50 years ago yesterday Ray and I got married. It was a warm day for winter as today was and we got married at my local church and went to an old dance hall nearer to his family's home where family and friends had gathered for a fancy supper and some dancing. A work colleague describd it as a "real hillbilly wedding" and it certainly wasn't formal and with the dancing to a three piece band it was quite an energetic affair. My Mum and mother-in-law handled the catering to the satisfaction of all and when we left to go on our honeymoon the party continued without us.
We had 44 years of marriage and I wish it had been 50. I can imagine us trying to get ready now with a houseful of children and grandchildren milling around, the house noisy with excitement. Instead I am sitting here alone feeling sorry for myself. We did celebrate our 40 year wedding anniversary at a local hall with friends and some of the family, that was a good party. Our Lions Club had a singing group at that time and they were our entertainment for the evening and it was catered for by our children. I have kept the cards and looked at them last night. Some of the people are still in my life, some have gone to glory and some are not in my life any more, which is a pity. I hate to lose friends.
I posted a photo of Ray and I on our wedding day on my Facebook page last night and a few people commented that they were at the wedding so I do still have contact with some of Ray's cousins through social media. We are so blessed with many of our modern forms of communication but I am still sitting alone tonight. Fine words do not always translate into action, because no-one acknowledged my loneliness. And that is the way my life as a widow continues. I smile and laugh and joke but deep inside I am lonely. As are so many here.
Today I worked on the bookstall at our church Market Day. We enjoyed quite a crowd because of the dry windless day. My partner today is a small person so she does the cashier's job and I act as salesperson. There is an amazing amount of conversation around old books and it is always a most enjoyable day. We can sell books very cheaply because they are donated and so many people do as I do, buy a book, read it at my leisure and in due course return it to the Op shop for resale. It is part of the art of recycling that items can be resold over and over. We are very conscious as a church about waste, it is part of our justice platform that we are careful of our actions and how they impact it community.
Tomorrow it is church again and hospital visiting, I have done a lot for that lately. It is the cold and flu turning into pneumonia season so some of our old folk have succumbed. The short days mean activities are all crammed together and I feel like a dog chasing it's tail again. There are two medical appointments and a funeral already booked into my week. Don't get me wrong, I love to be busy, just not too busy. The Women's meeting I went to yesterday meant I caught up with an old friend and got a hug so that was very worthwhile. Hugs are not nearly as regular as I would like them to be in my life at present.
I'm hopeful my report from my specialist on Wednesday will be positive and I will be able to plan a little way ahead again. My travelling days are somewhat shortened because of the Lymphoedema but I can still have days away, just not too far away. I went to a dinner where we get a report on who is where, the couples with wealth are more often away somewhere exotic but others (and sometimes me) are away visiting family rather than some foreign country. There is little equality as far as wealth is concerned but because we were all involved in the same organisation attending is about keeping old friendships ongoing. Sadly some of the reports are about absences due to ill health.
I know I am lucky because through the hospital visits I see so many worse of than myself. I know some people do not like to make a comparison but for me it is comforting. I can say to myself: " Lucky me at least I do not have "345's " problems. If I'm thinking of those who need help I can access food from the church for them or find an agency that can maybe help. There are resources out there but maybe when people have problems they lack the ability to work things out. I always urge my older ladies to take any government help available, our War Widows in particular. The over 80s need help but sometimes their pride stops them from accessing it.
This life we have lead as people who have known much sorrow does equipp us for helping others. We know what it is like to be lonely, to be sad, to sometimes be helpless. For this reason I give as much time as possible as a volunteer, the problem is being older I find I am more easily tired out before the job is done. Things that I could do without any troubles a year ago I often don't do at all now. Age shows up on my face when I am tired. Friends are kind and compliment me on an outfit or an accessory but I know I am changing, not the girl I used to be. But as of yesterday under other circumstances I would have been married for 50 years.