I recently stumbled through one of the most bittersweet weeks of my entire life. I lost my mom the same week my daughter got married. It was sudden. It was unexpected. It was devastating. It was May 7, the day before Mother’s Day.
My first instinct was denial. It was like a bad dream, and I wanted to curl up in a fetal position, cry my eyes out and drift away.
My second thought was to throw a temper tantrum to top any 2-year-old’s meltdown. I wanted to shake my fist and scream “It’s not fair!” at the top of my lungs. It was raw and real, and I couldn’t stop crying. It seemed like I couldn’t go on, but I had to. My daughter’s wedding was exactly a week from the day my mom died.
My mom and I had talked about the wedding for months. Although we lived in different states, we talked on the phone almost daily. I would share the latest and greatest wedding details, and she would tell me about the beautiful outfit she had ready to pack. Nothing would have kept her from attending that wedding.
Except something did. When the funeral director asked us to choose an outfit for my mom’s burial, I immediately knew which one I’d pick — her beautiful wedding pantsuit. My siblings and my dad were in total agreement.
I do believe the wedding is what kept me going after my mom’s sudden death. I could almost hear my mom saying, “You’ve got to stop crying, get your mind off of me and think about the wedding.” She was the most selfless person I’ve ever known.
In my mind, Mom was supposed to live forever. I wasn’t ready. I deeply sympathized with women my age who had lost their moms, while rejoicing inside that I would have my mom for many years to come because my mom was in great health. My mom was invincible, until she had a massive heart attack that caused way too much damage to recover.
On my way home after the funeral, between sudden floods of tears and hiccups, I made up my mind that I would get it together before the wedding day. The conflict of wanting to curl up and die and wanting my daughter’s wedding to be everything she and I had dreamed it would be was real.
My daughter and I had asked the wedding photographer in advance to make sure she took lots of photos of my mom with the bride, my mom with me and my mom with the two of us. We had to give her the terrible news that there would be no three-generation photos. We then had to contact our wedding planner and let her know about the devastation that had visited our family.
My mom and dad were married for 62 years. Lost is the only word that comes to mind to describe his well-being. He initially refused to go to the wedding because he just couldn’t go without his best friend, my mom. Thankfully, we finally talked him into going.
Right before the wedding, my daughter changed things up a bit. Instead of my husband walking me down the aisle, my dad escorted me. When my gorgeous daughter (who looks so much like her grandmother) stopped beside my seat and handed Mom’s corsage to dad, we had a moment of sadness and tears, but it was OK.
At the end of the wedding, the bride was going to lead a song in a moment of worship. Instead, she turned to the guests and said a few words about my mom and then sang a song in her memory.
The wedding day was perfect! Yes, I cried, but I laughed too. I kicked up my heels and danced. I celebrated my daughter’s special day.
Did I ever think that I would lose my mom the same week my daughter got married? Absolutely not, but I firmly believe that she was with us all that beautiful, bittersweet day, and the sweet, sweet memories will remain with us forever.