By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY — Surviving the death of a husband or wife gone before their time is always difficult but an event Tuesday at the Dock’s Oyster House sought to give those individuals something they could share.
The nonprofit DEMCATS used the 2-22-22 date as the ideal backdrop for the “Remembering My Better Half, Forever, For Always, For Love.”
For Elijah Langford, the executive director for DEMCATS, creating the event hit close to home.
“My aunt Yvette inspired the idea,” Langford told Front Runner New Jersey. “Yvette is my mom’s only sister. Yvette’s husband Raymond Davis, a former police officer here in Atlantic City, died unexpectedly while at a routine doctor’s visit in December of 2019. Raymond had no preexisting health conditions so his death really hit our family hard.
“Raymond and Yvette moved to South Carolina a few years prior to his death. They had been together for 40 years. In January of 2020 as Valentine’s Day was approaching, in a conversation with my mom, I reflected how rough that particular Valentine’s Day would be for Yvette, as that’s a day all about love and companionship.”
Langford said it was at that moment he thought how he could make his aunt feel special about Valentine’s Day the following year.
“Unbeknownst to anyone, COVID-19 shut the world down starting that following month, and I knew that idea wouldn’t be possible for 2021,” Langford said. “In the many months I had to sit on that idea, my brother Isaiah, my DEMCATS team and myself thought it would make more sense to include people who have experienced the exact situation as Yvette.
“It’s so many people who have lost their significant others, who aren’t included or made to feel special on Valentine’s Day, when in reality they’re probably the people who need it the most. So we decided to go this year on 2-22-22. It’s more memorable. It’s like creating a separate holiday for them and that date just stood out for obvious reasons,” Langford continued.
Langford said he hopes the honorees walk away with a sense of comfort.
“Putting them in a room full of people who know the exact same feeling that they’re feeling, knows what to say, and can maybe form a support group of some sort,” he said. “Another hope that I have is, that they really enjoy themselves. So many of them just recently lost their mates, and haven’t been out. I’m hoping this will put a smile on their face. Grief and mental health resources will be available.”
Langford said some of the recipients were close family members while others he had never met before. They were of different races and ages.
“This event was very diverse in every way you can imagine,” Langford said. “I’d also like to point out that every attendee cried while accepting the invitation. That let me know how much it was needed and appreciated.
“Lastly we are providing each recipient with a bag full of gifts. Watches for the significant amount of time spent with their better half. Bluetooth speakers, and etc.,” he added.
Now that can include the DEMCATS event to provide new, special memories for them.
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