It is more accurate at times to describe a relationship not as that of spouses but rather one of friends or maybe partners. Anyone living alone appreciates the value of companionship. The relevance is especially acute when one is noticeably older than the other. Yesterday after a mercurial battle with cancer Donna left her spouse, friend and partner John. Her passing was untimely and as a result both sad and provocative.
I’m guessing it was in the verdant Spring of 2008 before they were married that we first met Donna when she, John, Denis and I joined the late Ralph Langtry for lunch at his rustic cabin adjacent the roaring Indian River near the Mill of Kintail in the Township of Ramsay. The ancient cabin was quaint to a fault. In addition to the galley kitchen where Ralph prepared his culinary magic, the drawing room was decidedly intimate. Donna and John sat together on an old sofa, often holding hands like school kids, interchangeably beaming at one another. Yesterday afternoon John told me that during their courtship Donna twice rebuffed John’s invitations to further their acquaintance. It wasn’t long however before they were seen together on the Maclan Bridge in Almonte collecting donations for the local branch of the Lions Club of which they were both active members.
Industry characterized the relationship of John and Donna; they were forever undertaking an adventure, exploit or social duty. One could only suffer the embarrassment of their commitment since they were far too entrenched and seasoned to permit us lesser humans to compete. Though I am roughly the same age as Donna I long ago abandoned the gusto she so skillfully exhibited for socializing. As a former lawyer for John I am familiar as well with his indefatigable enthusiasm.
Yesterday afternoon John and I foregathered briefly to share the dismay and dread of Donna’s passing. Again and again John repeated the unfathomable satisfaction he recollected of their partnership. He had been with his beloved Donna at the moment of her peaceful passing. I can but imagine the depth of solitude and solicitude inspired by that occasion. John and I went on to recall many other unrelated events of the past. Yet while we spoke of those instances – sometimes humorously – I lingered in the memory of sitting last summer with John and Donna in their garden, conversing and kibitzing.
Donna and John insinuated the many social conventions of the community including to my knowledge the gathering of owners of the condominium where we rent an apartment from them. They were celebrated as a handsome couple, known for their incomparable suavity on the dance floor. I personally recall with pleasure the perpetual levity and constancy of their society. Though it may sound harsh to say so, I overcome any despondency about Donna’s passing by remembering the inspiring and blithe times we spent together. Donna was a credit to John in particular and to the community in general.