#58 The Happiest Sad Day
About This Episode
For some people, wedding planning happens to coincide with a devastating life crisis. We listen to a bride tell her story of the loss of her mother and grief during her wedding planning. Wedding planning can be stressful. We talk about that all the time on this podcast. And as a bride or groom, you deal with the stress the best you can - we talk about how to minimize stress, stay organized and grounded, and about keeping things in perspective as you go on the wedding planning journey. The goal is to have a wonderful wedding day, and to be able to enjoy every moment of it. But what happens when things don’t go according to plan? Life can throw a lot at you at once.
Trigger warning: This episode of The Big Wedding Planning Podcast is about terminal cancer. Lauren lost her mom to cancer after an 18 month struggle, and that time period was also when Lauren and her partner Blake were planning their wedding. It was the happiest saddest day, ultimately, and we are honored that Lauren told her story for us.
When wedding planning starts to feel all-encompassing, take a step back. Really evaluate where you are in life, what you have to be grateful for, and why you want to marry your partner! Focus on the love. Hug your parents. Say thank you. Call the people in your life that you love, and that love you and tell them you love them!
Things got VERY tough for Lauren. The news seemed to be bad every time she talked to her mom, and her mom was insisting that she keep her wedding plans in place - it was all she had to look forward to. The pressure was intense, and the sadness and helplessness were present every day. These feelings and this reality followed Lauren to dress fittings and cake tastings, and home at the end of the day for her to unpack with her partner Blake. At times, the ONLY thing Lauren was sure about was that she was marrying the right guy, and that she was so happy to be doing so. Her actual current relationship with Blake was what kept her going, and gave her some peace, some strength and the energy to keep moving forward, under impossible circumstances. That is a true testament to love, and to the whole point of marriage itself.
On the day of the rehearsal, Lauren visited her mom at the hospice facility. Then she drove straight to her wedding rehearsal and endured the whole thing in a shell-shocked state, beaten down by the saddest circumstances, missing her mom, questioning her choices, and feeling extremely annoyed with her husband-to-be.
On the wedding day - Lauren felt like everyone was looking at her with sympathy about her mom. Her mom was in hospice less than 5 miles away, and her presence was felt at the wedding...mainly through the friends of her mom, who Lauren considered surrogates. Ultimately, Lauren was able to be fully present in her wedding day - as it was, not as she wished it had been.
Lauren’s advice, for anyone going through this or something similar: find a way to honor your person on the wedding day, in private or public. And if possible - err on the side of visiting your loved one too many times.
Links We Referenced
“I didn’t think there was another bomb to be dropped. And there was.” Lauren, after her mom couldn’t attend the bridal shower
“She sounded at peace with it in some way...because the pain was so great. There was some relief in saying we’re going to do hospice and I’m going to just be comfortable.” - Lauren
“The one question we asked is: Can we make it to the wedding?” - The question Lauren’s mom asked the doctor, upon hearing the cancer had spread
“It’s not about how we need this to be the perfect day. When times are tough, we want to think about the things we said to each other on that day.” - Lauren, on picking the words for the ceremony
“I honestly think that was the worst day of my life.” - Lauren, on the rehearsal day
“Of course, in my mind, I had all the fantasies of my moments with her...of seeing her on the dancefloor, thinking this is the last time I’m going to see her dance.” - Lauren
“She was there. It just wasn’t in the way that I thought it was going to be.” -Lauren
“These two giant moments in your life smashed into each other in a way that felt really unfair.” Christy, to Lauren
“I look at my husband and I think, wow, that was the eye of the storm...if that’s the eye of the storm of life, then, we can do it. We can do it.” - Lauren, on her husband Blake
“Go hug your mom...whoever you are in the world, hug your mom. Hug your dad. Hug all the people that are still here.” - Christy, emotional mess
“We had this amazing day surrounded by really really tough days. And we had no idea how many tough days were to come.” - Lauren
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Let us know if you have any questions you need answered on the show or if you want to share your own wedding planning experiences!