My brother-in-law and his wife were married for 49 years. Within a week or so before Christmas and before he was deployed to Germany by the army, they tied the knot in a small town in Kansas. Their 50th wedding anniversary would have been this year—2012—but for the fact that the cancer he had been battling for the last year finally claimed him.
Losing a life partner after almost 50 years of living together, raising a family, experiencing the joys and hardships of the past while planning ahead for the future is devastating. My wife has been in touch with her sisters and they have devised a plan to give my sister-in-law her 50th wedding anniversary just as though her husband was there to share in the joy.
When this all began, I cautioned my wife that holding the anniversary party might be too painful for the sister-in-law, especially in the middle of the holidays and right before Christmas.
She said that the sister-in-law would be grief-stricken in any event and the party just might cheer her up. I have my doubts but there is no choice but to defer to the ladies on this one. I am very nervous about my sister-in-law's reaction during the party, but at least she will be in the company of friends and relatives.
My wife also reminded me that they notified my sister-in-law before sending out the invitations and she seemed to like the idea and was very appreciative. Regardless, I know there will be a great deal of emotional behavior and I don’t like to be around that. I have spoken to another brother-in-law and while he feels the same way he also said that the party wasn’t about us but instead about my sister-in-law.
Needless to say, after thinking about his statement for a few moments, I felt pretty selfish and self-centered. The party is coming up soon, we are making our plans to attend and selfish or not, I’m still uncomfortable about the grief we are sure to face.