It’s funny how we remember certain dates. My mother was relentless about remembering people’s birthdays, anniversaries and significant events and yet, despite her reminding me, these most of these dates and remembrances weren’t really important to me.
And yet, I will always remember April 22, 1967 and I have remembered every April 22 for the past 51 years.
That day in 1967 happened to be the day of my sister’s engagement party. And even though my future brother in law wasn’t there and was actually stationed on a ship off of Hanoi, we celebrated. But that’s not why I remember April 22.
You see, it was after the engagement party that my boyfriend, Peter, and I headed to the beach and under the bright moon and stars, he asked me to “go steady.” It was magical. He was the best boyfriend – ever. And for 4 years, Peter was my refuge, my confidant, my champion and my soulmate. And I was all of that for him.
Then life happened. College in New York for him and outside of D.C. for me. He slipped into a pattern of drugs that enhanced performance and supported his athletic scholarship and I searched for meaning to life amidst war protests, the civil rights and the feminist movements.
Fast forward to 1984 and while Peter and I had not been in touch for over a decade, we were both in the process of divorcing our respective spouses. We reconnected when Peter completed his program at Betty Ford. We both acknowledged that we continued to remember April 22 every year.
For the next 20+years, we celebrated our love of days gone by and lasting friendship, connection and awareness of who we were as human beings. Peter was brilliant. Head of marketing for Sharper Image, Brookstone, William and Sonoma and Bose. He was compassionate and always saw the best in me. And even though we knew we couldn’t re-create the magical connection from April 22, 1967, we celebrated it every year until … we couldn’t.
Alcoholism is a nasty disease. It strips a person of all they know themselves to be. After 20 years of sobriety, Peter succumbed and despite many attempts and desperate efforts, the pain was insurmountable. He took his own life to ease the pain and I am grateful that he rests in peace now.
On this April 22, 2018, I, ironically, raise my glass of wine to you Peter. I celebrate how you helped me be the woman I am today. I know you would be proud and cheering me on. I miss you terribly.
So, I ask you this:
What dates in your life do you celebrate with a profound gratitude and special meaning?
Who in your life has brought you joy and a sense of completion – even if it wasn’t for a lifetime?
Marty Stanley is a Certified Speaking Professional and award winning executive coach.
email@example.com 816.695.5453 or 858.432.6764
I remember you speaking about Peter many times and how special he was. I also remember the day you shared that he had taken his life.
Thank you for the reminder that alcoholism and addiction is a relentless foe. It never rests. Even for those with long term sobriety, as Peter had with 20-years. There is no “cure” or room for complacency.
Vigilance is required. Recovery must be practiced 24/7. On March 29th, 2018, I celebrated 19 years of continuous sobriety. However, I live one day at a time. I know that I have to practice mindfulness for the next 24-hours, never quite free of my addiction.
Thank you Marty for sharing your memory of Peter. It is a reminder to all of us to celebrate loves and losses.