After rereading my marriage story, which was first shared in a friends-locked post here, I decided to share it again to mark the occasion. I'll keep this posted publicly, at least for a little while, so some of my non-lj friends and family can read it if they like. I can share it a little more now.
I was so, so angry about the timing of this whole thing. I know I probably shouldn't have been, but I really felt like Universe was giving me a big yeah, fuck you by trying to take my mommy right when it did. Not funny, but that's the truth. Honestly though, our marriage could never in a million years have started out so strong and so powerful as it ended up being.
I told Josh we didn't have to get married that day, or at all that weekend if he didn't want. Josh had been so wonderful keeping the kids through all this. He just dropped everything else so he could be with them, and I could be with mom. I had been with her nearly the whole time, making sure never to miss a visitation and sometimes in between, and I'd dedicated Friday to Josh no matter what happened. The whole week, Josh had not seen mom even once. If we were going to get married and do it right there in her presence, he would have to see her for the first time, assimilate that (and it was bad), and then get married. I told him how I'd never wished that kind of start for our marriage anyway, and I certainly wouldn't want to force him to do it if he didn't want. Josh hadn't *wanted* to see mom like she was. He was holding the image of her in health and vibrancy, the vision of the watercolor someone had done of her once.
But Josh was so awesomely amazing. He knew that whether we did it or not, we'd be stopping life support the next day, Saturday. I mean, we're spiritual believers enough to know that mom would be there no matter what. But Josh said we'd go ahead and do it, and that no he hadn't wanted to see her like that, but he felt we should go ahead if everyone else was supportive of that. We knew mom wouldn't want us to put it off because of her. All we'd heard from folks was how everyone had talked to her that weekend (and seriously, she talked to damn near everyone Sunday night before it happened), and she'd been so excited and told them all about our wedding coming up. So, as Tina declared, “All right, congratulations honey, it's your wedding day.”
We headed home to gather up what stuff we did have. We'd been planning to get several things that week, and I really didn't want our wedding to be put together slip-shod. I'm big on ceremonies anyway, and I really needed to put intent and sacredness into it.
When I got home though, oh wow! I hadn't thought about the time I'd have to take with Achaiah. My poor dog was flipping out. Believe what you will, but my dog is my canine soul mate and we have had many, many a weird shared spiritual experience together in our 7 ½ years together. We are connected in a way I never thought possible with an animal, and she's oddly sensitive anyway. When I got home, I realized Achaiah knew exactly what was going on. In fact, I really suspect she – and possibly our kids (especially Ivy) – had been visited by mom.
Poor Achaiah. She was all up in my lap, whining and going nuts like I'd never seen her go nuts. I petted and rubbed and tried to calm her. I sat and explained everything to her, and she just started whining and literally flipping around more and more. To the point where I'd been talking, petting, and reiking for probably 30 minutes to no avail. I realized, well, everyone in the house has been attuned to reiki except her. Jen's healing attunement had been so powerful for me, and I'd also snuck in when no one was around and gave my mom her Master's attunement for healing &/or ease of passing over. (Incidentally, mom is the first Reiki Master I ever made). So I gave Achaiah an attunement, as best I could. It had to be a bit modified, especially since she was so wallow-y in my lap. She started calming down half-way through it though, and by the time I finished the whole process, she was calm and laying at my feet. I do not exaggerate a bit.
Once that was taken care of, I showered. Ah. Never neglect the power of a nice long shower in the middle of a tragedy. I even let myself cry a little bit, in hopes that I wouldn't do any at the ceremony. I did a little cleansing visualization afterwards, and I came out feeling so much more refreshed. Even a little giddy about the whole getting married concept. I found a rose powder mom had made for me as a Christmas gift one year, and I covered myself with that. Rose is my favorite.
I gathered up the four little favor boxes I had, and got a giant bowl to mix the rose petals in. We had petals for the flower girl baskets. The girls couldn't be there, but I wanted the roses to be. We'll use them again at the real wedding. I used my smudges to smudge everything, and made sure bits of sage and sweetgrass went into the rose petals.
I opened the door and windows to get light in, and cleared off some counter space. The house was beyond messy with me gone for a week. I had to create the space, both for preparing the objects and my own center. I smudged the room with sage first, for healing, and as I went to smudge myself, I felt like I should be by the door in the light. Achaiah came and sat in front of me as I smudged myself, so then I also smudged her with all the reiki symbols. She got up and left as soon as I was done, and was fine from then on.
I repeated the smudging on the room and myself with sweetgrass, which is the Spirit of Kindness. Compassion comes after healing, I felt. By this time Josh had found some suitable 'nice clothes', and I asked him if he'd help me prepare. I've been trying for years to get Josh to ceremony with me, and he never has. I told him that our marriage should be the exception, and he hooked up the rings on the ring bearer pillow for the smudging while I finished smudging the supplies. Then he held the pillow as I smudged the rings last, and then I believe that I accidentally married us.
Not legally, although I am technically ordained. Basically I thanked him for helping me do that, and then I told him why I was marrying him. I felt a tangible whoosh of energy, very similar to a reiki attunement. Someone asked me if I felt different being married. We've been together so long that I really thought it was just the legality thing, no different. But nope. From that moment forward, I've felt very, very different.
We headed back out after we had some bags packed, and got ahold of my sister. I told them that I wanted to go to Van Wingerden and get some of the flowers mom actually grew to make my bouquet. Tina said, “Oh, we've already taken care of that for you.” Lyz had made my bouquet. There were more flowers than I realized at mom's, since she'd brought a bunch home for my wedding. I met them at mom's, and I'd planned to get the bridesmaid's dress that mom and I had bought together for Tina. It was white, and Tina was going to let me use it for a wedding dress. But yipes! That thing did not work on me a bit. Lyz ended up wearing it, and Tina gave me one of her Vegas trip outfits that she hadn't worn.
We at least had fun trying things on in mom's room. Interestingly enough, I'd found one of mom's writings on anger laying around. I read most of it there and took it with me to digest later. I considered it a wedding gift, although I'm not sure if maybe one of my sisters didn't leave it out.
I gave my sisters their necklaces, which it seemed they really liked. Mine was a turtle, because I'm a bit of a turtle girl. I got a crescent moon for Lyz, and a little orb-y one that looked to me like Tina and ended up matching her outfit.
We went to the hospital, and I met up with Grandma and the family entire. Our family is large. Grandma had seven children, and all of them were there except Uncle Pat and his wife, who were due to arrive Saturday. Most of the IL cousins had stayed there, although Uncle Tom's kids Devin and Quincy came. My cousin Tadd lives here in Asheville, and he was there. Also, my cousin Cole is my age and was my best friend for years. He couldn't be there, although he called when he heard the news from Pat. Cole just happened to call again as we were on our way to go get married. I consider him there as well.
I visited a little but it was already getting late, so I went to go change. I couldn't let Josh see me beforehand, of course. The last thing we needed was bad luck. Ha. Anyway, he and Tina went down to wait for K'Sitew and I brided up. Besides the outfit, all I really had was one of mom's necklaces. Tina and Lyz gave it to me for my old, borrowed, and blue. Tina thought we cheated on the new with the flowers and unworn skirt, but really I thought what we were doing seemed a whole new kind of new. K'Sitew actually mentioned something about new beginnings in the service, and that touched me, too.
We all went right into mom's room, and Josh and I stood with K'Sitew and his beloved, Kathleen, on one side of mom. The McDivitt family, and Tina's man Adam, crowded in as best they could. It was actually really nice to have everyone there, even though it couldn't help but be kind of sad.
K'Sitew (who is also my Reiki Master), did a lovely ceremony. He started with invoking the sacred space, and I think he said some things on the cycle of life. Josh pointed out that my grandma kept her eyes closed the whole time, just nodding sometimes, treating the whole thing like a prayer. K'Sitew offered the rings to the four directions and asked for the blessings of each. I read one of the poems I'd wanted at the wedding, the one I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to read. Steady voice most the way, baby...go me.
I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.
I love you, not only for what you have made yourself, but for what you are making of me.
I love you for the part of me that you bring out.
I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart, and passing over all the foolish, weak things you can't help dimly seeing there.
And for drawing out into the light all the beautiful belongings that no one else has looked quite far enough to find.
I love you.
- Mary Carolyn Davies
It was funny, because about half way through I saw Tina and Adam in hushed conversation with the camera, and she mouthed an apology that they were running out of batteries and wouldn't catch the kiss. It was just another funny thing. I really didn't care. At just about the same time, Aunt Bonnie realized her camera had video and she started recording it, and I'm glad, because she actually caught the best part.
We did our vows and the rings, and it was funny because we had a blessing to go with it, after the vows, and Josh wasn't sure when he was supposed to kiss me. You can totally tell in the video that he wants to, and it's incredibly cute. We ended up having the best surprise present I could ever have asked for.
I mentioned that my mom was an amazing singer. Her whole family is just a bardic family. I don't know why I never got to inherit any of it, but all of them can play at least one instrument and sing – beautifully alone and even more beautifully together. Half the family is in a band called Cuzband (most of the McDivitts and some of the Iveys have all been in this at some point). Before my wedding day, one of my greatest memories is when I was 17 or so on a trip back to IL, and I was invited to sing with mom and most of the aunts and uncles in church for Grandma on mother's day.
Well at our ceremony, the whole family started singing for us. Uncle Tom started it, and everybody picked it up without missing a beat. They sang Amazing Grace. It was so beautiful. Uncle Tom told me later that mom told him to do it, and I more than believe it if that's what he says.
We got our marriage hoop, which I think was very healing. I had wanted the ceremony to be a healing ceremony. Then we got our kiss, and became Mister and Missus.
K'Sitew and Kathleen took us out for dinner afterwards, and it was the first time I was able to eat all week. As we left the hospital, it started sprinkling for the first time, and it was positively thunderstorming by the time we got down the road to the restaurant. Josh murmured to me on the way out, “Good, a cleansing rain” when it was just sprinkling, and K'Sitew and Kathleen started calling out “Thunderbird!” every time the lightning started crashing.
It stormed like crazy all night, and though it rained off and on all weekend, the wind was the craziest I've seen it in a long time. It literally almost lifted Eden off the ground. Josh and I kind of feel like the sprinkling started at the beginning of mom's passing process. I also mention mom's great spiritual presence. The life of this woman was amazing, and I really believe her death was too. When a powerful presence crosses, it's more power than the conscious mind can reason. I've never been around death before this, not counting the occasional loss of a pet. I remember Papa dying, but I was just a little older than Eden and heard about it rather than experienced it. It was so hard being mom first, when she was so young and ready to start living for herself. All week though... not just me, almost everyone in the family came to me and said, “It sounds crazy, but Christy has been talking to me all week. The weirdest things have been happening.”
From when they literally wheeled her under my nose at the hospital, it's been beyond-coincidental intense. I've touched on a few things, but it's quite literally the tip of the iceberg. When I felt that rain, I felt it start, and I honestly believe the earth – or at least our little mountains here – mirrored the force of my mom's departure.
Dinner with K'Sitew was good. He told about the Cree way, when he lost his son and his Cree wife comforted him. He was so tired of hearing things like “A parent should never have to go through that” and condolences and things. He called his Cree wife and she exclaimed, “Oh, you have a new helper! I'll get my pipe.” I like that. K'Sitew offered to do a pipe ceremony for my mom whenever I want, and I think I'm going to try to do that soon.
When we left them, we just drove around alone together for a little while. It was indeed bittersweet, but we just talked about mom the whole time. Josh and Adam really hung out alone with mom way more than anyone realizes. For like four years, Josh saw or was hanging out with mom every day. They'd always chill there while I ran off and did my church thing, or classes, or when I started working down the road. We shared so many good Momma stories. He told me about one where they went off with Eden to play frisbee in the park, and how he was blown away by mom's frisbee skill. He described it and had it down perfect. I remember Mom's frisbee goddessness from childhood, but it would have been cool as hell to see her out there doing it again. Mad tricks. It's just the perfect picture of mom. I later begged him into telling it at her memorial, and really, it helped the whole family. So mom.
She was a foosball champ, too.
Oh, but anyway. This is what we did for a few hours after we got married. Just back and forth with the Mom stories, and I could tangibly feel the two-hearts-become-one process. It hurt too, but in a good way.
Tina called (I did bust out with “Mrs. Mack speaking”) and asked where we were at. She was drinking with Uncle Mike and his Linda (we have two) and they wanted us to join us. That's often how our family both grieves and celebrates. Not the healthiest thing, but it's what we do when we're not singing or telling dirty stories. We're Irish, I make little excuse.
Josh still wanted to be alone for a while, so we planned to meet up with them later. It was maybe 1 or 1:30 when we got to their hotel. Adam had gotten me margarita makings, but they'd forgotten salt and lime. Tina had drunk a little already, and she tried to talk me into taking a shot of tequila and chasing it with sweet & sour. I was not quite that celebratory or grievous, but I consented to her shot when they found me some soda pop. Her shot was like a third of the little plastic hotel glasses, though. I think it was a big shot. This one, unlike the three margaritas I'd had a few days previous, went to my head fairly quickly.
I really didn't want to go back to the house, and Mike & Linda were super kind and gave us a wedding gift. We decided to use it to get a hotel room, although we couldn't quite bring ourselves to stay in the one all the family was staying at. So we had a little honeymoon after all, and Ed, Romella, and Keia from church had visited, bringing prayer shawls and our wedding brownies Josh had asked for. We ended up using that for our wedding cake. We fed a piece to each other, and Josh let the kids have a piece later, but I think he mostly ate it himself.
All in all, the very best wedding I could have asked for, given the circumstances. There's no doubt that we did the right thing, and I certainly married the right man.
Lyz & Tina
Tina with cousins Quincy and Tadd. Lyz is peeking a bit.
Before the ceremony: Grandma Louise, Tadd, me, Uncle Terry, and K'Sitew