Tag Archives: motherlessbride

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…

“Plenty of Time”

It’s like clockwork. I am asked how wedding planning is going by family, friends, and acquaintances on a regular basis. It is sweet for people to think of me and ask how the wedding planning is progressing. I answer by telling them that I have most of my major vendors, little things here and there completed, and that my biggest concern is finding a wedding cake. (Backstory: My wedding is very kosher, so not only does my cake have to be parve, it also has to be baked in a kosher kitchen, with kosher ingredients, AND supervised by a rabbi. Not so simple.) When explaining this to people they say “Oh! Don’t worry, you have plenty of time!”

Plenty of time? Usually a bride would answer with a smile and say “yeah, you’re right!” However, this is not how I feel on the inside. I may present myself with a smile, agreeing with their belief I have plenty of time, but on the inside I want to shred them a part. Harsh? Maybe. But to continually hear that I have plenty of time from people who have no idea what is going on in my life or do know what is going on but choose to ignore it, is becoming frustrating.

They are right. My wedding is in January 2015. For most brides, they would have plenty of time to figure out all the details. However, in my case, I am doing this (for the most part) alone. I would have plenty of time if my mom was here helping me get everything organized. I would have plenty of time if I was not a full time student, with two jobs, and planning another major event set to take place a month after my wedding for the University I work for. However, that is not the case. I do not have plenty of time. I only have a week off from school until I go back for summer classes and start my summer internship. I do not have a mom who is able to call a million different bakeries in different cities seeing if they are supervised kosher. I do not have my mom here to calm me down and help me with every little detail. I might have time, but not plenty. From my perspective, I have less than 8 months to get everything planned and organized on top of the other responsibilities I am tied too and I am doing it all without the support of my mom.

I realize I complain a lot. I do not want to be a debbie downer. It is hard to change the way I feel planning this wedding without my mom. It is harder to plan it when I am surrounded by people who do not know what it is like to be doing this without my mom. Not just on a task level, but on an emotional level.

Today I went to the tailor where I sent my mom’s dress. Her dress is from 1983, so it was pretty outdated and dare I say, hideous? I knew I wanted to use it in some way or another. I decided to have them cut the neckline into a sweetheart shape. They added straps, and next the are going to shorten the skirt. It is going to be my party dress. I will wear my beautiful wedding gown until 10 pm and then will change into my mom’s dress. It is another way I can honor her. 

When I tried it on, I started crying. For so many reasons. 1: I wish she was here to see how beautiful it turned out. 2: I wish I could know her reaction to the decision I made to reconstruct the dress. 3: I just wish she was here with me. 

It is obvious the fact that being a motherless bride is upsetting and frustrating. I have come to realize one of the hardest aspects of planning your wedding without your mom is not having someone come to every appointment with you. I am constantly having to ask aunts and friends to come with me, and when I have multiple appointments in a week, I usually just go to some of them alone.

I have started feeling guilty when asking someone to come with me to multiple appointments in one week. When you have your mother, I assume that they attend every appointment with you. And how could you feel guilty about asking your mom to attend the multiple wedding appointments you have scheduled? You wouldn’t, because thats what a mom wants to do for their daughter. They want to be involved in the wedding planning process, help pick out decorations, find a cake, see you in their dress, even the dress you picked out to be your wedding gown. I cried multiple times today while trying my dress on for the first time since it arrived in the salon, and while trying on her dress, the dress I plan to wear later in the night for the reception. 

How do I get over this guilt I feel every time I need to go to an appointment. Sometimes it’s better to go alone and deal with my feelings, not be guilty, and just get it done than having someone with me who does not understand the pain I feel doing this all without my mom. It’s hard because to them, she isn’t a necessity, but to me she is all I need and want during this process and in life.

Motherless brides: Who goes with you to all your appointments? Do you ever feel bad constantly asking people to attend appointments with you?

I thought it would get easier as the planning process continued but am finding that it is only getting harder.