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Happy Anniversary

July 2002

My father died unexpectedly of a stroke in December, 1998. The following year was difficult, particularly because we had planned to celebrate my parents' fortieth wedding anniversary that June. Instead of the happy celebration that we had planned, my siblings and I took turns going with our families to spend time with my mother so that she would not have to be alone on that difficult day.

While my family was there, my then two-year-old daughter was playing in the guest bedroom by herself. We could hear her talking and laughing. The other children were all with us, so we knew she wasn't talking to them. She had never talked to her dolls or other toys before, so when she came out, we asked her who she had been talking to. "Grandpa," she replied. "He's silly." Then she skipped off down the hall leaving us all staring after her, wondering if my dad was there for the special day after all.

Later that evening, when she was alone, my mother heard tinkling music that sounded to her like an ice cream truck. It was already getting dark and she thought it was an odd time for the ice cream truck to be around, so she looked outside. There was no ice cream truck. The music continued, and my mother began to investigate. She discovered it was coming from a box in her closet. She took down the box and opened it. The music was coming from her wedding album, which had a wind up music box inside. She hadn't looked at the album in years, and had even forgotten it was in the box in her closet. It wasn't supposed to play unless it was wound up and then opened, but there it was, closed and untouched for years, yet playing music.

When my mom opened the album, the music stopped. My mom felt comforted that my dad had not only remembered their anniversary but had also found a way to wish her a happy anniversary.

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