I knew this moment would come. Experts and nonexperts alike agreed that it was only a matter of time. A big part of me didn't believe any of them, but another part of me had to acknowledge that it seemed logical that it would happen.
Over the weekend, I mourned John's death by being blindsided by an intense crying fit.
All things considered, I've been remarkably nonweepy since John died. I don't say that with pride; it's just an observation. In general, I'm a crier. Anger, frustration, irritation, sadness, joy, you name it: I have been known to express it with tears. Until this weekend, grief didn't fit the mold. Much as I sometimes wanted to, I hadn't had a truly cathartic crying fit about John. Oh, I've cried since he died, but not really about him. I've cried about daily woes and annoyances, but not about the deeper issue.
This time, it was all about John. Of course, it happened at an incredibly inopportune time. A couple of weeks ago, a friend asked me to be a reader at her wedding. I said yes without a moment's thought. What an honor! I love public speaking, so I wasn't worried about that aspect. And I was truly touched that my friends—poets themselves—would trust me to read a poem at their wedding.
I practiced at home, in the car on the way down to New York, in the school bus that delivered guests to the state park where the wedding took place. I was fine. I was a bit worried that my emotions would run high when I gave my introduction to the poem, but I ran through that a few times too and, by the time I arrived at the ceremony, I felt in control.
I underestimated the power of being at my first wedding since John died. Of seeing a friend walk down the aisle. Of the beauty of the day. How was I to know that my friends had chosen sunflowers, the same as John and me?
I was teary from the moment I saw the bride come down the aisle. My reading came at the beginning of the ceremony. I got through my introduction. I got through 24 lines of the poem. Then I got to the last three, and I started to sob. I don't think anyone at the wedding could understand these lines, from Whitman's "Song of the Open Road," through my tears:
Will you give me yourself?
Will you come with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?
My friends were wonderful; they gave me big hugs and just let me get through it. I felt bad for making such a spectacle at the beginning of the ceremony; they felt bad for being "insensitive" in assigning me that reading. I hold nothing against them, although I don't think they believed me when I told them so.
I was weepy for the rest of the ceremony and for part of the reception. Writing about it makes me weepy again. I'm glad I was in the company of friends, away from home, without the twins. All that allowed me to focus on myself. I know I needed that cry. I'm sure it will happen again. I just hope it's not the middle of someone's wedding.