On Maggie’s Angel Day, at the suggestion of friends, I hosted a simple get-together. When asked about hosting such an event, I immediately felt… Yuck! Why the hell would I want to have a party on the day my sweetie Maggie died? She DIED that day. What is there to celebrate?
Reflecting on that day four years ago is an exercise rich with many layers of emotion, no matter what the impetus. My feelings that day were so complicated and fluid moment to moment that it’s difficult to capture in words. It’s a day like no other I’ve experienced or frankly wish to ever experience again. But I wouldn’t have rather been anywhere else on Earth. I was right where I was supposed to be - by her side.
Just moments after she died I remember being so peaceful and happy. I was relaxed and quite simply just happy. Until now, I’ve tried not to dig too deeply into the psychology of why that would be a good moment for me to be all smiles and while I can assure you that the happiness didn’t last very long, for a while that evening, I was quite relaxed and happy.
My guess as to why I was Mr. Smiles that evening is, quite simply, that for the first time in way, way too long, my sweet wife wasn’t suffering. I wasn’t watching her body slowly being eaten by an awful disease. Our lives were no longer being painfully ripped apart. Our futures weren’t being destroyed, one happy dream at a time. We weren’t saying goodbye anymore. The beatings had stopped. It was over.
Last Saturday for Maggie’s Angel Day v4.0, while others were here having fun, enjoying the hamburgers and company, I celebrated that happiness again. It may seem twisted to some but I never, ever want to forget the happiness that I felt that day after Maggie died. I hope that feeling stays with me for the rest of my life.
I believe that the happiness that I felt just moments after Maggie died is my super power. It reminds me that I have felt love and have loved so powerfully that my soul rejoiced when her suffering ended. Yes, I realized that I had a lot of grief and more hurt was coming my way. But that evening, while time warped around me, my tired soul savored the end of the suffering. It was the happiest sad moment I’ve ever experienced.
That night four years ago, blissful and shell-shocked, I spent the next several hours in the kitchen with friends, laughing, telling jokes and just being not sad. Oddly enough, the get-together for Maggie’s Angel Day ended the exact same way - me in the same kitchen with friends, laughing, telling jokes and just being not sad. Perfect.
I’m very, very careful to not say things like “Maggie would want” because I learned early in our relationship that I really had no ability to predict her preferences, but in this particular scenario I’ll say with confidence that Maggie would have wanted me to spend that day just the way I did, in the kitchen with friends, laughing, telling jokes and just being not sad. Thar. We dun did it. And fun was had by all.