Well, it was just a matter of time that my daughter and her 5-year -plus boyfriend would become engaged. It happened a few months ago — a wonderfully happy occasion. The wedding is planned for early next fall.
My first child, a son, married a couple years ago. So I gained a second daughter and, with this next wedding, I will gain another son. The symmetry is perfect. I have always felt lucky to have a boy and a girl — “a pigeon pair.”
My children have chosen their life partners well. I like to think it is because Tom and I raised them commendably and showed them what a good relationship looks like. And it doesn’t hurt that long marriages are in the family genes. Most members on both sides have had decades-long marriages.
So the downside to all of the happy excitement around another wedding: It drives home with a vengeance Tom’s absence again. I get that raw, aching feeling that comes with missing a loved one, even several years after their death. It is a miserable feeling that I know will continue until my life’s end.
The fact that I don’t have a significant other now doesn’t help. While many widows and widowers find new, long-term mates, I haven’t. I’ve had a handful of screwy, laughable, semi-relationships, but none were even close to right. It has been good fodder for my blog. And our book, “Death Did Us Part” (with co-author Mary Dempsey), illustrates bits and pieces of the dating and boyfriend tomfoolery.
But, in short, I’m working to enjoy the planning and execution of this happy, significant event. My daughter has started bouncing wedding ideas off me. She is so happy as is my future son in law. But they will tell you planning a wedding can be stressful, especially if you are trying to keep costs down while orchestrating a beautiful event. In their (mostly my daughter’s) case, it is a white tent on the grass with a lake backdrop. I’m not sure how it will all shake out, but there is plenty of time, and we have nailed down a stunning venue that meets all the criteria. Surprising by today’s standards, it also will be a church wedding — a novelty among Millennials.
As any of you who have hosted a wedding know, paying $10,000 or less means a wedding at a VFW or Knights of Columbus hall, maybe somebody’s backyard or even city hall. So I’m on a mission to help them hold down costs by skipping things that are easy to do without — fancy, abundant flowers, lavish church decorations, a photo booth, and sweet treats to take home. I’ll be adding to this list.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep Tom in a good place in my brain, believing that he will be overlooking the wedding planning and, of course, have a front row seat at the nuptials.