Joyous June on the second day of the month turned out to be full of happiness. Yesterday we went to a wedding. The bride is a dear friend, we have travelled the ups and downs of life together for close on twenty years. The groom has also become a friend, his cheeky charm and wonderful anarchist ways endeared me to him the second I met him. My friend loves him and he loves her back. What a happy, happy day. She looked amazing in cream lace, she walked to meet him holding the hand of a tiny girl, her granddaughter, who made a fabulous flower girl. Family and friends all around, everyone dressed in bright summery colours, hats a plenty, and lots of smiles. The bride took her place next to her love sitting beside him.
There will be many, many June weddings, lots of couples, loved up, sharing their vows with family and friends. There will be honeymoons and happy ever afters. This wedding was slightly different. For this couple the happy ever after is likely to be counted in weeks rather than years, their honeymoon will be spent at the hospice where the groom is cared for and loved by everyone around him. The hospice that held the wedding yesterday. How sad, we all say, and we are right, it is sad. Sad that they won’t grow old together, they won’t ever get to have ‘the remember when we were first married’ conversations. Yes is could be all sad. Yet this wedding was something quite amazing. It was simply a reminder to live in the present. To be today as we are, to be grateful for the love around us and to live in the moment.
The speeches came, everyone wished them well, and the bride and groom both spoke to the wedding party. I was struck by their courage, by their humour and by their honesty. The groom especially, for whom talking was difficult, spoke of finding love, of holding on and of joy and smiles. It was amazing. They both talked about all the things they had shared since diagnosis, when the decision was made to live the life they wanted and not worry about what was to be. They talked of the opera they have seen, the camping, the holidays, the walks in countryside, the fun with family and friends. This couple have lived a lifetime in a couple of years. So many memories to cherish, so much fun has been had. It became hard to be sad for them. It was as if they were showing us all what really is important in this thing we all call life.
When the groom spoke of dying, as indeed did the bride, it was almost matter of fact, in fact that is exactly what it is, a matter of fact. One day, soon the groom will no longer be here. Again this was incredibly emotional but inspirational in the courage they showed. They are at peace with what is to be, and they did not for one second allow sadness to determine the mood on this, their wedding day. A day full of love, hope, courage and kindness. A day when children played, photographs were taken and confetti thrown. A wedding like any other, and yet unlike any I have ever known.
It has made me reflect on how it would be if we all knew what was to come. How would we spend these precious days of ours, days in the sunshine with people we love. This Bride and Groom have been able to talk about all the things most of us are scared of discussing, they are facing life, and ultimately death, together. It reminded me that none of us know what is around our corner. How important it is to live now, today, for in truth it is all any of us has.
The end of the wedding everyone sang along to a favourite Beatles tune, the choice was perfect as indeed was the whole day. A June wedding like no other, full of happiness, courage and love we all sang with great heart ‘All You Need is Love’
Yesterday. I learned that actually love is indeed all you need.