Joys of a Wedding and the Sorrows of a Loss

By Eryn Denison Whalen

I peeked out the window, my eyes squinting at the sun as my fingers push the blinds apart. I watch everyone walking around outside. Girls dressed in sundresses and men in crisp black pants and white starched shirts. Everyone is laughing and sipping punch, waiting to be seated. I dropped my hands and turned around.

Joys of a Wedding and the Sorrows of a Loss

The bride, my sister Lesly, is sitting on her bed, her dress billowing beneath her; several of the bridesmaids sit around laughing and talking in giddy tones. Others are running from my room to hers, adjusting their makeup, spritzing on a last bit of perfume, and fixing their hair.

The groomsman and groom himself turn their heads each time one of us leaves the room, trying to catch a peek of the ever secret world of girls, makeup, and dresses. They then turn back around as they lose sight of us, and focus again on the movie Snow White, which they are watching along with the ring bearers and candle lighters. I smile and sigh. This day has been a long time coming, but it’s still hard to believe Lesly’s name will change tonight. With all the bliss and happiness, there is still a dull pain deep in my heart. Nothing’s going to be the same now. Again, I peek out the window. More people are arriving and they will begin seating soon.

Fast backward… about eight months when Lesly came home with Dustin on her arm and a ring on her finger. We were all so happy. They were and are so in love. Each time they look at each other; you’d have to be blind not to see it. But the wedding seemed so far off that it didn’t seem like a reality.

We began planning with a vengeance. Mom with her three ring binder with the words –  Lesly and Dustin, Sept 24th ’07 –  written on the front, with their high school graduation picture right underneath it.

Lesly and I were so excited and many a night you could find us talking about the wedding on my bed. And of course discussing boys in general; she talked about that more to amuse me than anything. We would also practice dancing for the reception. We loved doing that and would often turn on a CD outside in the dark and dance around until we’d almost fall down from exhaustion. After a slight break and drink, it wouldn’t be long and we’d be out there jumping around again.

The months went by and the planning continued. We started with plan A, but after a few months went to plan B, then C, then finally D. But it was so exciting and we were all very absorbed in it. None of us thought of after the wedding, just about the big day itself. And so there was no pain or sadness of losing someone. Just the joy and anticipation as our plans came together and we purchased and stored items away.

Fast forward… to the wedding week. It’s finally hit that life after the wedding must go on, and in a way I wanted it to. But at the same time anyone, who said “You’re not losing a sister, you’re gaining a brother,” I’d scowl at and give them the look. “Forget that,” I thought, “That rat is taking away my sister and there’s no brother involved, humph!” No more Saturday mornings when we wake up late and I’d yell to Lesly, “Are you awake?” And a minute later she would plop down on my bed in her warm blanky. And we would talk about anything for as long as we wanted. That won’t happen anymore I thought. And I try to hold back a tear as I think of all the other “things” that we wouldn’t be able to do anymore.

I push those thoughts aside, “I’m not going to ruin this special time with the woe-is-me crap,” I say! I turn to the oven to check on the cake. It’s Wednesday, and I just got back from my hair appointment. I am baking away. I’m in charge of the desserts and wedding cake. I turn from the oven and smile at all that we have left to do. I love those times when we are so busy and everyone is running around. It’s complete bliss for me. I try to drink it all in so I can remember it for years to come. The rehearsal dinner is tonight, so while I bake everyone else is scrambling to clean house. All the while, the bride is away, putting in her last day at work until she returns from her honeymoon in Hawaii.

Now don’t get me wrong, it might seem from my writings that Lesly and I are the perfect sisters; like we don’t fight – ever – and we always have positive things to say to each other. . .  yea right! We have our fair share of disagreements. And even at our age, we’ve ended up on the floor, grabbing at each other’s hair a few times. Ah sisterly love right? But in contemplation, I think that’s what makes us so close. We are very raw with each other. I tell Lesly things I don’t tell anyone else. We shared our hopes and dreams, what we want for our future, and what we aspired for in ourselves. Wow, we sound deep don’t we? (Again, yea right!) But in her moving away, I felt it was like a piece of me was being removed. That something was going to be missing.

I think on all these things as I stand on the balcony overlooking the yard, watching everyone place chairs and decorations. It’s Thursday, the day before the wedding. I can’t go far from the kitchen as again; I am working on the cake and desserts. We have family and friends that have come over for moral support and to help with all the preparations. But inside, my heart wells with love. These few that are running around like mad through the yard and rushing up and down the stairs in a state of, well close to delirium, are the ones that stayed with us. These are the ones that survived the “fire” should we say, that comes with stress and nerves. The ones down there, are the ones that have been tried and tested and have been found to be the truest of friends. Those you can count on for just about anything. And it’s always good to know who those people are.

Again, I sigh and turn toward the cake. I am applying the filling and crumb coat today. I try to drink in the rest of the evening, making everything last, knowing soon it will all be a thing of the past, to be relived through memories and photographs.

Hear the rest of the story in Joys of a Wedding and the Sorrows of a Loss – Part Two

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

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