Yesterday was one of the most beautiful and hope-filled days I have been a part of since I began this entire widowed journey. We were in the woods, standing tall in the trees, three widowed people and a little girl who lost her mother. The setting itself was magic, and made even more-so when we heard of the significance of that place. For our friend, who lost her husband 5 years ago, was marrying her husband’s best friend in the place they used to go walking after he died… in those early raw months, they stood side by side, taking one step at a time down a path that he no longer could. Together, side by side, they began a walk into the future, not even knowing that it would lead to a different kind of side-by-side one day.
It was personally significant to me in a few ways that no one else knew until I mentioned it… but this is the first wedding I have been to in 4 years. I’ve been invited to many weddings, and refused to go to any of them until I felt able. And this one, finally, I felt not only able but excited for. Excited. What? How is that even possible? In fact, I didn’t have an ounce of fear in me about the triggers it would bring up. To my total surprise, I found myself completely lost in the moment.
As I watched her walk down through the trees in her beautiful gown - shining brightly - I just overwhelmed by the moment. So much love and beauty was all connecting, not just between her and her new husband, but between all of their kids, who had actually grown up together too. It felt like the most beautiful kind of original fairy tale… a real one, not one where everything works out perfectly with a perfect traditional life, but one where love permeates and envelops and protects and overtakes every single hardship. One that bring so much hope not because it’s perfect, but because the imperfection, the flaws in the story, are the very things that brought more love together.
That idea was made even bigger by the fact that we were all there, Mike and Shelby and I - living out our own version of an original fairy tale, and Kelley too, and the loved shared not only between us and the bride but also the entire widowed family we have met. It’s day like this that remind me in a big way that death has taught each one of us more about love than we ever knew before. It’s taught us more about family than we ever knew before. It’s taught us more about living than we ever knew before. And that is how they live on with us… through that endless energy of love that connects us to everyone we meet and love as we go forward.
I was so surprised that I didn’t have a single trigger during the entire ceremony. Especially since Drew and I never got to have our wedding day… this particular event had the potential to be loaded with triggers for me. Yet instead, I was just in awe that I was there, with this man I met because someone I love died, and someone he loves died, and someone his daughter loves died, and because someone Kelley loves died, and someone the bride and groom loves died… all that new love in one place, because of the love that came before it.