Hilary and I were married thirteen years ago today. Back then I took it for granted that I would outlive her—she still had a life expectancy of two years—but it soon became clear, to my boundless delight, that she wasn’t going anywhere, and we spent a decade full of adventure and joy. At that point, alas, her condition started to worsen, and our last two years together deteriorated into a series of increasingly dire crises. I took care of her as best I could and we continued to take pleasure in one another’s company, but it was clear that the odds against her were growing longer and longer.
Now she is gone, and this is the first time that I have marked our anniversary without having her alongside me to share memories of our wonderful wedding (we were married on a yacht called—no kidding—the Romantica) and honeymoon (among other things, we paid a visit to Fallingwater). From here on, I shall have to remember them by myself. Somehow I never really believed that such a state of affairs would come to pass: the human capacity for self-deception is infinite. Fortunately, I have dozens of pictures of the wedding to remind me of what it was like, and a lifetime’s worth of memories to hold in my heart.
I keep reminding myself that I was lucky to have thirteen years of a profoundly happy marriage, but—of course—one can never have enough of so miraculous a thing. Perhaps it will be easier a year from now to be properly grateful for my good fortune. I hope so.