Tag Archives: loss

A bittersweet symphony

Since the last time I wrote (which has been a while, my apologies) a lot has happened in my life, and the life of my family.

Wedding details:
I had my Bachelorette party in New Orleans in October. It was a beautiful time of the year to go, the weather was nice and warm, a nice break from dreary Ohio. Also, I was surrounded by the love of my best friends and family. The weekend was perfect and the only thing I wish I could have changed would be to make it last longer. I had both my bridal showers which were gorgeous and filled with love. However, with the wedding bliss there was also a lot of sadness.

My Aunt Susie, my mother’s only sister, was in and out of the hospital due to heart complications. Before long, it was discovered that she was carrying a rare and mysterious heart disease. Our family was hopeful for a recovery, though we all understood it would not be easy, especially on her. After multiple surgeries that didn’t take, she passed away surrounded by her amazing children, devoted husband, and of course, her two brothers, brother-in-law, and nieces and nephew. I do not want to dwell on that time, as it is something I would not be upset with if I forgot bits and pieces. Like my Mom, I do not want to remember my aunt during her weak times, rather I want to remember her when she was a strong woman, which was the majority of her life.

When my Mom passed away eight years ago, my aunt came to me and hugged me so tight. I remember the moment, the place, even the time of the day this happened. She looked at me and said “I am your surrogate mother, I will be here.” To remember that moment now and it fills my eyes with tears and my heart with sadness. My Aunt Susie and I are both very strong women. So much that when she would give me advice, I would tell her I had it under control and later I would usually take her advice. (For example, she did not like my bolero for my dress, but I told her no way I would change it. I have since decided to not wear the bolero on my wedding day. She was right). In many ways, I was treated like a third daughter. She did not care if I would be upset by her advice, she gave it to me because she thought that was the best thing for me. We did not talk every day, or every week, but when we did talk she would call me and say “Hi Sweetie, what’s going on?” and we would chat about my life, school, O, and most recently the wedding.

My aunt was looking forward to my wedding, and I was looking forward to her being there for me. She was in charge of the gematria, which is adding the numbers of the hebrew alphabet to find meaning in every simcha. She will no longer be able to provide that tradition. As she was in the hospital, she was discussing with others what outfit she was going to wear, and how excited she was. I am my mother’s only daughter, and she knew how important this wedding would have been to my mom. She knew my mom would have taken over and made it the most amazing wedding for me, her little girl. And my aunt wanted to help to make that special in honor of her sister.

In June my aunt called me and asked if I could go to lunch. We met at Parker’s restaurant and talked about everything I still had to do for the wedding. She gave me her advice and then took me on a spontaneous registry spree. We went to Sterling Cut Glass and we registered there. I had no idea what I was doing so I leaned on her to take the lead. She helped me realize what is important to register for and what you should skip. Though I finished registering with the help of my aunt Lisa, my aunt Susie gave me the direction I needed to start it all. Then we made plans to go see my dress that had just come in. We made it a girls day, brought my grandma, cousins Alyce and Layla, and all went down to the bridal salon. We tried on the dress and my aunt let me have a photoshoot with her cell phone. She loved my dress and kept saying over and over “your mother would have just loved this”. I know she was right, because if anyone knew my mother, it was my aunt Susie.

My mom and aunt were best friends. Their relationship made me jealous. I do not have a sister and their tight bond made me long for one. They would laugh for hours and no one would ever know what they were laughing about. They loved taking family vacations together, where they could spend their days together, gossiping, and enjoying the presence of one another. They spoke on the phone more times in a day than could be recorded. Their bond was unbreakable, even when my mom died. My aunt had a difficult time talking about my mom with me, for she could not handle the loss of her baby sister. When she did talk about her though, there was so much pride and love, you could feel it in your bones.

Getting married without my mom was going to be the hardest thing I had ever done. Now, having to get married exactly 2 months after the loss of my aunt, makes me feel so lost. I find myself asking how it is possible to be happy during these times? I am excited to marry the love of my life, a man who is compassionate, hard-working, smart, generous, and handsome. However, the loss feels so overwhelming right now, I am worried about how it will feel on the day. Are others going to be crying because of sadness? Will the day even be happy? The absence of my mother through this experience has been extremely painful. Some days it has been bearable, and others I don’t even want to talk about the wedding because it makes me miserable thinking about doing it without my mom, and now my aunt.

I know I can be negative, but it’s hard being positive when you do not have your mother saying “It’s okay, you’ll get the million of tasks completed in 4 weeks!” or simply helping me get everything completed. Others have offered, and I am so grateful for that. It’s just not the same to do it without your mom, and I guess I would rather do it alone?

My mother and aunt Susie will be honored, along with my grandparents and O’s grandparents at the wedding and in the weekend itself. We will remember them on the wedding day and every day that comes before and every day that follows. And for me, I find some comfort in the fact that their souls will be together surrounding me, Oren, and my family and fill us up with their loving presence. I know they will be there that day, I just wish it could have been different.

It’s the little things…

This past weekend my older cousin got married. It is surreal as we have gone through this planning process together, almost since the very beginning. She became engaged July 2013, and myself in November. When I became engaged, we shared everything about our wedding planning. We gave advice on vendors, decorations, cute ideas to make our weddings unique. We have very different taste (both very good taste if I may say so myself) so neither of us were worried the other one would “steal” anything. It was a dream being engaged and planning a wedding at the same time as my cousin. The only thing we did not share- me having my Mom.

My aunt (her mom) has been more than helpful during my process. I am forever grateful for her advice, guidance, and help. I am very lucky. Her mom and my mom had always been good friends. My mom set her and my uncle up (my uncle was my moms brother- or is it is? Are they still brother and sister if my mom is gone?). My aunt has always been like a second mom to me, so it seems very natural that she is helping me through this wedding planning process.

Though this weekend was amazing in so many ways- the bride looked absolutely stunning, the couple looked amazingly happy, the party and ceremony were so perfect- it reminded me, frequently, of my mother’s absence. Even more so, it reminded me that my mother would be absent on my wedding day.

There is something about family functions- whether it be a wedding, holiday, or just a regular family dinner- that makes the absence of my mom more real. When we take a picture of the girls, it often runs through my head that I am the only girl from my immediate family that is representing my family. I do not have any sisters, and I do not have my mom. I am alone in a sense. This goes through my mind every single time we take an all girls picture. Maybe even more than that…

Furthermore, I am pretty sure me and my family feel her absence more than anyone else. I mean why would that not be the case? This weekend as my aunt was preparing everything for her daughter, as my aunts friends were pitching in to help out their friend, I could not help but think of my situation. Who would be there for me? What friends would bring us lunch to help the flow of the nail appointments? Who is going to help me with my dress, veil, and anything else I may need? It became very real, very fast that not only is my mom absent for the wedding planning, she will also be absent for the day of the wedding.

I know what you’re thinking. How could I possibly not think about this before? Good question. I guess I thought about it, but being in my cousins wedding and seeing all the effort my aunt put into making her daughters weekend perfect, made it more real than it has ever been before. My wedding is not far away, and I am becoming increasingly nervous and hesitant for it to come. Not because I am unsure of the man I am marrying- that is one of the things I am sure about in my life. It is because I do not want to feel the pain of having her absence on that day. I do not want to do everything on my own (but I already am, so what is the difference?). I will probably order lunch for the girls when we get our nails done, I will probably dress myself, I will probably do the things my aunt did for her daughter, for myself. Because, who else is there?

I am not throwing myself a pity party over here. You are probably thinking- well your aunt will help you, duh. Okay, that is fair. However, the loss of my mom is so strong and present, that I do not know if her help, or her presence will even do much for me the day of my wedding.

I should have eloped…

Four months to go…

I can’t believe it. Only four months until I say “I do” to the man I love. I have become lazy with my blogging unfortunately. Life became busy and for a bit I forgot that I had created this blog. I think that I forgot about it mostly because I have been dealing with the absence of my mom better than ever since getting engaged.

It is weird to think I have not had extreme heartbreak in the past couple months. Of course I miss my mom and her presence. Not a second (literally, not one second) goes by that I do not miss my mom. My heart constantly aches for her. Though this is true, I have come to a point during this process where I no longer feel sorry for myself. My mothers absence is what it is. I can’t change it so it’s better that I embrace it, however that may be. In addition, my family and friends are being so helpful to me. They are giving advice and pitching in when I need it the most. I have stopped thinking silly thoughts of people becoming sick of my wedding talk (though I guarentee there are some people who just want me to shut up). I am embracing people’s advice and help and I have stopped feeling guilty. Let’s be real, my mom would want me to get help rather than try to be superwoman and do everything alone. Though, don’t get it wrong, this wedding is basically being planned 99% by yours truly.

I have done a lot in the past few months. My aunt took O and I to register! It was SO tiring. I could not believe how much energy it takes to register. We had to stop midway through. I was becoming hangry (hungry + angry), and really, how much can one register for in one day? A few weeks later, I finished registering online. That was a great decision. I am happy with everything we registered for and have my fingers crossed for a few specific items! One thing I think I should invent from all this- a way to prioritize your registry. I love everything on my registry, but I wish there was a way I could prioritize the items so I definitely get some things, and if I don’t get others, it would not be the end of the world… Oh well. Another project for another year! (Don’t take my idea!)

The save the dates were sent out, but not without a hassle. Boy, did we learn what we DO NOT want to do for the wedding invitations. With headaches and hours spent on labeling, stamping, and stuffing, we are happy that part is finished. It was wonderful to receive the multiple calls and texts about how much people loved our save the dates 🙂

The flower girls dresses are picked out. I am very happy with what we picked out! They are so cute on my nieces and cousin and I can’t wait for them to walk down the aisle and be princesses!

Of course we finished other super important wedding tasks; we added two more musicians to our band making it a 9 piece band, we locked in the lighting contract, the ceremony musician, the cake baker, and had the tasting for the reception! It feels amazing to have so much done. I am working on little things here and there but am happy to say am a lot less stressed than I was before. It’s coming together, as it should be! Remember people, only four more months!! No more “plenty of time” comments 🙂

Though I am emotionally stable with the fact my mother is absent from this time in my life (as of now, who knows when that could change. Seriously, it’s like a switch of a button- as I am sure you know), I am still wondering how I am going to be on the wedding day, or the wedding weekend I should say. I hope I am able to keep it together but also will give myself the freedom to feel what I need to feel. I am never one who holds back my feelings. I know how important it is for myself to experience all the emotions happening in my heart and head.

On September 26th, it will be the 8th anniversary of my mother’s passing. It is so weird. On one hand, 8 years does not seem like a long time at all. One the other hand, it seems like it was so long ago. It is difficult as there are things about my mom that I do not remember. If I try hard I might be able to remember them. I can hear her saying “Sarah” but when I try to remember her voice in other ways, I can’t seem to hear it in my head. I wish for the nights I can dream of her again. Maybe with my wedding coming up she will come to me again in my dreams. I could only be so lucky.

I want to end this post on a very very happy note. Three weeks ago O and I became aunt and uncle X 4. My brother and his wife welcomed a beautiful baby boy into this world. Of course, he was named after my mom. He is beautiful and we all feel so lucky to have this new addition in our family. They live overseas, so I will not meet him until the wedding. That just makes the anticipation for my wedding one trillion times greater.

I promise I will keep up on my writing. Please write to me too! I am honored by those who reply to my posts. I thank those who read my posts and understand the pain I am going through. I think of you often and send my love to you during your own journey.

Birthday.

On Friday I turned 27 years old. There is that age old question, “do you feel different?” Well no, I do not feel different. In fact, I have been feeling this way on my birthday for eight years now. It is beyond crazy to me that my mom has now been gone for eight birthdays! I missed her, as I do every day, and I decided to visit her grave. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the weather was finally warm enough for shorts! I laid on the grass, absorbed the sun, and thought about sweet birthday memories I shared with my mom. I did not want to be sad on my birthday, though sometimes it is hard to control your feelings, as I am sure you know. Sitting at her gravesite gave me the opportunity to reflect and be thankful for the birthdays we did have together. I was in a nasty mood for most of the morning, but after having that time, my mood lifted. I felt better and more connected with her. I just needed to take a moment to reconnect.

I took the day off school and decided it was going to be a *ME* day. I had nothing planned, so as I was sitting watching Teen Wolf relaxing I decided time to catch up with some vendors, book some new ones, and try to get some addresses for my guest list.

Oren and I had our engagement photos on last Sunday. We have a wonderful photographer who is personable and does AMAZING work. We started at Krohn Conservatory which is a beautiful place in Cincinnati to take some pictures. Since it was the end of March, we did not have the best weather. Luckily, it was sunny without a cloud in the sky, but Spring had not sprung yet, and I wanted some color in my pictures! So we went to Krohn to get that effect. It was crowded but very fun and she got some great shots (from what I saw)!

We then hopped into my car and drove downtown. I wanted some pictures of Music Hall. This is a famous building in Cincinnati that hosts the Symphony, the Cincinnati Pops, Opera, among other things. Since it was a Sunday, we could not get inside, but Laura, being a creative genius, used the building and it’s beautiful architecture to capture some gorgeous photos. We then drove downtown and parked at our future venue (love it!) and took some pictures in front of the fountain in the middle of our downtown square.

Laura and I spoke on the phone a couple days before the engagement-shoot and she told me it would be highly unlikely that the fountain would be on since it was so cold outside. I told her that I would still like to drive by it to double check if it was on or off. Either that night or the next, I had a dream that Oren and I were taking our photos in front of the flowing fountain. I knew that dream was foreseeing the future. So, when Laura said maybe we should skip the fountain because it was very chilly outside, I refused to give in telling her I knew it would be on. As we walked around the corner, it was on! We got some great photos in front of the fountain, something I really wanted since during our winter wedding, it most likely will be off. I did not take this sign lightly. I believe that was a little gift sent from above. 

The whole experience was awesome and we are so lucky to be working with Laura. We can not wait to see the final product. We check her blog daily!

On Friday, I booked lighting for my venue, made an appointment with my second bakery for the cake (did not like the first one!) , and requested a proposal for my make-up. I am moving right along with the planning. However, through the process, I still feel frustrated that I am doing it alone. I am becoming overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. I am 9 months away from my date, but that does not make this experience less stressful or sad. I know it’s not right around the corner, but it is going faster than I thought possible.

Where were you 9 months out from your wedding? I have no clue if I am even on track! Thankfully, it hasn’t haunted my dreams yet…