Bunny turned 70 last year (2015) and we were planning on having a party for her … that was a big deal because she hated being the center of attention and her agreeing to host a birthday party, being held for her, was quite the concession. Unfortunately, she was dead smack in the middle of the latest round of chemo treatments and she just didn’t have the stamina to put the party together or act as a cordial, social guest of honor for a full day.
So we agreed to have a “70 + 1” party this year, and she really liked the idea of just having a big “+1” on the cake and leaving the 70 part off! Unfortunately, we didn’t get there, missing by 2 months.
During the last few months before she died we had many, many great talks. I promised her that I wouldn’t have any big memorial event with services and a “luncheon”. She really didn’t like these kinds of affairs and always said “Why waste all of that money for a somber lunch at a lousy restaurant?” So, I promised and after she died there were no services, no somber luncheons. And being honest with myself, there was a sense of relief that I didn’t need to follow the established rituals; my grieving in my own way and on my own schedule has been working to the degree any of us can say this kind of emotional crash can work.
I’ve mentioned, more than once, that my wife is much smarter than me, so if I wanted to violate some promises I would have to be creative. I decided we were going to still have Bunny’s “+1” party this year, and if it happens that some remembrances sneak in during the birthday party, well, I can’t be held accountable for that, now, can I? So, a “+1” party it is, on July 16th, 3 days after her birthday.
We had already established a budget for her party (Bunny was really big on setting budgets for pretty much everything, and she was also really, really good at breaking the budgets!), so I know my limits. And I know I can push that budget a bit … she’d be proud of me for that, too! Choosing the invitees was more of a challenge, since I could easily end up with a completely unmanageable crowd of folks when considering it is also a life celebration. But sticking to the original thought of a birthday party made it easier to keep the number to around 100 people.
This way, most everything & everyone she loved will be in one place, eating, drinking, laughing and having a good time, and Bunny won’t feel like she is the center of attention. It’s funny, for someone who usually WAS the center of attention she certainly didn’t care for it, at all. Yet she was the stereotypical life of the party … you could feel the energy level rise as soon as she walked in, even though she was soft spoken and somewhat shy. If Bunny was there, the party was going to be a good one.
Bunny’s best friend in the world, Ann, cannot attend. She lives in Santa Barbara and would certainly have come, but is experiencing her own cancer fight at the moment. I’ll certainly miss Ann being there, they have been hard and fast friends since their teens and I haven’t been able to see Ann in person since Bunny passed. She needs a hug as much as I do, and her heart is equally broken. Too often I forget that there were others who deeply loved Bunny, too, and I need to do a better job including them in this new life I have to live.
I have attached a video that I made to celebrate Bunny, posted in several places on line. There were too many folks that wanted a remembrance, so this seemed a way to have them share some of the intimate moments of her life.