CELEBRATION AND COMMISSERATION
Today we celebrate the marriage of Steven Spencer to his partner, Ken Bagnall, on December 6th, 2018 and tomorrow we remember the death of Ken Bagnall on December 7th, 2018.
There will be some among you who will no doubt think it somewhat strange to both celebrate a marriage and commiserate with a bereavement concerning the same couple in the same post; both marriage and death occurring within twenty-four hours of each other. However, I make no apology for this, as each occasion was the result of a conscious decision by both parties.
There will also be some people, who for a variety of reasons, (personal, religious or other) will not feel able to either condone or celebrate the marriage of two gay men who love each other. I respect your view in this matter, but as an individual, I cannot share it. Love is love, wherever it honestly dwells, and the hearts of the couple whom love lives in is no less pure or sincere than the hearts of any loving man and wife and is just as capable of being emotionally broken in bereavement and sorrow.
Ken had cancer, and towards the end of his life, he placed himself on palliative care only. As Ken and Steven prepared for their last Christmas together, the couple made their final joint-decision when they agreed to marry each other. Their wedding took place at their home on December 6th, 2018 and one day later, Ken died.
I could not do this post full justice without the joint act of celebration and commiseration. Therefore, ‘for one single day only this December’, I will in addition to my seasonal Christmas song, sing two songs for Steven and Ken. The first song will celebrate their decision to marry each other at their home the day before Ken died and the second song will commemorate the life of Ken and Steven together and commiserate regarding Ken’s death on December 7th, 2018.
Brief and salient details of the couple are as follows. Steven and Ken had been together for almost 17 years but ‘officially’ lived together for fewer years. Ken had worked for Customs and Revenue prior to retiring early on the grounds of ill-health. He developed oesophageal cancer which metastasized into the lymph system, and then into his spine. He died within three years from the initial diagnosis after placing himself on palliative care only towards the end. The couple hoped to have one last Christmas together after Ken had placed himself on palliative care only and they married on December 6th in their home. One day later, Ken died at his computer.
The most prominent characteristics that Steven remembers about Ken was his thirst for knowledge and his love of music and food. Ken died aged 61 years.
Both songs I sing today for Steven and Ken were originally written and sung by a favourite singer of mine, Eric Clapton. Occasionally, one finds within a song simplicity and poignancy that tells the listener this song holds special meaning to the singer. This applies to both of Clapton’s songs when thinking upon the relationship between Steven and Ken.
The first song is a celebration of true love one feels for their partner. The song is called, ‘Wonderful Tonight’ which I sing in celebration of Steven and Ken’s marriage to each other on December 6th, 2018. https://youtu.be/DO8sBHjy2t8
The second song holds particular meaning, both for Eric Clapton and my friend, Steven Spencer. The song is called, ‘Tears in Heaven’ and reflects the experience of raw emotions after the death of a loved one. In Clapton’s case it was after his 4-year-old son, Conner fatally fell from a New York apartment building in 1991. In Steven’s case, it was the sudden death of his partner, Ken on December 7th, 2018; one day after marrying him. The song is both sad yet positive enough to appreciate that love and life continues, both here on earth as well as in heaven also. https://youtu.be/uIMy00XR7V4
Our thoughts and prayers are with Steven and Ken today. God bless them both and please give Steven a Christmas in which he knows he was loved and is loved by anyone who knows him.
Love and peace Bill xxx