You know how I have two aunts named Joyce, right? Well, had. My father’s sister, Beautiful Aunt Joyce, passed away last June, remember? That’s not the great news. No, the great news is, you’re not going to believe this... her husband, my uncle John, is getting married tomorrow.
I know! It’s tempting to rush to judgments and assumptions. Like jeez, couldn’t they have waited at least a year and he probably had her waiting in the wings. On that second count, I assure you nothing could be further from the truth.
Joyce and John got married on June 3, 1967; my sister Lori and I were flower girls in their wedding. They were 21 years old. Joyce died 2 days before their 42nd anniversary and I can tell you no man ever demonstrated more devotion to his wife than John; he couldn’t have been more loving in his care for her during her illness. Here they are when Lori and I visited at Christmas 2008.
That was Joyce’s last surge of remission; soon after she had surgery to combat the cancer that had spread to her brain and after that she never regained her footing.
Shortly after Joyce’s death, John told me that he’d lost his parents nine days apart and had attended his brother’s funeral just two months before Joyce’s, but nothing could have prepared him for the loss of his wife. It was hard to imagine him alone in their beautiful country home in the woods outside Jim Thorpe, PA; a house my aunt had meticulously decorated and that held her physical imprint after she was gone.
Last summer John reconnected with a former co-worker (John took an early retirement from his position as a Ph.D.-level chemical engineer), a woman named Dolores whom I believe he’d met almost 30 years ago. And tomorrow they’re getting married, on Valentine’s Day.
Too soon? Why wait, I say. Nothing is going to bring my aunt back. Joyce was truly the nicest person on earth and I know she would never want her beloved to suffer with grief. Who knows—maybe in some kind of cosmic way, she was instrumental in getting them together.
So here’s to you, John and Dolores! May you enjoy good health and happiness together for many, many years. I believe there’s an angel in your corner cheering you on.