Peering through the small rectangle of glass in the narthex door, I scan the modest size crowd that has gathered in the sanctuary of the Lutheran church where I have been a member since the age of four.
It seems so ironic, me being here today. When Chris died, I denounced God – raged against HIS plan and wondered why if HE loved me, HE would send me into my darkest valley? I couldn’t see HIM, feel HIM and I couldn’t pray.
The good news is that the people I am watching now, prayed for me. It is through their acts of kindness, their wish to see me happy again, and their faith-filled prayers that grace entered my life once again.
Organ music begins and I watch my parents, walking to the front of the church with my son who is wearing a “mini-me” version of Jeff’s tuxedo. Jeff’s parents follow with his daughter in a shrunken, carbon-copy of Cheryl’s dress. I chuckle when Tom and Cheryl, our only attendants remind me that “this is all because of us,” as they walk in just ahead of me.
This last year and a half has been a difficult one, a whirlwind of legalities and challenges and yet, as I begin my slow walk alone up the center aisle, I once again think that I am the luckiest woman in the world! I know now that God is good, ALL the time!
As I walk this path, which seems longer than I remember; I am recalling the life events that have taken place in this sacred space – my confirmation, marriage to Chris, sisters’ weddings, along with funerals of friends. Life so taken for granted, so richly blessed.
Jeff reaches for my trembling hand, and as he takes it into his and I look into his brown eyes, my pulse steadies, and my lungs fully inflate. This is our new beginning, a culmination of our rendezvous in the park with the kids, the processing of our grief and the blending of our families.
Before God and these witnesses, Jeff and I affirm our faith, take the sacrament of Holy Communion and celebrate God’s inconceivable plan with our family and friends!
The pastor introduces our new family to the congregation; our children who are at our sides with their boutonniere and black patent leather purse covered with flowers, link elbows and tell everyone gathered, “We are married!”
This picture used with permission of Phil Slaskey
this was so amazing!
Thanks Mel! I still get goose bumps when I tell it, we are truly blessed!
What a beautiful story. I lost my husband of 32, 3 months ago an with a 2.5 year old daughter. Desperately trying to find God, know his there, trust him, but time is going by so slowly an whilst existing by doing the daily chores that is required an for the sake of my beautiful daughter. Wish this was not my life. Dream about him almost daily an everyday hope I wake up from this nightmare. Your story is inspiring. Thank you
Katie, your grief is still so young, so raw! Take one day at a time, one hour and know that your daughter will benefit from your honest work of struggling through your loss. The only reason I got up in the morning was my son – and looking back, I’m so grateful I did! There was so much life waiting for both of us, but I couldn’t see it either early on! Let those around you pray you through it and look for the silver lining of each day – like the fact that you got up, or that you were able to play with your daughter. I encourage you to write a journal or at least keep track of the small things you feel grateful for – over time you will see your progress! Peace to you as you journey through Katia