Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wedding Guest

As a widow, I have RSVP’d “no” to several weddings.  I just wasn’t ready yet.  Last fall was my first wedding back, and I did pretty well.  It was my first wedding as a widow, but it was also my first Jewish wedding, and I was just so fascinated by it, that maybe it was distracting or something.  I had a great time.  I did some crying, but I also danced the hora.  It was really fun.

On Sunday, my friend got married.  He’s like a brother to me.  I’ve watched him grieve his singleness for so long, then watched the adorable love story unfold (they met in either Junior High or High school at camp and have kept in touch until their 30’s.  I mean really, can you get any cuter than that?).  I wanted to see them get married.  I thought I would be fine.  I already had one wedding under my belt.  I wasn’t fine.

I did all right for most of it.  Then they did their vows.  ‘Till death.  They, fortunately, have no idea what they’re vowing to each other.  One of them is promising the other to go through what I’m going through.  We just don’t know which one.  Or how soon.  (Hopefully it’s a long, long time from now.)  I started to cry.  Then, the minister said something about hoping that they had long lives to be faithful to each other.  I lost it.  I had to leave. 

It’s embarrassing.  I hate it.  I hate that I can’t just be normal.  I hate that I know so much.  I hate that I’ll never be able to think of weddings or wedding vows in that laissez faire kind of way. 

On the drive up to the wedding (It was about an hour and a half away) my sister Ellie and my friend Rick and I were chitchatting and making conversation.  Ellie asked, “So if you could change places with any character in any book you’ve ever read, who would it be?”  What a fun question.  But I knew my answer.  I loved my life.  I loved my story.  I didn’t long for someone else’s.  I always thought that there should be a book about my love story, but no one would want to read it because it was so normal, even though our love was so fierce.  I loved my ordinary life.  Now I feel like there could be a book, but what’s changed, what makes my story extraordinary now is the way it ended.

I know that in some ways this is a gift.  It’s a calling.  Some days, the good days, I can be thankful.  I have sight that others don’t have.  Most days I just wish that I had the blinders on still and could just see a wedding the way I used to.  I wish I was normal.


  1. I eased myself in with weddings I didn't care too much about. I still cried, but it wasn't as intense as you're describing, for which I'm grateful. You're normal, it's just a new normal that others don't necessarily experience, or don't experience so young.

    Sometimes I find myself gasping with what I've lived through, bewildered that I survived it with a sense of humor and love for Christ and others intact. And then I realize that it's the Holy Spirit, causing me to live beyond myself, for I alone could never do this. You alone can never do this, not well. You grieve honestly and openly and somehow, that is good and right and a blessing. Others see the love you still have for Sawan and are encouraged by that, even as they'd spare you the pain of missing him. Others see you wrestle honestly with God and are heartened that He is trustworthy with our doubts and fears and anger and He can take it all and love us through it.

    Weddings will never be the same again. It will never be the same again.

    But it can be better.

  2. Look! A comment finally showed up! I'm so happy...