Planning my wedding has reopened a wound in my heart that took years to heal. Learning to cope with the loss of someone you love is never easy, and those of us who are left behind will experience events in our lives – like planning a wedding – that will weaken our emotional infrastructure and leave us vulnerable and fragile.
The most difficult part of planning my wedding is not having my mom. There is a laundry list of experiences we will not share because she was taken from me far too soon.
I felt like I was handling the emotions well, but HOS, Charli and I spent the weekend in Nebraska with my mom’s side of the family. Simply being in Nebraska makes me think of mom. And today, at my mom’s sister’s house, I saw the buffet that stood in our kitchen for as long as I can remember. I touched the smooth wood, opened the drawers and the cupboard doors that were once filled with mom’s things. For a second, I felt like I was back home, and that she would come around the corner.
My emotional support beams were weakened.
My aunt gave me a gift when we left. She told me tonight that she needed to do it for my mom. She went on to tell me that before mom died, the two of them cried knowing that mom would not be here for my wedding day.
Any remaining emotional stability has since been washed away by a steady flow of silent tears that I can’t seem to suppress.
Charlotte asked me to cuddle with her when she was going to sleep. I lay next to her, cupping her face with my hand and poured tears onto her pillow while she sucked her fingers and stared into my eyes. I made her promises that I can’t make. They aren’t mine to make, but I made them any way.
“I will be there when you grow up.”
“I will be there when you get married.”
“I will be there when you have your babies.”
And with each statement, that precious little girl would say, “Ok, mama.”
Then, she removed my hand from her face. Charli reached out and stroked my cheek. She smoothed my hair and gently caressed my face with her little toddler hand for a few minutes before booping me on the noise.
Charlotte is so innocent and beautiful and filled with loved. Those sweet three minutes or so told me something I’ve never considered before…
Of course my mom cried knowing she would not be here, but it was more than that. I know her better than that. Her tears were just as much for me as they were for her. She knew that I would be here, puffy-eyed, mascara-stained and heartbroken as I’m about to marry the man I love more than any other. She didn’t want that for me any more than she wanted to miss my wedding day.
In an emotional disaster, not unlike a natural disaster, there is only one thing to do after the storm passes – rebuild. Nail by nail, board by board, I will reconstruct my emotional stability. Maybe I’ll find some reinforcements to prevent another collapse. Lord knows, I don’t need to breakdown at the wedding!
Let the rebuilding begin.