In a few days time, Matara will be bustling with 200 guests, coming from many parts of the world, to celebrate the life of Chris Seeley. It will be just 18 months since we got married at the same venue, which is just a few hundred yards from Chris’s house in Kingscote, Gloucestershire, and six months since she died.
Her memorial now stands in the gardens in which we and our soul buddies walked and talked as we prepared for our wedding. Her pictures, journals, and sketchbooks will be displayed in the room in which we were hand-fasted. Clowns will clown, musicians will play, and stories will be told where we sang and danced together for the first time as husband and wife.
A year of marriage was long enough for us to know that it was the best thing we ever did. As Chris wrote in her blog a fortnight after the wedding:
I’d been with my partner for a dozen years until this summer when I fell ill and it became obvious to both of us that the public declaration and private ongoing commitments of marriage would now be an exploration that we would both want.
I love that phrase “the public declaration and private ongoing commitments of marriage.” We needed the strength and resolve of both as the ferocious tumours in her brain began to consume her. Those bonds held us together when we were falling apart.
So it feels absolutely fitting to be returning to Matara for the celebration. Old friends will come together; new friendships will be made; memories will be shared and hopes for the future exchanged. We’ll express our gratitude for being part of Chris’s extraordinary life as artfully and joyfully as we can.
There will be laughter and tears and, above all, there will be love.