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white dress, pink flowers

This is me.

August 5th, 2000.

20 years ago, today.

I'm sitting in a decorated car on Main Street in my hometown. A young, excited, slightly nervous bride full of hope and confidence in the future. I'm wearing a two piece gown I bought at Ethos Bridal Boutique in Calgary. I have a headband that I adored, and a detachable veil sprinkled with pearls. My bouquet was pink roses.

We were married in the Eatonia United Church, the same one where I had worn my favourite Easter bonnet as a girl. It rained during the ceremony and then the sun shone the rest of the day. We held our reception and dance just up the street at the newly finished community hall. Ours was the first wedding under that roof. When I would come home that summer to help with preparations I would drive into town, look at the site under construction and wonder if it would be done in time. Thankfully, it was.

We had a wonderful day. Family and friends around us, lots of laughs and smiles. Homemade wine on the tables and a midnight lunch to rival any meal. All of our "big city" friends loved the welcoming atmosphere of that small town.

20 years ago we said we would forever. 5 years ago we decided we couldn't anymore. I would love to tell you the separation has been amicable and marked by mutual respect, but that would be a lie. It's been hard and painful and still is not complete. I've given up wondering when resolution will come. Someday it will just surprise me.

The end of a marriage is a death like any other. A grief and a loss, for sure. I know things did not turn out how either of us imagined on that August day. I guess that's life for you. Beautiful, yes. But unpredictable, uncertain and at times, unfair. Don't we all know that to be true now, more than ever.

Garth Brooks famously sang about how our lives are better left to chance. (You're singing it right now in your head, aren't you?) I believe there's more plan than chance in the course of our lives, though we are seldom privy to that plan and even less likely to understand it. Still, there is something to be gained from every experience. I am who I am because of this bright eyed bride and everything she went through. And bonus, we have three amazing children. Healthy, happy and yes...well-adjusted! Thank you, God.

Our wedding was a flash of activity but I distinctly remember that point in the evening when the DJ played "I Knew The Bride (When She Used To Rock and Roll)". A big circle of smiling faces surrounded me, while friends and family all took turns whirling me around in my white dress. I felt happy and carefree and surrounded by love.

It's true...I could've missed the pain. But I'd have had to miss it all.

And I really do love to dance.

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