Friday, September 25, 2015

I Kinda Hate Weddings

Oh, what a terrible thing to say!  Aren't we supposed to love weddings and get all happy and teary-eyed at them?  Maybe.  I don't know whether we can really assign "supposed to" and "should" to our feelings.

Before I get too far, let me explain that I love marriage.  I love the idea of a good woman finding a good man and making pledges and promises to love and support each other no matter what.  I love the idea of two people turning into husband and wife and starting their own family.  I really, tryuly believe that is the best way to find happiness and growth on this earth.

It's just the wedding itself that is hard for me.

I went to a wedding recently.  I went by myself, which is a rare opportunity.  I got to sit by myself, have my own thoughts, and enjoy the quiet.  I took the train and listened to the excited chatter of the group at the back of my train car.  They were missionaries headed to the airport and excited about their next adventures.  I smiled over them and loved seeing them, as any mother of a missionary does.  I said a silent prayer in my heart for them and missionaries across the world - young people away from home, trying to do what is right.  In a few years, they will be done with missions and looking to find their own mate they can commit to and love.

I took a bus from the train and walked a few blocks to get to the wedding.  It was beautiful and full of love.  I couldn't help but think of my own wedding when I was as young as they were - 23 years ago.  I was thinner and simpler then.  My only worries were getting through college and loving on the handsome man who had asked me to be his forever.  I miss that young Jay. I should have been expecting an emotional crash, this sweet young couple were married in the same temple we were all those years ago.  I didn't realize it until I got inside the temple and felt the quiet, but I hadn't been back in this particular temple since Jay passed away.  Then I crashed.

 I hate crying in front of other people, I really do.  Besides, this was a wedding - a happy time!  Who wants people to be sad-crying big sobs of heartache at a wedding?  That would be bad.  I didn't want to mar their happy day, and I managed to hold it in until after the ceremony was over.  But it was hard, and uncomfortable to sit there alone.  Everyone is happy and celebrating togetherness, and I sit there by myself.  It's hard sometimes.

 After the well-wishes, I found the nearest bathroom and gave permission to the tears.  I've learned not to fight the sad when it comes.  It's too hard and too raw and too real.  My poor heart is wounded more by the sharp edges being stuffed back in than in the release of the emotions.  Crying in bathrooms is good because there is plenty of tissue, and cold water to splash on your face when you are done.

I will always be a widow.  Yes, I've remarried and chosen to share my life again.  But those first memories of being a newlywed - a young wife - will always be a big part of me.  We fit together, we learned together, we grew up together.  My life was shaped by his as we figured out how to live harmoniously together.  That doesn't go away.  Neither does the pain of his loss.  He was only 38 - far too young to go.  I never would have imagined being left a widow at 33.  Far too young.

But I survived.  And I fought my way through the waves of grief that, over time, don't crash over me quite so viciously, or hold me under quite so cruelly.  I've learned to pick myself up and keep going.  I've learned that if you cry with your head bent over your lap then the tears fall straight down into your tissue instead of running down your face first.  I've learned when not to wear mascara.  I've learned to sob silently.  And I've learned how to cherish Jay's memory without making my heart sting.  I've learned how to let my heart grow by accepting new things of love and beauty.  I've learned to accept that this part of me will always be there.

I'm better for having gone through all that.  The fight made me stronger.  I'm softer because of the pain.  The grief gave me compassion.  The heartache taught me to rely on the Lord, and He has always been a rush of peace for my aching.

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