Today is Joseph’s 204th birthday. (He was born in 1805 for those of you curious about the math.) Since Dec 22 is the first day of winter, and the day with the shortest amount of sunlight, I’ve heard people say that Joseph’s birth was symbolic. Joseph was bringing light into the world after a period of darkness. That’s interesting.
As most of you know, Joseph died June 27, 1844 in a hail of gunfire at the Carthage jail, leaving behind a pregnant wife and 3 young boys: Joseph SMITH III (age 11 1/2), Frederick Granger Williams SMITH (age 8), Alexander Hale SMITH (age 6). Emma gave birth to David Hyrum SMITH on Nov 18, 1844, 5 months after Joseph’s death . (Emma gave birth to 10 children in all, though most of them died at or near birth. Don Carlos SMITH lived just 15 months from 13 Jun 1840 – 15 Sep 1841.)
Three years after Joseph’s death, Emma married a man by the name of Lewis Bidamon. Most astonishing to me is the day she picked for her wedding: Joseph’s birthday, 23 Dec 1847.I don’t understand that. They married in a Methodist church. Lewis doesn’t seem to have been a man of great character. He was a bit of a drunk, and fathered a child with another woman while married to Emma. (I talked briefly about this when I reviewed the film Emma Smith: My Story.) In a true act of Christlike love, Emma hired the woman, and adopted the child after the woman died.
I know a woman who married a new spouse 2 days prior to her deceased husband’s birthday (her previous husband had been dead just over a year.). I always thought the timing was strange for several reasons, and her anniversary is a bitter-sweet time for her, filled with conflicting emotions. I don’t understand why a grieving widow would pick such odd timing to marry another.
In Emma’s case, her new anniversary is just prior to Christmas. I’ve done some geneaology, and it seems like Christmas was a relatively frequent day to marry in the 1800’s. However, it still strikes me as odd timing to marry during the Christmas season. Sure, Christmas wasn’t as commercial back then, and some people today marry during Christmas break in between semesters, but I don’t think that Emma had semester finals to plan around.
When a spouse dies, anniversaries and birthdays are dates I would want to avoid when choosing to marry again. I don’t understand Emma or this other woman’s decision to marry so close (or directly on) the previous spouse’s birthday. Can anybody explain this to me?