The love of my life had finally proposed to me and we were going to be a “proper” family. My last name would be the same as my children, which is something I’ve always dreamed of… But why did I feel so sad?
What is this pain in my heart?
Deep down I knew that not having my grandfather there dancing with me on my wedding day was the cause of it all.
I missed him so much it hurts, we all do.
How could I possibly have a happy wedding day without him there?
Planning my wedding, the most happiest day of my life, was meant to be such a joy, so why was it instead making me think of those I’ve lost? I missed my grandfather, my great grandparents and my Godfather. I was also sad that my husband to be wouldn’t have his grandparents there. Why, though?
Have you felt this?
Or maybe you are currently going through this yourself ?
It’s a horrible feeling….
Mum is supposed to be there to help you choose your wedding dress in preparation for your day. You believe Dad will be there to walk you down the aisle and laugh with you, cry with you, dance with you, and toast to your life.
But sometimes they’re not.
And it sucks.
Even though we know our parents and grandparents will leave us at some point you are never prepared to live without them, it's one thing they do not teach us.
While I was so lucky to have my Grandma (Dad’s mum) and Grandad (Mum’s Dad) by my side on my wedding day with big proud smiles beaming on their faces, the lead up to my wedding was quite sad knowing Grandad, who was the life of all our parties, wouldn’t be there.
After a big cry with my Grandma over the phone, she said something that snapped me out of my sadness. ‘Your Grandad wouldn’t want any of us crying, come on now Laura’ she reminded me. After that conversation I started to focus on the positives while knowing in my heart that he would be there in some way or another.
And I was right!
The big day had finally arrived.
Mum, Dad, Grandma, younger sister Kirsty and I got into our bridal car to make our way to the church. My parents held onto my hands, just as they did when I was a small child. My nerves were through the roof, but soon I began to relax, enjoying the moment.
The sound of our escort Harley motor bikes racing ahead of us to block off the traffic and the neighbours waving yelling their congratulations soon faded, thanks to an Elvis Presley song...
He was with us! Grandad’s favourite song came on the radio.
The shivers ran down my spine as Elvis’s voice crooned my grandfather’s favourite tune and my Grandmother gently sang along. It was as if he there with us, smiling at me, my parents, my sister and the love of his life - My Grandma.
I smiled, trying not to cry happy tears because I needed my makeup for a few more minutes – I was about to walk down the aisle to marry the love of my life, after all.
I felt Grandad’s presence all day. When we lit a candle, all our guests were invited to cheers to those we’d all lost along the way, I felt he was there telling me not to cry. When I was dancing with Grandma, I somehow felt he was there with us shaking his hips. When Grandma read a prayer, I felt he was there hugging her with us as she cried reading such heartfelt words.
Maybe I’m batshit crazy but, I hope in my heart I’m right, that he did really get to see his first granddaughter marry and that he’s proud of what we’ve all achieved due to him and what he instilled in his grandchildren throughout our childhoods.
I’ve put together a list of ways you can include a monumental nod of respect to loved ones you’ve lost. Sometimes it’s too difficult to include in a speech or talk about on your wedding day, but these ideas may give you an easy way to honour their memories:
1 . A memorial photo table at the reception.
2. Place photos of loved ones on your bouquet.
3. Light a candle and have a toast to all of your lost ones or a candle for each person you've both lost
4. A moment of silence. It’s a nice time to reflect, and even share a tear or two together
5. Play a song that has meaning. Dance and sing your heart out as if they’re there with you
6. For those who have lost their dad, have a photo of your dad sewn into your shoes so he will in fact walk you down the aisle
7. Place a memento of theirs on the chair at a table or the ceremony like their favourite jacket, hat , jewelry or a photograph
8. In lieu of wedding favors for your guests make a donation in the name of your loved one to their favourite charity. This can be extra special for those lost to diseases such as cancer
9. One for the males - have photo cuff links of your loved one so they will be with you all day
10. Sew their initials into the inside of your suit or wedding dress
I hope every person who reads this can find comfort in the lead up to their wedding if you’ve lost someone you love dearly.
While their bodies leave us and we can no longer see them, in my heart I don’t believe our loved ones ever leave us completely. They live on in us!