How fitting is it, friends, that my parents’ wedding anniversary should happy during Wedding Week? Maybe it’s fate? A sign from my father? Either way, my parents would have been married 32 years today. I asked my mother to write a little something, which made her cry just a bit, but who better to talk about the joys of marriage than my mother herself? I’ve interspersed her words with the photos of her wedding, reception and one of my favorite photos of my parents.
P.S. Don’t you just love the classic ’70s feel and clothes? xoxo
I was very happy when Melissa asked me to write a brief article for her Wedding Week theme. I have always loved weddings, from the time I was small and received my first Barbie bride doll. Weddings are a wonderful time of anticipation, hope and beauty. Today would have been my 32nd wedding anniversary. I say would have because 7 years ago my husband, Brian, died. I never, ever thought that Brian and I would not grow old together or that I would be widowed in my 40s.
When Melissa asked me to write something, it got me to thinking about all the hoopla surrounding today’s weddings. When I got married back in the day (1978, actually!), Brian and I planned a small, but beautiful wedding. On that day, we were so happy. As we recited the vows to one another, we were beaming with the anticipation of all that was ahead of us. I didn’t know that Brian would be dead shortly before our 25th anniversary. I also didn’t really understand what the words “in sickness and in health” really meant. Oh, sure, over the years one or the other of us would get sick or be sad. Each of us was always there for the other one.
But then came November of 2002, when we found out that Brian had a very serious cancer. We were so lucky to be able to spend the following four months together, 24/7, as Brian fought that menacing cancer as hard as he could. This is when I really learned the meaning of the words in sickness and in health. It was the surgery, as they took him off down the hall, tears in both of our eyes, that taught me how to be strong for him. It was the daily drive to Loyola University in Chicago, for 6 weeks of radiation treatment. It was the sitting by his bedside as the chemo drugs dripped into his veins. And, finally, it was seeing the fatigue and sadness overwhelming him as I looked into his eyes and knew that soon I would understand what ’til death do us part meant. Towards the end, we would just sit and touch each other, somehow knowing that soon the physical bond holding us together would be broken. There was so much sadness and so many tears.
But, there was laughter too, as we remembered all the happy times, as we talked about our children and as we reviewed what our lives together meant.
So, as any of you prepare for your weddings, spend the most time preparing what you will say to each other as you marry. Make those promises from the bottom of your hearts, in front of all your friends and families. Don’t worry if it rains, if the cake isn’t perfect or if the band is out of tune. Remember what is important and treasure every single minute of your wedding day, and of all the days to come. It is a journey worth taking and a journey worth doing well. It is a privilege and an honor to be able to spend your life with someone. So as you make those vows on your wedding day, really think about what you are saying and keep those promises close at hand every day of your life together.