Wedding Day Memories and Lessons

Eleven months and eleven days ago, I was oddly grateful that it would be a long time before I had to “celebrate” our first wedding anniversary without Dale.  Now, as I write this, it is a mere 2 days away and I’ve been in tears for the past few weeks, dreading the emotions of this day.  Yes, September 27, 1986 was one of the very best days of my life.

What day better represents your hopes and dreams as a married couple more than your wedding day?

We lived in the Twin Cities area at the time, me on the St. Paul side, Dale on the Minneapolis side and were in the process of building a home on an acreage north of Stillwater, MN where we would live for the next 5 ½ years.

My across-the-alley neighbor at the time had told me about the venue his daughter had gotten married on and I immediately thought it would be such a cool idea!  So, we celebrated our wedding with a 4-hour cruise on the Jonathan Padelford paddle boat on the Mississippi River, out of the port of St. Paul, with about 90 of our friends anIMG_0323d family members.  God bless our pastor for signing on to that kind of commitment!

It was a beautiful, sunny September day and it was all that a bride could dream of and more.  After the ceremony, we danced the night away to a live band and everyone had a grand old time!  A white limousine picked us up when we returned to port and we enjoyed a fun tour around the lakes in Minneapolis.  Truly a dream-come-true kind of day and I’m so grateful for all those memories that make me smile 32 years later.

As I thought through the memories of that day and all the joy that it held, I didn’t want this post to JUST be about those memories.  I wanted to share another truth and an inside look, if you will, at this grieving process.  Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but, let’s face it, days like this are bittersweet.

Think with me, for a moment, of the greatest love of your life.  It could be your spouse – especially back on your wedding day.  It might be the love you felt when your children were born.  Maybe it’s the love you had for a parent or a grandparent or a sibling or a best friend.  Maybe even a beloved pet.

For me, there’s no question that the greatest, deepest love of my life was, and still is, Dale.  Have you decided who YOUR greatest love is?    Don’t read on until you have!  😊

Now, let me ask you this, “Was there ANYTHING you could have done to change the way you felt about that person at that point in your life?”  I’m quite certain your answer would be a resounding NO!  That kind of love is so powerful that no amount of sheer will could have dimmed its radiance in your life.

The parallel I want to draw for you now is this:  Just like there was NOTHING I could do to change how deep my love was for Dale on that special day 32 years ago, there is now NOTHING I can do to change the depth of my grief for him now that he is gone.  They are directly linked.

Let that sink in for a moment…  I’m sure the first reaction for some of you might be to try to dispute that or talk me out of feeling that way.  Surely I must be able to do SOMETHING to move past all this pain.  Well, I’m doing all the things I “should” during this grieving period.  I’m eating healthy (mostly), I’m sleeping well, I’m exercising daily, I’m engaged in normal life activities, I’m actively pursuing the ministry God has called me to, I’m in constant communication with God.

And yet, the pain and sorrow and grieving remain.  Healing will never come from my own hand or will.  It will be a function of time, to a certain degree.  And ultimately, any healing will come as I continue to rely on God’s hand leading me through this dark time.

So, my message to you, dear readers, is this:  Whether you understand it or agree with it or not, just trust me when I tell you that lessening or eliminating this heartache is as out of my control today as changing my love for Dale would have been 32 years ago.

If you doubt that, go back to that love you were remembering just a few minutes ago.  Can’t change it, can you?  That’s the message.  That’s the lesson.

So, what’s your takeaway?  Don’t rush someone through their grieving process.  Don’t tell them to move on.  Don’t expect normalcy – and don’t let it fool you if you see it.

Cry with me.  Grieve with me.  Extend kindness and grace and understanding.  Be a blessing to your grieving friend.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:26

16 thoughts on “Wedding Day Memories and Lessons”

  1. Thinking of you today, Lynne.❤️
    Thank you for showing us the depth of your sorrow, as well as your love for Dale.
    Blessings to you from Maryland,
    Tom & Mary

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  2. When I read your posts I try to give them time to simply sit on my mind and the more time I give them the more dept they have. Your work is so full of truth, love, Gods word and comfort. I’m sick that your grief is so deep but thankful for the way you can express yourself and comfort others.

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    1. Thanks, Wes. Comfort during this time is a tricky thing. I feel God’s comfort more in the blessings He drops into my life, and not so much in having less pain. That’s my human definition of comfort but that’s not actually how God is working here. But don’t stop praying! Just know that it manifests itself differently than we might think, or hope! Miss you guys too.

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  3. Dear Lynne, I’m finally coming up for air and had some quiet time to ruminate with your latest blog. This one made my heart heavy. Your “perspective exercise” was very poignant and made it gut-wrenchingly relevant. I didn’t like being in your (Dutch/wooden) shoes. But it helped me tremendously to feel the void, if only for a moment, which you are experiencing. I don’t envy your grief, but please know that I walk along with you as best as I know how…and I’m getting better every time you share your words of wisdom and perspective with us. Much love & hugs, Susan (looking forward to seeing you next week)

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    1. Thank you, Susan. No, I would not wish this season on anyone and yet MANY of us will walk it.

      We do a disservice to others when we sugarcoat this reality. And it can often make grieving people feel like something is wrong with them.

      I always appreciate your comments and your support.

      Looking forward to seeing you guys soon.

      And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

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