience – as it goes with many people there is a time when they just don’t want to bother or be bothered.
My own husband and I were recently chatting about well-meaning eulogies often heard at a funeral or alternatively, a celebration of life. Looping DVD collections of photographs are sometimes projected on a large-screen monitor, or easel-mounted collages displaying memories of happier times.
The task of composing and delivering an overview of the person’s life and accomplishments is not to be taken lightly – it can be daunting. Not only is there the challenge of maintaining one’s composure at a stressful time, the listeneners are attentive and hanging on every word! It feels important to speak kindly lest there be any inkling whatsoever of any less-than-loving remembrances.
I think that a celebration of life feels less somber and cloying. Snuffles are less audible, feelings of shock or dismay may be less intense and there’s even a possibility of jovial laughter when “Remember the time….” starts a conversation.
Stormy weather is seemingly less memorable when the clouds have passed.