I think there should be a name for this, the transition from one to the other. I mean it's not like all the other feelings disappear the moment you say "I do." It stands to reason that while you embark on a new road, the old one is still in your rear-view mirror. At times it beckons you, 'I'm still here, I'm still in your heart, remember me.'
And of course you will. How could you not when your life is filled with reminders of happy times as well as mind-boggling grief and the crippling pain of your loss.
Still, there are new days ahead. New beginnings and the promise of joy and laughter. There is a warm body in your bed again, someone to hold and comfort you, someone who kisses your hair, holds your hand, opens the car door for you or supplies a supporting hand on your elbow. All of these things are incredibly important. Suddenly, you are important again, your thoughts and opinions matter. You begin to care about small things, what's for dinner, does your make-up look right, would he like an apple pie? Silly things, that in the grand scheme of life may seem trivial, but they aren't. They are your new normal, a change from when getting out of bed felt like an insurmountable task. They are a change from when sitting and staring out of the window for hours was of monumental importance, as if he was coming back, as if I would see his truck drive up the road.
Yes, things are different now. Each morning we have our coffee on the loveseat. We talk about our plans for the day, what's going on with our children and play with our black lab, Max. We cuddle and kiss, each of us thankful to have the other in our lives.
I worry. Giving your heart to another is risky. At our ages we count the days, not the weeks, months and years. I know how quickly it can all end and I'm fearful. We need each other now and I don't want either of us to have to face the world alone. The very thought of that is chilling but I don't want to be that person, the one who is so afraid of the future they can't enjoy the present, so I try to be there, in the moment. I try to shut out the 'what if's'. They are pointless in any case, which I well know.
As crazy as it sounds, I threw myself into the wedding like a house on fire, lol. For some reason it was critical that I got every tiny detail right. I agonized over color schemes, tablecloths and centerpieces. Favors were ordered multiple times until I finally settled on one. I can't even tell you how many things I bought, only to return them because I found something I liked better.
The invitations were another challenge until I found one I loved, but even the stamps had to be perfect!
I won't say I was a Bridezilla. Others may not agree with me, but hey, this is my blog. I bought more than one dress, convinced each was the right one, only to change my mind and take them back. Even the one I finally settled on came close, but they have a no refund policy, which in hindsight might have been a good thing, although I've never worn a strapless gown in my life, so I was a bit intimidated.
The rings were never an issue. I loved mine and thought the one I bought Mike was perfect. The food for the reception was also fairly easy, but I ended up contacting the providers a week before and ordering more, worried we would not have enough. As usual, I made a mistake, and we gave away as much as we could push on people at the end.
I hired a server to handle all the details and that worked out well, until the tablecloth caught fire, but that comes later, sigh.
I dragged him all over looking for the perfect cake, which we finally found at an extremely reasonable price and it was beautiful and delicious! Score one for Stevie, yay. (However, I will admit to taking back the first topper.)
So, the week before the wedding everything sort of fell into place. The flowers were being picked up separately, one set for the cake, the others for the day of. Things were on schedule and we managed to get into the pavilion the day before to decorate and arrange the tables, for a small fee. Our family pitched in to help and the place looked lovely, if a bit crowded, but we still had the patio to fall back on if guests showed up who hadn't returned their RSVP. At the last minute we decided to forgo the wedding on the beach as many of our guests would have had a hard time getting/walking on the sand and decided to have the ceremony on the patio. The next morning we got there early and improvised the decorations for that area as well. (It wasn't really a problem as I'd ended up with yards and yards of tulle and flowers having overestimated my capabilities as a wedding planner.)
Approaching zero hour it was all systems go. Two kinds of punch, one whisky and fruit (yum), one champagne. Coolers loaded to the brim with beer, soda and waters. Wedding music playlist ready to go and a huge mother of a speaker all set to blast assorted dance music. Servers, check. Wedding attire, check. Bride, check. Groom, check. Flower girl, check. Attendants, check.
Certain everything was exactly as I'd planned I retired to the ladies room at 12:30 to get dressed in my hopefully stunning dress that would knock my new husbands socks off, complete with a tiara. Sadly, I overestimated my capabilities once again. The ladies room was loaded, with my sister and I both trying to get into our wedding finery. My daughters, her daughter, my sister from Georgia, her daughter and my great niece were all trying to help us. It was hot. Other women were arriving and needing to use the facilities. My hair would not stay up. Mackenzie (great-niece) was trying to get my nails on. My feet were already killing me, which is no surprise considering the shoes I bought (4th) pair were a half-size too small and my sister had taken them home and worn them around her house with socks on for a week to stretch them out. She's really loyal like that! And they were lace, just like my dress, so I simply had to have them!
It's now 1:00, I'm running late and I've already gotten word that my new husband to be was outside puking! Good God, he doesn't want to marry me, was my first thought. And here I'd been the one worrying about getting cold feet for days. I manage to pull it together and make my appearance the same time the caterer is trying to bring food in the door behind me. My daughter flips out and tells him he has to wait.
Finally, they tell me Mike is waiting for me and I send my sister and Matron of Honor out. Then the flower girl, who by the way still thinks the wedding is on the beach and walks right by the guests, minister and her grandfather, Mike, lol and heads toward the beach.
The song I've chosen to come in to, Because You Love Me, by Jodee Mesina, is telling me it's time to go and I start down the walkway toward the mini altar on the patio with my oldest son and daughter by my side. Mike is standing there, sweating bullets and I can tell by the slightly glazed look in his eyes that he doesn't even notice the dress. When I reach his side I wipe his face with my tissue and wonder if he's going to make it through the ceremony. It actually crosses my mind to stop the whole thing and say "Hey everyone, this isn't going so well, so let's just forget it and party. Eat, drink and be merry, not married."
Becky, the kindest and loveliest minister in the world, starts the ceremony, but the music doesn't stop. Instead it goes into another song. Everyone laughs, some tension is lessened and they finally get it under control. Now, the ceremony itself was lovely. We decided to go with the basics, no personal vows, short, sweet and to the point. Mike had struggled with this, wanting to write our own, but I finally said let's just keep in simple. Ironic huh, considering how complicated I made everything else?
As soon as the kiss is over I tell him to take off his suit jacket. He's still sweating and I wonder if it's his blood sugar or the heat. He's diabetic. We decide to do our first dance right away so that everyone can eat and Becky can leave. We chose, After All, by Cher and Peter Cetera. That particular song is meaningful to us on so many levels. The music begins, we start to dance. The music stops. Begins again, dance, stop. Begins again. I'm starting to wonder if Bill's spirit is not messing with me, as we had a special part of our ceremony were we mentioned all those who have gone from us and that we hope their spirits are present on this special day. Present and silent is what I was hoping for.
The music begins again and I'm relieved, let's get this over. Mike decided to spin me. I'd mentioned few time that we should go and take a dance lesson. Hey, lots of couple do and I didn't want to look like a couple of seventh grade swayers, as if that could happen at our ages! He spins, vertigo attacks and he whispers, "Good thing there's a doctor in the house."
"Do you need a doctor?"
I help him back to the head table where he sits and begins to gag. My daughter whips the champagne bottle out of the bucket and hands the bucket to him. I run for Dr. Joe, Mike's doctor who comes to him immediately. We strip off his dress shirt and put cold towels around his neck and head. To distract attention I tell the Best Man, Mike's brother and his wife to go start the food line. Ed, by the way was very thankful Cathy had the quick sense to hand Mike the bucket or he would have been in the line of fire.
It was pretty much downhill from there. We never sat at the head table together. We didn't dance again (until all the guests were nearly gone and Perfect played) and Mike quickly changed into a wolf tee shirt and went outside for some air. I didn't eat, but I did consume several glasses of punch with helped a little. I felt like a guest at someone else's wedding. We were both sort of wandering around talking to people, but seldom together. Finally, I sat with an old friend and put a scoop of Ziti on a plate. We were at the table closest to the buffet line when the sterno spilled and set the tablecloth on fire, so much for buying real tablecloths. They burn like paper. I yelled for a fireman and my son-in-law came and put it out.
By now I'd realized the absurdity of walking around in a corset, killer heels and a $600.00 dress while my husband was wearing a tee shirt. I went and changed into a black lace dress. We met up to cut the cake and then split up again. Then it was finally time for jeans and a tee shirt as we began cleaning up.
Oddly enough everyone said what a good time they had, it was the best wedding they'd been to in a long time. Go Figure?
Some Wedding Pictures
Today we are three weeks in and things are good, very good. Despite the chaos of the wedding, I'm still happy I married him. It took me a couple of days to process everything that happened and for him to convince me that the idea of marrying him had not made him sick. It was the heat, the stress, his diabetes and occasional vertigo. He's attentive, loving, generous and perfect for me. I am a lucky woman and he is...
He got this sign at a party last weekend and this is the first thing he used it for. He loves gadgets...and me. Lol.
This page is now my blog/journal about Widowhood. I'm not qualified to give advice. I'm new at this. I don't want to be qualified. I don't want to be a widow, but no one asked me. These are my thoughts, fears and feelings. Please don't equate them as anything but that.