"Did you say goodbye to Arthur?" Jim asked, adding "because you know it is goodbye, don't you."
It was Arthur's 95th birthday and it was obvious that he probably would not make it to his 96th.
We weren't able to make his birthday party last year and so it had been 2-3 years since we last saw him. I was shocked at how he had declined. He spent much of the day with his head on his chest, seemingly having difficulty holding it up. However, when he saw the little kids, he beamed.
Though Arthur is Irish, his partner is Italian and this was huge family event, with 4 generations, everyone helping to prepare and serve food and even provide entertainment.
This guy was standing on a ball, juggling knives in front of a 95 year old man and a baby and then suddenly thought better of it!
These girls sang for the group.
After a wonderful dinner, there was a cake divided into blocks, each of which represented a piece of Arthur's life.
While the candles burned, Jim explained what each square represented -- his growing up in Boston, his time in the Jesuit seminary (he had to leave when his father died and he needed to care for is mother), his time as a translator in the Army, his years in the theater (he was part of the Lamplighters for some 40 years), the years of world travel that he did, his nightly Manhattan, and a shamrock to salute his Irish Heritage. While Jim was talking, the candles burned out...
(Which was probably good, because I don't think he could have blown them out). He had help cutting the cake.
This was such an incredible love-filled celebration, and it was sad that it was tinged with fear for Arthur's health. Jim has been his partner for many years and is also a physician, and he says it won't be long. Should that be true, he could not possibly have had a more loving final party.