I wanted to do something special for my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

I know it seems silly… futile… quixotic… self-indulgent… – I don’t know what the right word is for celebrating a wedding anniversary when death did you part.

I knew the day would be difficult and I just wanted to fill it with something.

I’ve planned so many anniversary celebrations – where to go? what to do? what to give as a gift?

My favorite anniversary might have been the year I surprised Kim with a picnic of her favorite food from her favorite restaurant.

I’d arranged with her boss to fill up her schedule that afternoon with fake appointments so that she’d be completely free.

I showed up late in the day and Kim, Tara, and I headed out to the Case farm for a picnic. Just the three of us. Kim, me, and our two year old black lab on an extra long leash.


Yesterday, I checked the Lake View website and they allow dogs so long as you clean up after them.


Just after noon, I packed a picnic lunch and Annabelle and I jumped in the car. Ten minutes later we parked next to section 32.

I pulled a canvas chair and the picnic lunch from the trunk and led Annabelle over the grass. She’d never been there before but she behaved pretty well as I set the chair up in front of Kim’s grave.

It went much better than I’d expected.

Annabelle and I ate a picnic lunch and hung out a bit for a perfect twenty-fifth anniversary meal.

As I ate the cole slaw I thought of seven year old Sophie sitting in our house eating mashed potatoes during her visit just after Elena had died.

Our picnic was a twin homage – to our anniversary celebration and to Sophie’s memorial.

That was the where to go and what to do.

What to give as a gift?

It didn’t need to cost much – it never did. But it had to be special.

I’ve thought a long time about this over the last couple of weeks.

Then a couple of days ago I was up on the third floor looking for something and I saw a little film canister on my desk.

I don’t know that that’s the right word for it. But when cameras used film we used to take the roll and put it in this plastic container to be developed.

This one didn’t contain film.

It contained something I got twenty-five years ago today during our wedding ceremony.

I’ve told the following story before.

Sue me.

I wrote our wedding ceremony to include components from each of our traditions. I included explanations and stage directions.

In the passage where I described Kim’s dad walking Kim down the aisle and leaving her with me I noted that it wouldn’t be inappropriate for some amount of cash to be exchanged at this point.

Sure enough, on the day of the wedding, Tom reached out and pressed two pennies in my palm and whispered in my ear, “she’s been giving me her two cents all her life, now it’s your turn.”

When I got a chance later I looked more carefully at the pennies.

One was from 1960.

One was from 1993.

One from the year Kim’s life began.

One from the year that our life began together.

I’ve kept those pennies on my desk in a film canister ever since.

Just two pennies.

He didn’t clutter the story up with a penny for the year she graduated from high school or college.

Just two.

I thought of adding one for the year Maggie was born. One for the year Elena was born. One for the year Elena died. So many significant events.

Instead, for our silver anniversary I decided to add just two more pennies to the canister.

Just two.

One for 1997.

One for 2016.

One for the year Kim became a mother.

One for the year that Kim died.

I didn’t spend much on the gift. Just two cents.

Just two.

But that last penny cost me everything.

Happy 25th anniversary Kimmy.


Published in: on August 8, 2018 at 2:34 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Your notes Elena are beautiful, Daniel

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