Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wedding Therapy

I don’t mean Wedding Therapy as in couples therapy or Pre-Cana. I’m not referring to needing therapy to deal with the stress of planning it and negotiating with relatives and caterers and the like. In fact, just the opposite.

Planning my wedding is helping me, in a way that seems far too simplistic for someone who’s done the whole therapy and medication route a few times over. I’ve always hated when those who were depressed or grieving were advised to ‘get a hobby’. So it’s a little unnerving to find that in this case, it’s actually working.

I’ve been meaning to write about what I’m grieving over, in case someone is reading this blog and doesn’t know the events of the past year, but every time I try I get overwhelmed. I’m going to make one last attempt.

My mom died this summer. She got very sick, very fast; it was a harrowing, confusing case of a rare cancer. As with any loss, especially one in which you are forced to watch the person who means the most to you suffer, it has ripped me apart. I’ve had a hard time moving forward with my life.

While my mom was sick, I insisted on staying calm and cheerful when speaking to others as much as possible. I even managed to give her eulogy. This required reserves of strength I didn’t know I possessed. Once it was over, I collapsed in on myself. I still insist on ‘keeping it up’ for the sake of others. But privately, I was depleted. Food lost its flavor, former interests lost their shine. The only thing that kept me going was Michael. I couldn’t muster enthusiasm for anything else.

Until now. We got engaged in October, and if Michael had asked me if I was ready before he actually asked me to marry him, I would have said I wasn’t. As it is, I did have to secretly lock myself in my bedroom and cry a little the day of our engagement. I’m still really sad. I’m still angry.

But planning this wedding has been a godsend. I realized it could be a time of sorrow, always thinking of how my mother should be here so we could do this together. Every girl wants her mother with her at her wedding- I know I do. It is hard when I come across advice for Mothers of the Bride in magazines and on blogs, and sometimes I cry thinking about doing it without my mom with me. But I know that my mother would not want to be the source of sadness. I know that. Mike and I were planning to get engaged when my mom got sick, then I put it off indefinitely. I’m glad he didn’t wait for me to say I was okay and ready again, because he would have been waiting a long time. He did what he thought was best for me and for us, and he was right. This is exactly what I need right now.

So I am trying to plan a joyous celebration. Because I am still a very, very lucky girl. I have an amazing person in my life who loves me, whom I love too, who wants to spend the rest of his life with me. Michael is the reason I got through this year. He was incredible; I cannot praise him enough. I don’t know what I would’ve done without him. I really, really don’t.

Sometimes I freak out about the budget and the cost of everything. Sometimes I think having a wedding at all is silly, or disrespectful, and I was self conscious about coming across as yet another obsessed bride blathering on about her wedding on this blog. In the past I’ve fretted over finding a balance between what was ‘typical’ and what was original and unique to us. I’ve been afraid that people will see my wedding as too stereotypical, or not traditional enough, or both. But I’m freeing myself of both of those expectations- the Big Jersey Wedding and the Super Offbeat Wedding. I’m just going to put together something that Michael and I like, that people can have fun at. Basically, I’m giving myself the freedom to make it what I want, the indulgence of planning, and permission to get excited about it on this blog. I’m giving to myself the gift of my wedding.

Thanks to the saturation of weddings in entertainment and media, I can easily lose myself for hours in blogs, magazines, venue websites and TV shows. It’s a welcome distraction and focus for my scattered mind. Finally, something positive to obsess over! The thing is, a wedding is a momentous occasion, but I now have a perspective on life that can only be learned by experience. I know that ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that Michael and I love each other. And I am really happy to be marrying him. It’s nice to be happy about something.

Also, I’m glad my family and friends will be getting together soon to celebrate something happy. I almost feel guilty for feeling bad, because my mom wouldn’t want me to be sad. Which is why I’m letting my wedding help me heal.

If I could tell my mom anything one more time I’d tell her I love her. If I could tell her one thing reassuring, I’d tell her that I’m going to be okay. And I’m going to try to make sure my younger sister is okay too. Towards the end, hospice advised us to tell her we would be alright. I told my mom that I would take care of my sister. And I told her not to worry, because Michael will take care of me. I think she knew it was true.

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