March 11 was Dar's birthday. I don't remember what the date was that she died... I know I was 14 and I remember that the sunset was extraordinary that day. My dad had picked me up from work and we decided to make a detour down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) to watch it over the ocean. I still remember him pulling over and saying "it looks like the gates of heaven are opening". We just sat there and marveled as the sky grew darker and less colorful.
It reminded me of that Lifesavers commercial from the 80s where the little girl and the dad are watching the sun set behind a mountain... he's saying "going, going, gone." and she whispers "do it again, Daddy".
We drove home, went in the house and someone (I think it must have been my mom) said that they had just gotten a call, Dar died.
Really, she had been gone for a long time, a prisoner in her broken body. Personality and character lost to Alzheimer's. And I remember feeling relief that it was over for her, not my own relief but as if hers was so great that it spilled all over the earth and comforted us. She was free from the prison, and her Carl was welcoming her home after being apart for more than half a century.
She wore her wedding band until she died, and I wear it as my wedding band now. It's been through a lot in both of those marriages, and it's worn and nicked and scratched. I hope it lasts to be a reminder of love and devotion for another generation. The engraved date is still visible on the inner edge, actually it says "C.B.W. to G.E.T. March 25, 15". I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find the date that G.E.T. went to C.B.T. (my sister knows every date and time and place, and what everyone was wearing...). But I'd rather just remember the date that she was sent to us. March 11, 1894.