In the past 8 months, I have been to three weddings. All three were beautifully celebrated with so much love and happiness filling the air, good conversation, dancing, and vows that always made the tears well up in our eyes.
All three also had something else in common: My other half was missing.
While subbing for my friend’s dance classes this past week while she made last minute preparations for her wedding, I had the pleasure of watching the senior girls rehearse their group dance number. There are moments at school where my chest tenses, my teeth clench, and my eyes fight back tears when something reminds me of what I dearly miss, and their dance number effortlessly hit that button. I sat in my chair listening to a song about missing someone during the good times, the times you wish you could call them up and celebrate with them. Missing someone in the quiet moments is hard enough, but when you have heartfelt moments, times when they are meant to be beside you, holding your hand in joy, it also hurts just the same.
As I videoed my friend’s vows and watched them beam down the aisle as newlyweds, I looked to my side and could not help but wish there wasn’t an empty space where a body should have been; to kiss his cheek and leave a red-stained mark like I used to when we first met. I did my best to get dolled up and feel some fraction of confidence yesterday, but even with the flattery and the immense dancing and laughs being had, it still felt like a piece was missing.
It’s strange to see the progression through each wedding I have been to as well. The first was when trouble was brewing. The second was a month before my divorce, that restlessness and anxiety of the limbo and fear of letting go of something I wasn’t quite ready to let fall away. And now, almost 3 months since leaving that court room, it all still feels so surreal. I’ve looked at my own wedding photos, read our vows, and wondered if I am in some alternative world, or perhaps this was all a dream. It feels like an entire lifetime ago, like our love never existed but the remnants still linger.
I don’t think I will ever participate in another bouquet toss. I didn’t participate in last night’s. I couldn’t. Honestly, I felt embarrassed. I didn’t want to be back in that group of women who didn’t have a ring on their finger, who have never tasted vows on their lips. A bouquet is meant for those who have never journeyed down the aisle with their father giving them away, their friends and family watching them as two become one. Participating in that tradition now just seems hypocritical or as if the moment has passed. I also couldn’t imagine getting remarried any time soon. Catching a bouquet would be a wasteful event to all those other woman who dream of being the next bride. I had my turn already and they deserve their own.
I am still grateful, however, for the love I felt, to know it exists. And if it wasn’t a meant-to-be type of love, than I look forward to the day when I am ready to open my heart to an even bigger love. Watching my friends vow their lives to someone else gives me hope. The future holds so much more than I could possibly imagine and I just need to trust the path I am walking on, making decisions that are best for my future. My health condition always brings those unwanted speed bumps but that’s just part of my story, and at the end of the day, no matter how empty it can feel, I’d rather fall asleep with my Spiderman plush lying beside me than let the wrong person in out of loneliness. Much like hunger, loneliness can play tricks on your mind, and you just have to remember how strong you are even if it’s the last thing you wish to be anymore.
I am so unbelievably proud and honored I get to see some of the best people in my life fall in love and share their lives with someone else. I look forward to more weddings that remind me true love exists, that loyalty is not just a silly notion, and that love can conquer over the bad times.
No matter the pain that has graced my life, or your life, that kind of love is worth waiting for, worth living for…
Love, B. R.