Anniversaries are funny things. Most people celebrate wedding anniversaries as a matter of course, but there are other, more difficult ones, and I never realised thier significance until my first husband died.
That first anniversary was sheer hell; it was like being dragged through the whole experience all over again, but this time, knowing what was going to happen. But why? It was just another day. The children had to be got ready for school (it was in fact the birthday of one of them); things had to go on as normal. And yet there was a this-time-last-year thing running like a thick black thread through the whle day. It got easier as the years went by, and in fact the birthday helped, becuase my son needed his birthday to be celebrated, and we needed to celebrate it. But it was - and is - always there.
Tomorrow would have been our fortieth wedding anniversary, so I'm doing the this-time-forty-year-ago thing. I ought to be used to it; forty years is a long time ago. And yet it's going to be difficult. I suggested a party anyway, but the reactions were mixed, and my daughter promptly burst into tears. Not such a good idea, then. But I shall think of that day, and the flower arrangement that fell down at the last moment, and wearing the wrong shoes to the registry office (our real wedding - the nice one - took place later on, with the right shoes, in a Cambridge college chapel, which wasn't registered for weddings), and the fish and chips we had on the boat on our way over to France.