Six weddings and two funerals 

February 17, 2020

I didnt realize my hands were so pink

The raw numbers suggest a story that doesn’t fit the reality. Carol was married in a civil ceremony on Gibraltar on May 14,1973. She reprised those vows in a Roman Catholic service in New York City on May 28, 1973. I married my first wife on August 23, 1974, and then married Carolyn in August of 2013. And then on February 13, 2020 Carol Madigan married Reid Champagne. For those of you among the anal retentive set (of which I am your president), that amounts to six ceremonies covering a total of five marriages. Please understand that neither Carol nor I think of ourselves as those kinds of people. You know, people who have like six weddings, maybe a restraining order or two in the family and live in a double-wide.

Oops.

Good posture. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

Okay, but the other number that should be mentioned here is eighty-four. That represents the total number of years Carol and I have been faithfully married to our respective spouses. When you put that against our combined adult years, Carol and I have been married for more or less 80% of those adult years. If there’s reincarnation, I’m pretty sure we’re coming back as swans.

Took advantage of the Valentine’s Day decorations at the Recorder of Deeds office

And now comes today, which is the first day we’ve been married to each other. Clearly, Carol and I have had conversations about these numbers I’ve noted here. The conversations have amounted to something along the lines of, “So what?”

It’s not a wedding without Champagne and balloons 

Life isn’t like those paint-by-numbers kits. Whether we like it or not, it isn’t lived by strictly following the schematic or staying within the lines. In real life, the eye, the hand, the brush and the canvas are all part of a series of paintings still being created, rediscovered and reborn. Like Monet’s water lilies or van Gogh’s self-portraits. As they say, every new beginning is the beginning of some other end. The objective of life, as the writer Tom Robbins stated is to “transcend and then transform.” We change the world, when we change ourselves.

Not meaning to self-justify or wax philosophic, but merely to suggest that the happiness and joy Carol and I have experienced together over these last two years would have been completely lost to us had we chosen the road of conventional wisdom. Had we embraced the view, for example, that to love again would simply put us on the road that leads to the unspeakable sadness of loss. Or that it’s naive to think that the love we’d lost could be found again. We’re not unique in choosing the path we have by any stretch, but we know we wouldn’t have found the level of happiness we have, had we chosen to remain alone.

There’s a special quality to a late in life marriage, too. When you married in your 20s, the emphasis was on the “better,” the “richer” and the “health” part of the vows. By marrying again in your late 60s, though, you’ve no doubt learned the “worse,” the “poorer” and the “sickness” part of those vows had deepened and enriched the experience of love. And that coming from widowhood means even “until death do us part” is not the final word on finding love.

The numbers that matter to Carol and I now are the ones on the Fitbit, the prescription bottles and whether we can fit a movie in before bedtime. Also, “two,” as in two tickets for the concert, two seats on the train, a table for two, two cups of coffee and to hear two “good mornings” for as long as we can.

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