Thursday, March 8, 2012

An emotional weekend...

When Gary was bishop, he met a couple (Dave and Marti) who he found out were related to some long-time-ago friends of ours. Since Gary got to know them fairly well while he was bishop, I got to know them a little bit too. Dave is SO awesome. He looks JUST like a short Robert De Niro with less hair. Marti had cancer years ago and had a recurrence. She thought she had it beat but unfortunately it came back and it has spread. She is in the end stages now and is at home rather than in the hospital. She and Dave never married, although they’ve been together for years and Dave has asked her before. Well, on Friday he asked her again and to his surprise she said yes this time. The wedding was planned for this last Monday.

Saturday, just as we were unloading the car after a trip to Sam’s club, Gary got a call from Dave and answered it, “Hi David, how are you doing?” After a few moments he said, “I’m on my way.” I asked, “What’s up?” He said, “I don’t know, but Dave’s crying.” A couple of hours later I texted him to see if he was okay, and he texted back “yes, still breathing.” Apparently she had stopped breathing and Dave had lost it. (No wonder!) He came home about an hour after that. Sunday went fairly uneventfully, and the wedding was planned for about 5:00 on Monday. About 1:00 on Monday, Gary called to let me know the details of when to go over to Dave and Marti’s house and to see if I could go over early to help out a little and I asked him if anyone had thought to get Marti a bouquet. He said no, and I told him, “Every bride should have a bouquet.” I stopped at the supermarket on the way over (it was about 3:00 by then) to see what I could get. This was the same chain that did Carolyn’s wedding flowers so I was hopeful.

When I got to the floral counter, there wasn’t anyone there, so I was looking around a little when the floral manager came back from lunch. (She was carrying her empty Tupperware with her, with her coat over her arm.) She asked if anyone was helping me and I said no, not yet. Then she asked what I needed and I started to tell her that I had an unusual request. As I was trying to figure out how to tell her what I wanted, of course I started to get all teary-eyed. (Since I get emotional every time I see so much as a PICTURE of my grandkids, that shouldn’t be a surprise…) Anyway, I said, “Let me just tell you what’s going on.” So I explained the whole story, leaving out any identifying info of course.

By the time I finished telling her what was going on so she knew WHY I needed a bouquet with so little notice, she was obviously touched and said, “How about roses?” I said, “Roses will be perfect.” She went to the display case and selected a bunch of “rainbow roses,” a couple of bunches of baby’s breath, and came back to the counter and created a bouquet that was large enough that it was obviously a bride’s bouquet but small enough that it wasn’t going to overwhelm a sick bed. It was tied with white tulle and packaged up so I could drive to the house with them. She said, “I’m only going to charge you for the roses.” It cost $20.

When I got to the car I sat and cried and thought about how amazing it is that people seem to rise to the occasion when there is a need. And I knew that I needed to get the crying over with, because no matter how sad I was that this might be the day she died, it was also Marti's wedding day and I had to pretend that was all I was thinking about. Anyway, after I managed to get my emotions in check I drove over to the house and gave Marti her bouquet. I helped Dave clean up the house a little (bathroom, kitchen, that kind of thing) because there were quite a few people who were going to be there considering it was such a hurried affair. Dave was really grateful for the help, but I think more than that he was grateful that his beloved Marti was being treated as a bride, not a patient. Doesn’t every woman deserve that on her wedding day? It was so touching when the bishop said, “You may now kiss your bride.” Dave didn’t see a woman with a ski cap on, wearing a bathrobe, who couldn’t sit up and who barely had strength to hold her bouquet. He saw his new wife, and his kiss was as tender and sweet as it could be as he knelt by the bed. And afterward he was positively beaming, for the next hour referring to “his wife” as many times as he could work the words into his conversations with others who stopped by to wish them well. (Marty was exhausted by now and had fallen asleep.)

Before the ceremony Dave asked Gary and me to be the witnesses, so we would sign the marriage certificate. After the ceremony just as I was about to sign the certificate Gary pulled me aside and said, “I know you’d like to sign, but do you mind if I talk to Dave and see how he feels about having his cousin and Marti’s son sign instead? It’s important to have family involved in this kind of thing.” At first I thought, “Aww! I want to sign!” But then I thought, “he’s right.” For one thing, years from now Dave and his family won’t know who the heck I am, but they will always know who Marti’s son is. And Marti and her son and Dave had had some problems in the past and having him sign the certificate is a positive thing for them. So really, what does it matter to me? I had the honor of being asked, I don’t NEED to sign. One of the many things I love about Gary is that he does things for the RIGHT reason.

One thing I learned from this weekend is that I have NOTHING to complain about. I wish I didn't have to be reminded so often.