Photo: Breathe J Photography
I was certain that March 2020 would be the best month of my life. With our wedding day the first Friday of the month, followed by a weekend of festivities for our family and friends who traveled from all over to be with us, then a romantic two week honeymoon in Hawaii, then back home to continue to ride the wedding bliss wave throughout the remainder of the month. We waited our whole lives for March 2020.....
About two weeks before our wedding in beautiful West Palm Beach, Florida, we had a few guests cancel on us last minute because of the "coronavirus." We thought for sure they were making an excuse not to travel or just didn't want to attend our wedding at all. We were upset and thought they were being over dramatic, but boy were we wrong.
The entire week of our wedding I was suffering from a recurring injury. I could barely stand, barely move at all because my body was in so much pain. All the last minute "fun and exciting" checklist items like picking up my wedding gown, getting a manicure and pedicure, trying on my rehearsal dinner dress, were all done as I cried uncontrollably in excruciating pain through each appointment. I sat on the examination table two days before my wedding sobbing, begging my doctor to do anything to give me a "quick fix" to feel better for the day of the wedding. He said, "this is something that needs to run its course." I wept in my moms arms repeatedly saying, "No one deserves to feel this way on their wedding day." We never made it up to our hotel that we paid for that night due to my extreme pain. Thursday arrived and I had no choice but to move forward despite how horrible I felt to make it through my rehearsal, followed by rehearsal dinner. I pulled through, miserably. Taking it all in, seeing our family and friends all in one space was so incredibly special. I left my rehearsal dinner early to get some rest for the next day. When I went to bed that night I prayed to God on my hands and knees and asked that I woke up feeling even a little better, so I could enjoy the day I waited for my entire life.
I woke up on Friday, March 6th 2020 not feeling much relief. I took a hot shower to ease the pain. When I got out I sat on the bed alone in my bridal suite and I thanked God. I thanked him for sending me the man of my dreams. I asked him for strength for the day and then said to myself, "Today I get to be a bride, and it is going to be the best day ever, no matter what."
I tried to enjoy getting ready with my beautiful and supportive bridesmaids as much as I could, still struggling in pain, yet smiling through. But the moment I put on my "made for me, breathtaking wedding gown" my prayers had been answered and my adrenaline kicked in. The day was beautiful...truly like a dream. The church was filled with love and happiness. Our cocktail hour was dreamy and our wedding reception was one hell of a party. We could not have had a more picture perfect day, surrounded by genuine love and support that could be felt for miles and miles. Grateful is an understatement.
Photo: Breathe J Photography
Grateful to have had a celebration with family and our closest friends. Grateful that we got this day. Grateful that this day was the last time many people laughed, danced, socialized, dressed up, hugged someone and had far less worries.
The weekend quickly came to an end (as they all do). We rescheduled our honeymoon to the end of March, figuring my inflammation would be down and pain lessened.
The days following our wedding instantly became filled with uncertainty, anxiousness, hysteria and fear. COVID-19 was not only in China and Italy, but now spreading rapidly throughout the United States. Cities began shutting down, no face to face social interaction, important events to be cancelled until further notice, hospitals flooded with patients, lack of medical equipment to treat patients properly and the death toll rising. I never in my life would have imagined a global pandemic at what was supposed to be the happiest time of our lives.
I cannot help but feel extreme guilt and at the same time sadness anytime anyone says to me, "You got so lucky."... "Wow, just in time."
Yes of course, we were beyond fortunate enough to have had our wedding day, but I can't help but have guilt for the others who looked forward to their event as much as we did have to cancel or postpone. I feel guilty for the bridal and baby showers, proms, graduations, special trips, recitals, plays, sports, ect, that could not happen, but our day did. If you know me, you know I hurt deeply when others do, therefore guilt has played a big part in my emotions because I want so badly for others to experience their special events too.
With this guilt has also come extreme grief. I am grieving that we didn't get to enjoy the wedding "high" that couples typically do the weeks following their wedding due to all the uncertainty and sadness going on. I am grieving the celebration being over in general and difficult and trying times ahead. I am grieving the fact that in the weeks following our wedding day, not one person has asked us, "How is married life?" "How are the newlyweds?" I am grieving for my friends who are expecting babies and the new moms who are scared, for the friends trying to work from home with their young children, for the people and my own family members battling COVID-19 and for the families who have lost a loved one during this time. I am grieving for those who have lost their jobs, and those on the front lines in hospitals, first responders, grocery stores, janitorial staff, pharmacies, ect.
I constantly am reminding myself of the words the priest spoke at our wedding mass. "Life is not perfect, but with love and faith, you will get through."
For the brides out there that have had to reschedule or postpone their wedding day. I promise you, you will get your day. It will be the most perfect celebration. You will enter your marriage on the happiest of terms. You will not be faced with a global pandemic or worldwide shutdown. You will feel all the love and wedding bliss for weeks and months to follow. You will float on cloud nine as you absolutely deserve to in a much healthier and thriving world.
I was certain that March 2020 would be the best and happiest month of my life. And although it did not live up to mine or anyone's expectations, Friday, March 6th, 2020 will forever be the happiest day of my life.
The Grateful, Guilty and Grieving, 3.6.20 Bride
Breathe J Photography