It’s just two years since Chris and I got married. Our wedding spread over two days: on 13 December we got “street legal” as Chris called it, at Stroud Registry Office in the morning, then joined 20 close friends (our soul buddies) at Matara for a convivial afternoon followed by dinner. On the following day, we were joined by 50 more guests for a hand fasting ritual, feast and ceilidh.
Our friend Sue Hollingsworth, who describes it as the best wedding she’s ever been to, has been staying with Ted and me at Folly Cottage for a few days to celebrate our wedding anniversaries (she too was married on 13 December and she too is widowed). In the evening, we sat by the fire and shared stories about our partners’ lives and deaths, and of our lives in the aftermath of bereavement.
During the days, we’ve been sorting out Chris’s stuff and putting Folly Cottage straight, ready for Christmas and a fresh start in the New Year. I’ve even got an office now, with a clear desk. Regular visitors will be amazed to see tables, floors and windowsills free of clutter. Though, just to make sure things don’t run too smoothly, it looks like the central heating boiler has packed up overnight.
According to tradition, the second wedding anniversary should be celebrated with artifacts made of cotton, which put me in mind of the piece of embroidered fabric Chris bought in Minho, Portugal on her birthday 21 August 2013, just three days before she had the seizure that signalled the presence of a brain tumour. Made these days for tourists, these elaborately hand-stitched squares were once made and given as love tokens by young Portuguese women to their fiancés.
Chris and I had spoken about getting it framed, but I realised as I showed it to Sue that it’s really something to be touched and held, rather than just looked at.
Chris loved craft work and I think this lenços de namaduros (sweetheart handkerchief) is a fitting marker of what would have been our second wedding anniversary and a bitter-sweet memento of our last days in Eden, before the fall.