Joys of a Wedding and the Sorrows of a Loss – Part Two
By Eryn Denison Whalen
The night before the wedding my best friend Hannah spent the night. We put the bride-to-be to bed early after a nice hot shower because she needed the rest. Hannah and I snuggled under the blankets and talked about all that had happened and about what tomorrow holds. I tell her about my fears and struggles, and she listens like only a best friend can. But it’s not long and the pillows and sheets lull us into wedding filled sleep.
I yawn and stretch my arms, its wedding day and I’ve just woken up. I haven’t opened my eyes yet, but I listen to all the sounds coming through the house. It’s about 6:00 am and the smell of breakfast is floating down the stairs. I hear chattering voices coming from the kitchen and a knock on the door. Grandma Denison’s voice adds to the commotion as she drops off some clean table linens. A moment later she is gone, off to do more errands and pick up the wedding flowers. I smile, open my eyes, and look at Hannah. We can’t sleep anymore. We pull on some sweatshirts and clamor up the stairs. Dad has hot lattes waiting for us and we sip them with excitement as mom tells us all she has already done this morning.
We let miss bride sleep in as long as possible. When she finally woke up, I wanted to cling to her like a child to her momma’s skirt and not let go. But of course I try to restrain myself and act like an older sister should.
The day goes by in a happy dither. I start the cake after my shower, trying to get it done fast so I can move on to other important tasks. Mom peeks in on me frequently to make sure I’m ‘doing okay.’ I smile, and at times I hold back tears. I found out it’s possible to be completely happy and yet terribly sad at the same time.
After my hair is put in place by our hairdresser (who arrived at 9:00 a.m.), I again climb up the stairs to stand on the porch and try to take it all in. There have already been tears this morning. Grandma Judy shed a few because our special grandpa Ron is not here to share the day with us. But in a way he was because the grandkids spent the morning running around in his big grandpa shirts. I take a deep breath. The day is perfect. A breeze moves through the trees and the birds sing excitedly, as if they know what’s going on today.
On the bottom lawn, Aunt Goldie and Hannah are decorating the ceremony area, adding willow branches and tulle, with potted flowers scattered about to complete the look. I laugh at them both because I can hear them politely arguing their different points of view on the placement of certain items. On the porch beneath me, Lesly and Mrs. Grosser
are talking table centers, while dad and mom are off picking up more chairs. I turn inside, photos are within a few hours and I must get the bride’s make-up in place, along with mine and all the bridesmaids too!
Photos fly by and I wonder if I can smile for the reception, my lips are wobbly from all those pictures! I take a deep breath as we are rushed inside to Lesly’s room, confined until the ceremony.
And so here we are again. All the bridesmaids peeking through the blinds seeing if they can eye anyone they know. I smile and take a shallow breath. I am going to miss my sister so much. It’s always been this way. Lesly’s room right beside mine, late night chats, fights and slamming doors, meek apologies, late night movies, everything. And now its ending. I look at Lesly and we share a moment in all the commotion. It was one of those sister looks that said, “It’s going to be okay, and I’ll miss you too.” That’s what I needed. I took a deep breath, knowing I had confirmation: I’m not the only one feeling this way. We smile at each other and then the door opens. It’s time to get ready. Down the isle we go.
The ceremony was beautiful and went perfectly. The crowd looked on as Lesly Denison was transformed into Lesly Birkland. Standing there, I couldn’t help but shed a tear. Boy, I’m a wimp I tell myself. I look to someone for a smile to help me stop, but everyone I look at is tearing-up as well. They are no help I decide. Hannah to the rescue, “tell me to stop crying,” I say. “Stop it!” she retorts. The ceremony finishes and the triumphal kiss is over. We fly up the isle to a peppy song and I run to the fridge, take out my cake, and construct the final touch: fresh cascading red roses down the side. Lesly is completely in-disposed as she greets everyone, chats, and poses for more pictures. Being a bride is not easy.
The rest of the wedding flies by in a blur. We danced, and danced, and danced some more. People that normally don’t even consider it were bopping around like crazy. And those that didn’t dance sat on the top lawn, looking down at us, laughing, and taking it all in. Several times throughout the night we heard, “This is the best wedding we’ve been to in a long time.” That would make my mother beam some more and she’d get a little more pep in her step as she was tossed around the dance floor on the arm of my dad.
Two hours into it and the dancing starts to slow. The bride is beginning to look weary. Her once clean dress has a very dirty hem and her bare feet faired no better. She leans on the groom, her eyes half open, while Dustin is completely satisfied to hold her there. The music fades out and dad grabs the mike, “We have a special surprise for the bride and groom, so could everyone make there way up the path to the end of the yard.”
Lesly gets some life back into her as she peeks over the ridge, trying to get a look at her ride. In a sea of bubbles the bride and groom make their way to the black limo.
In a flurry of hugs and goodbyes they make their way to the door. This is it I tell myself. She isn’t ours anymore. I give her one last hug as she says, “I’ll miss you Eryn.” I sigh and let her go. They hop in the car and the driver pulls out.
I watch the limo drive away. This is not an end I tell myself but just a new chapter. Yes, there are things that won’t happen any more, but there are so many new things to experience. And my time with my sister will be that much more special. I’m just glad they won’t be moving far away. That would completely put me over the edge I think. So I grab my bestest friend as the limo turns out of the driveway. We walk to the house to start the job of cleaning up and replaying the whole day in our heads (and out loud a few times).
The joys of a wedding and the sorrows of a loss? Oh, a bit of sorrow, but way more joy I decide. Life is not supposed to stay the same anyway. What fun is that? I smile and get a glint in my eye. I will not cry tonight. Ha!
Eryn has been married for Six years now and has one little boy and a sweet little girl, my grandchildren! She has a beautiful home, loving husband and runs her own business. We are very close and do lots of things together. I am blessed beyond measure. You can find Eryn at http://erynwhalenfitness.com/
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