Sunday, February 28, 2010

Why the Wedding? A Different Version

So, Hive, now that you've gotten to know me a little bit, I want to share with you something that Mr. O and I have been working our way through that has impacted our lives in an enormous way, in the hopes that some of you can relate, and maybe we can all support each other.

Just slightly less than eight months away from our wedding, Mr. Octopus and I experienced a catastrophic and tragic turn of events. On a completely normal Tuesday night, while he was cooking dinner and I was doing homework, his father called. Mr. O's mother--with whom he had an incredibly close, deeply loving relationship--had experienced a very sudden, massive heart attack and passed away. The hours, days, and weeks that followed were surreal in their horribleness, but amidst the shock, grief, and loss, and the many other decisions that had to be made following her death, we realized a question had to be addressed: what are we going to do about the wedding?

I'll be honest, we gave some real consideration to toning our plans down or postponing our marriage for sometime later in the future. However, after discussion with each other and our families, and time for reflecting, we've chosen not to do either of those. Our wedding is continuing on--same plans, same day--as we had imagined it before my future mother-in-law's passing.

There are a few reasons why we made that choice. First, during that awful week in which we made all the arrangements for my groom's mother, we saw a whole lot of our wedding guests-to-be at her services. Over and over and over, people remarked on how incredibly excited his mother had been for our wedding, and how much they still looked forward to attending. We already knew that his mother had anticipated our wedding with great happiness, and after hearing so much positive feedback from our friends and family, we believe very much that she would not have wanted us to cancel.

And, to be really truthful, it quelled some fears that had been brewing for me. Initially, I felt guilty for still wanting the wedding, for still caring about it, for still wanting to celebrate it with friends and family. And even though I did want to go forward, I worried that holding a big party eight months after such an enormous loss would seem tasteless or cold. Hearing the affirmations from our friends and family that they expected our wedding to continue and are still excited to be there made us both feel better.

I have also noticed that, as Mr. Octopus works through the process of healing and recovering from his grief, the wedding provides him with a focal point. It gives him something positive that he can look forward to, feel excited about, and enjoy. I know him, and I know that he really needs a place to direct his mental energy. Mr. O has a tendency to brood if he doesn't have activities and tasks to occupy him, and thinking about and planning for the wedding helps him stay busy and upbeat. (Which also explains why I'm blogging about our wedding plans--I really love to do it, and it's a fun and cheerful way to occupy my time!)

Even though we're continuing with our plans, I do know that our wedding will be different. The sad fact is that now that FMIL Octopus is gone, our wedding can never be the day we had originally hoped and expected that it would be. I believe that our wedding day will still bring us great happiness, and it will still be a lot of fun, but her absence will be deeply felt. It will not be the same as it would if she were there. But neither will anything else, you know? Buying our first house will not be the same. Having children will not be the same. Really, Mr. O's day-to-day existence is not and will never be the same. But we can't let that stop us from continuing to live.

Our wedding day will be tinged with sadness, because my groom's mother will not be there to watch it happen. But it will also be the hopeful, joyful day we've imagined, because we're getting married.
We will say our vows to each other, officially join each other's families, and officially become our own. We will laugh, dance, eat, drink, and celebrate. We will revel in the support, happiness, and excitement of the people who love us and who we love. And we will remember her. And I really believe that, despite the sadness of her absence, our wedding will still be a beautiful, happy day.

Has anyone else gone through a loss during their engagement? How did you and your fiance cope with it?

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