This morning I watched my wedding video. Somehow it must have come up with Audrey, and I, yes I, suggested watching it if she’d like. So, after breakfast, at the kitchen table, on my laptop- we watched me getting out of a white limo, smiling…we watched her dad standing at the altar- waiting anxiously. And there I was walking down the aisle, so slowly- so nervously. And being handed off by a tearful father.
I don’t think Audrey noticed how much I cried while I pointed these things out, “See, there’s mommy- I look like a princess right?”
We watched the whole thing- she wouldn’t even let me fast forward the long first dance we had, or your brother’s long toast. There is so much talk throughout about our life together. The pastor praying over us for this fruitful, new union and home we were starting. Your brother’s toast. The Korean tea ceremony afterwards where I dressed in my hambuk and your parents tossed dried fruit into the scarf we held out to represent blessing and future offspring. Everyone, I realize, seemed to expect that this was just the beginning of something that was to last our whole life on earth. It did- your whole life was just a lot shorter than anyone had imagined. The day after I buried you would’ve been our six year anniversary.
Those five little words seem small amidst the flowers and candle-lighting, hors d’oeuvres and wine and dancing and cake cutting and guest signing “We wish you a wonderful life together” “What a great couple,” “May God bless your life together…” They’re in the shadow though, in the background beneath the dance music and glasses clinking together- this, the most joyful day of your life, but intrinsic in that joy is verily the prelude, should you be the one left behind first, to the most painful moments of your life.
“Til death do us part.”
Something is over. In the deepest levels of my existence something is finished, done. My life is divided into before and after. A friend of ours whose husband died young said it meant for her that her youth was over. My youth was already over. But I know what she meant. Something is over.
Sorrow is no longer the islands but the sea.
Prof Nicholas Wolterstorff, “Lament for a Son”