I visit my first husband’s grave to tell him that our son is getting married and I tear up. And when I see our daughter in her wedding gown for the first time, the same thing happens. Two children getting married, 5-weeks apart – that alone could make anyone cry.
There are many times over the last year-and-a-half of their engagement period when my emotions feel raw. Tears spilling out as I plan showers and think of the life-changing events that will take place.
My 85-year old mother prays daily that she will be at both celebrations. Despite the many ailments that she struggles with, her desire to be a part of the celebrations keeps her motivated, and she crosses off each day on her calendar.
Mom’s prayers are finally answered as we gather with friends and family from all over the country at the first wedding in May. Now tears flood her eyes when she sees her beautiful granddaughter as a bride, and five-weeks later as her grandson escorts her down the aisle. Looking at pictures, tears come again when she sees five of her six grandchildren gathered beside her, and she recalls highlights of each wedding.
She deserves those tears after fighting through all the adversities that could have made her participation impossible. Those tears signal her victory and they are tears of JOY
But, the most difficult tears to watch come on our last day of the second wedding as she gathers with her family before going home. She has enjoyed every minute of both celebrations, but as she pushes her walker to the awaiting car, she seems tired and frail.
Hugs and kisses from her loved ones bring out the final set of tears as she says, “I was just getting used to being around all of you. I have my whole family here, and now I have to leave!” Eyes move around the crowd and each of us chokes back tears or dabs our eyes with tissue.
Promises to call and get together soon can be heard, but we all know the unspoken truth. We are a family that gathers at weddings and funerals, and sadly, we sense deep down inside that our matriarch just attended her last two weddings.