On a cold November day, on the other side of the country, fifty-three years ago, a beautiful woman in a white dress pledged her forever love to a handsome man in a neat suit.

Together, they journeyed through good times, hard times, and brought two kids, a boy and a girl, into this world of love and laughter. They held hands on walks and smiled with pride as their children grew. They taught lessons, focusing on responsibility, respect, integrity, and the importance to being yourself.

For years, they were happy, living in a home filled with family pictures on the walls and cats of all shapes and sizes. Holiday feasts at a large table, everyday meals on TV trays in front of the news. Summer trips to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, and the racetrack. Christmas gathered around the tree for the card going out to relatives. The family grew; nieces and nephews from an older sister, spouses who didn’t stay.

So much love.

Then, the handsome man in the neat suit passed beyond the veil. The family was so sad, but they held each other through the tears and kept going. They continued to build happy memories and the family continued to grow. Adopted relatives from deep friendships and children from children. But the beautiful woman in the white dress was lonely, and when her husband beyond the veil called, she answered.

I cannot feel sad for myself, for I was the little girl fortunate enough to have lived in that house with the beautiful woman and the handsome man. There was so much love in that house, especially during the holidays.

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. I love you both and I’m happy that you are both together again.

I miss you both everyday and only hope you still smile at me with pride in your eyes.