I’m writing in place of Kelley for a few weeks, so here’s my basic feelings on life today…
Tomorrow marks what would have been mine and Mike’s wedding day… except that Corona decided to pay us all a visit and change that. Currently, we’ve postponed our wedding until October, and we don’t even know if we’ll be able to do that either. There have been a lot of emotions surrounding all of this, and frankly I’m exhausted. I am tired of people asking will we or won’t we. I’m tired of half the people I know being excited about October and the other half questioning if we’ll be able to have it then. I’m tired of the drawn out topic of a wedding, because the longer it goes on it feels like less about a marriage and more about an event.
I never got to my last wedding, so having this one be postponed is extra hard. To make things even more difficult, very few people seem to even grasp that tomorrow is going to be hard, they seem mostly to just focus on the new date we’ve set. Sure, I didn’t spend a year and a half imagining this day in June or anything. (eyeroll). I don’t even know if it will be or won’t be hard tomorrow, because it is a day of grief I haven’t yet experienced, ever. Drew and I didn’t get to our wedding, nor did we even get as far as deciding on a date, so I did not have to mourn a date passing where there should have been a wedding before. Not until now.
I realize, Mike is still alive, we are only postponing, and it probably “shouldn’t” be a big deal. Or isn’t in most people’s eyes. But it is for us. And he could still die before we have the wedding, and that is constantly on my mind. What if he dies in the next 2 months and I fully regret the decision we made to wait until October? Ugh. Even now, I am fantasizing about just running away to the courthouse tomorrow and doing it without anyone else even knowing, in part because of how awesome that sounds and in part because of the fear.
So, here we are left with this day coming, and if grief has taught me anything in the past 8 years, it’s that hard days can be made a whole lot better if I make some new decisions about how to live them. It gives me a sense of control about the situation, and allows me to use my creativity to make the most of things, which I love. Instead of just going about Saturday like a normal day, and feeling like a pile of sadness about what isn’t happening… I know better. Grief has taught me better. Instead, I did NOT cancel the Bed & Breakfast that was supposed to be for our wedding night. I did NOT cancel the wedding cake either. Nope. Because you can take a lot away from me, but you are not going to take my joy. I am celebrating my relationship on this day no matter what – and that means CAKE dammit.
A few tweaks are made… I called the cake folks and had it changed to a chocolate exterior instead of vanilla, so that I don’t have to stare at my wedding cake on my nonwedding day. Because that sounded shitty. This afternoon, I am dropping Shelby off to grandparents until Sunday, and picking up our nonwedding cake for “Almost Day”. Tomorrow morning, we will eat cake for breakfast, go check in at our B&B (which is very small and will be very easy to stick to COVID guidelines of distancing). We will sit around on this beautiful farm all day, enjoying each other silly, and eating cake, and honoring love anyway. Then we’ll enjoy dinner, and a dessert delivered to our room, and probably MORE cake! In the morning we’ll enjoy a lovely breakfast there, probably – you guessed it – followed by cake!
That’s the thing about life. Life is going to try all kinds of ways to take our joy from us. People and experiences in life can always take from us. There is a lot than can be taken from us in life. But the way I saw it the week after Drew died, and the way I still see it now, is that life can take everything else it wants to from me, but it is NOT going to take my joy or my ability to find my joy even in the most unlikely times or situations. You can take a lot of things, and yes, I am going to hurt because of it…. But that doesn’t mean you have, for one second, taken away my ability to find my joy. We all get to have that power.
I feel so strongly about this… because it is the choices we make during painful times that cement us in our joy. That doesn’t mean we are always only joyful, or that we don’t also feel the pain of loss or change. Of course not. What it does mean is that we cement ourselves in our own ability to find joy when we are ready for it and we want it. When I want to feel my joy, I am going to decide to make the choices to have it. Sure, having no Corona virus or unjust deaths or anything else happening this year would be BETTER. There is always better. But that does not mean that I’m going to sit around and give up my joy. Not when Drew died, not now, not ever. I am going to experience and acknowledge the hard stuff, but also have joy. Both, together.
So even though we will have tears tomorrow… even though there will be some hard moments, there will be joy too. I have decided that I still want joy. I have decided that I am still going to have joy. And that on this day, what I deemed next year to be our “Amostversary” I deserve joy. We deserve joy. Tomorrow, Mike and I will enjoy a beautiful, gentle day in the country, focused on the love we share together, and eat a shit ton of cake. If you’re feeling especially like claiming your own joy this weekend, just because you deserve it and for no other reason, please feel free to join us in eating cake too.