I’m a Mrs. Finally. No more planning, no more ribbon, no more lunch trips to Hobby Lobby or Hancock Fabrics. No more RSVP crap. No more drama. Hallefuckinlueiah.
I’m still not in the right place to write about everything, but I do feel the need to write about the one horrible thing that happened on our big day. Although I had no clue all day, I found out from my new husband after we were settled in our hotel for the night that the reason my grandparents on my biodad’s side didn’t come was because my grandmother died early that morning. The date on her death certificate and headstone will forever be the same as our wedding date. It was hard enough knowing that the five month anniversary of Grandma V’s death was approaching, and I cried that day that she wasn’t there. But I was angry at Grandma D for not being there. I thought she and Grandpa were still upset about biodad’s name not being on the invitation. So I spent the entire day wondering why the hell they didn’t care enough to be there for me. Now I have so much guilt that it’s hard to get out of bed most days.
On the one hand, I’m mad at myself and feel extremely selfish. On the other hand, I’m angry and upset that, after all the months of work to have a wedding I never wanted, our anniversary will forever be associated with such an unhappy event. Had we eloped, we would have done it much sooner and I would have been here for the funeral. And that feeds the guilt and makes me feel like a horrible person. At the same time, I feel terrible for my new husband, who is incredibly and touchingly overjoyed by being married. He told me that he wishes I could feel his happiness because he has never felt closer to me than he does right now. I love that he feels that way, but I hate that my grief is deadening the joy of our newfound married status.
I’m overwhelmed with these feelings. But there are two stories I’d like to share because they are the two things that bring me solace:
- When I was in 10th grade, Mr. Jake Jacquin was my English teacher and he gave an extra credit assignment that has turned into the greatest gift my family could ask for at this moment. I can’t remember the exact assignment parameters, but the resulting product was a videotaped interview between me and Grandma and Grandpa D. In this interview, I asked them to tell me all about their lives growing up, how they met, how they lived, where they moved to and what is different about life now as compared to back then. Right after I was told she died, I immediately remembered this assignment and wondered where the tape had gone. We left for our honeymoon before I could do any searching. On Monday, biodad was searching for video clips of Grandma to use at the visitation and was having a hard time finding anything useable. He said a prayer and within a few minutes, found an unmarked minicassette. Upon watching it, he discovered my assignment. Everyone had forgotten about it – biodad couldn’t remember filming it and Grandpa doesn’t remember participating. Nonetheless, it was shown at her visitation and brought great comfort to our family. And in a way, it allowed me to be there when I was hundreds of miles away. I wish I could find Mr. Jacquin to thank him for making such a profound assignment, but he retired after that year and moved to southwest Missouri. No one seems to know how to find him.
- When Grandma died, my aunt remembered a conversation she’d had with her a few months before. Grandma had told her that, although her organs could not be donated due to her advanced diabetes and hypertension, she would like to be a tissue donor when her time came. Luckily, my aunt mentioned this and my grandpa consented to the donation. As a result, we have found out, fifty people have benefitted. FIFTY PEOPLE were helped by this one tragic loss. No matter your religious beliefs, the bottom line is that you can’t take your organs with you when you go. I can’t even begin to explain how it feels to know that at least some good has come from something so dark. If you are a donor, and please seriously consider becoming one, make sure that your license says it AND that your family and friends know. When the time comes, someone has to give final consent. If they don’t know your wishes, you run the risk of them refusing. Death is terribly sad; knowing that a death has helped someone who might otherwise have died as well brings a bit of comfort and sense to an otherwise overwhelmingly dark time. If you are reading this, I ask for one favor. Tonight, tell your spouse, parents, siblings or someone very close to you that you want to be a donor. Even if you’ve told them before, remind them. You never know when you or someone you love may need the gift of life. Think of what a donor would mean to you in that situation…wouldn’t you like to someday give that gift as well? I would. I am an organ donor. And I know of 50 people who are glad my grandmother was as well.
In loving memory of Melba. I’m sorry I took you for granted. I hope you know how much I love you.