Darcy laid the tablecloth on the table and prepared for dinner. Today was Wednesday, Joy played bowls on a Wednesday so Darcy was used to organising his own. He liked to lay the table as he had always done. It gave him a sense of routine and discipline. It was important to have his day sorted and planned. It helped the day go faster somehow. Darcy had never played bowls, it was something he couldn’t get into.

In his younger days Darcy had sailed, younger days blooming heck, who was he kidding. He had a little chuckle to himself and thought about the years that he had lived. He was 83 years old. Cricky, where had the time gone? Well enough reminiscing. Time to get on with preparing dinner or he would still be here at breakfast.

Yesterday had been Joy’s birthday and the family had come over for dinner. It was always the same, family dinner for every birthday there ever was. With the family always growing there seemed to be a birthday dinner every month. But yesterday had been extra special. Joy’s birthday could not go by without notice and he knew his children would not let him celebrate on his own. It was an unspoken rule. Don’t leave Dad by himself on Mum’s birthday. They had celebrated as a family when Joy was with them, so they would celebrate as a family while Dad was still alive. It was a happy affair, lots of ‘remember when’ scenarios and family bonding. It did the heart good to be part of that structure. To feel that closeness and know that you were a part of something big! Yep there were a few teary moments, a watery eye or two but overall it was a happy occasion, a time to celebrate life as it had been and as it was now.

It gave Darcy comfort to know that his great grandchildren had a sense of belonging to something greater than Mum and Dad, to feel safe in a wider community, or extended family. You always knew there was someone you could go to in your time of need.

That was the problem with today’s society; there was no real connection to anyone for anything. Everyone was off earning money to pay ever increasing bills, out for what they could get. It made him sad to think of the hours his children worked, and the time that they didn’t have with each other, that was why he allowed his family to make a fuss on Joy’s birthday, it was a way of bringing everyone together, a sense of belonging for the younger ones.

Whether they were there or not he knew Joy would be. He could feel her presence as he sat down at the table for dinner. Darcy had set the table for two, a romantic setting with candles and flowers. This evening would be their night; as much as they loved having the family over, they always enjoyed their quiet time together. Darcy reached out his hand and felt Joy take it in hers. Tonight was the new beginning for them. A time for them to once again be together. A sense of peace washed over Darcy as he looked into his wife’s eyes. A sense of pure delight and wonder as she took his hand in hers and led him towards the light where once again they would belong together.