It was a simple wedding without any fanfare or special preparations. Immediate family, close friends and a few parishioners showed up at St. Patrick's to witness the Sacrament of Matrimony Mass co-celebrated by Fathers Fitzgerald and Misiasek. Dawn wore her mother's wedding dress and Marty's tuxedo hung on his frail body but it was an uplifting, inspiring, and moving ceremony with an emotional Homily about true Catholic marital love that left people in tears.
The honeymoon was spent at the Sun Rise Lake Inn just up the road.
A few months later, Dawn woke to find Marty sitting up in the bed writing on a pad of yellow paper.
"Hi, lover," he said cheerfully.
"Good morning, Sweet." Dawn sat up and kissed him on the lips and she laughed when he gently tongued her.
They hadn't had sex in a while because of his deteriorating condition and lack of stamina but he was still frisky and interested, delighted when she came to bed naked and always happy to cop a feel or explore her crevices. Sometimes she would kiss his penis just to let him know she still cared.
"What are you writing?" Dawn asked, placing her chin on his boney shoulder.
"My obituary," Marty said honestly.
Dawn didn't respond but she sat and watched him jot down his thoughts about his life.
Each time he fell asleep – either at night or during the day in his endless naps – Dawn wondered if he'd wake up one more time. Each time he kissed her hello – or goodnight – she feared it might be their last kiss. He'd hold her hand tight when they lay in bed together at night, squeezing her arm, massaging her ribs, patting her breast.
Losing her newlywed husband was different from losing her mother. Dawn was overcome by a sense of lost hope and a cheated future, of forgotten sex and an approaching finale. Sometimes at night Marty would sleep with his hand holding his penis as if that was the last thing left for him to cling to. It made her think of their sex life and how she loved jumping naked into bed to be with him. How she loved to fall asleep on his chest after making love.
Dawn was surprised to find Marty still awake late one night.
"You have to promise me something," he said in his graveled weak voice.
"Anything, my sweet."
"Promise me that you won't sin by grieving too long," he said.
"I promise," she vowed, cuddling close to him.
Many months later, on a warm Sunday morning, Dawn stepped into St. Patrick's Church where she was greeted by Mrs. Reynolds.
"How are you doing, Dawn?" the old woman asked with sincerity.
"I'm doing okay," Dawn replied with a smile.
"I miss seeing him," Mrs. Reynolds, said, squeezing Dawn's hand.
"I do too," Dawn replied. "I miss his lust, his courage, his hope, his smile."
"Love survives, Dear," Mrs. Reynolds told her. "It lives on."
"And so don't I," Dawn smiled. "I won't sin by grieving too long."