I got married on July 25th, 2015 in Chatham, Ontario. It was a hot summer day with the rain luckily holding off until everyone made it into the reception venue. I married my best friend and my soul mate. It was a beautiful ceremony and we were surrounded by family and friends, some of which travelled from a far distance to celebrate with us. We had a wonderful photographer who was patient, compassionate and completely understanding of what had happened. She captured candid moments between us and our day.
Then came the day. The day that I was dreading. It was the day our photos came back. I don’t think I had the excited feeling like every other bride I saw on my Facebook newsfeed or the rush of emotion that immediately came over me. I was overcome with emotion, but not the bubbly and bright smiley kind that was to be expected. It was a nervous and anxious ridden feeling that was consuming. Seeing them for the first time was overwhelming. In every photo, I could see my paralysis. I would be teleported back in that exact same moment in time going over every detail in my mind, breathing in and out, concentrating on my breathing and focusing on correcting the left side of my face. I would pick apart each photograph and tell you which ones we had to hide my bouquet because floppy, dead fish hand was gracing us with its presence. Sid had to hold my bouquet because I couldn’t and it was a good thing my dress was so poofy so no one noticed when I bit the dust when my leg decided it needed a break and I lost my balance a few times. Each photo seemed to be a reminder. A reminder of what had just happened and not this day that I was looking forward too for so long. This day that was supposed to be commemorated by these photos forever. Instead, all that I can see are my medical faults.
We have only shared them with a few people close to us. Every photo is beautifully photographed and captured a happy couple elated on their wedding day. But it is when I look closer that I see more. I am immediately drawn to the photos where I was not captured in. To the people that have supported us during our journey.
I have posted one or two on here but it pains me to look at them and when I do I choose to concentrate on Sidney (which I should anyway). It is a constant struggle of back and forth, trying to see past the superficialness of it all and the deeper meaning. That life isn’t about the vanity but about the foundation that you create. I think this is how I try to find the reason behind it because these pictures are something that we are to cherish forever. They are commemorating a day that we will never forget for the rest of our lives. It is something that is a living memory that you want to be able to share with others.
As of this moment, I cannot hang the wedding photographs in my house because I break down into tears at the sight of them. What I see in a photo may be different than someone else. When I look at them, it is a reminder of not the beautiful day that I hope all of our guests had, but of how my body fought against me. The struggle that it gave me to complete the day. Don’t get me wrong, I fought and worked hard for that entire day and paid for it the week after.
I know what you’re thinking. What a negative nancy. Look past what you see in the photos. You have to see the ‘bigger picture’. I have been working towards being “positive” and focusing on the moments that I cherish. I know that I must see the highlights of my special day and not pick apart what was wrong or why I couldn’t do this or that. During the ceremony when the priest announced us as husband and wife, looking down for the first time and seeing the wedding band on my husband’s finger are the mental pictures that I have tucked away in my permanent memory picture bank, these are my wedding photos.
I have much to be thankful for, even being able to attend and go through with my wedding is something that I will always treasure, especially after everything that has happened. For a long time, I didn’t think it was even going to be possible. I think that it will take time and acceptance. One day I will be able to look at the photos. Right now I just need to keep moving on the forward journey that I am on and having the reminder and evidence materialize only brings back feelings and emotions of hurt and fear. Every night when my hand gets tired and will not grasp things and my left eye droops, painful memories arise once again. Having this physically happen is only half the battle. It is the mental strength that I need to keep pushing through because I cannot turn the frame over or leave the room when my body starts to fail me. It is my body. I can’t run away from it. It is there trying to tell me something. Not hanging my wedding photos, a reminder of what happened, gives me the control to shut it out when sometimes I still do not have it all.