23 September 2007

The Moment

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.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know, I have tears in my eyes just imagining how your voice caught when you hit those lines, and couldn't get them out. But if I were your friends, I would find the reading that much more beautiful and meaningful because of the emotion you expressed when you read them. You shouldn't feel bad about it.

Weddings are such emotional events, it is not surprising that "the moment" happened there. A friend and work colleague of mine lost his daughter to cancer when she was just 16, after a years-long struggle. It was a very long time before he and his wife were able to participate in celebrations of any kind, especially weddings. I didn't really understand why he couldn't suck it up and attend another work colleague's wedding attended by the entire office, until the bride did the first dance with her father, and then I understood.

Heather said...

I'm just so glad these friends treated you right. Hold on to them, as they seem to get that sometimes you can't control it all. I hope it felt good to let that emotion out. I'm sure it helped to not have the kids with you. I can see how having them around makes you feel like you have to be strong, and when they're not there, the converse of that allows you to be weak and emotional. That's good, even just for short time. I'm glad you had this safe chance to have that good first cry.

Kathy said...

Awww I am tearing up just reading this. Of course you are going to be emotional in a situation like this. I certainly do not think it was the wrong place or wrong time. You needed to do it and you knew it was coming eventually. Its important to remember that you have been through something horrific. People understand. I truly hope that you are feeling a little better after your first real cry. Crying is important and you will probably do it again. It just showed how much John means to you and was a raw sense of emotion that can be so special during a ceremony designed to express this very feeling.

Yankee T said...

Poor angel. It makes perfect sense that a wedding was the moment, and that poem was the catalyst. Your friends sound so terrific. I'm so proud of you for carrying on the way you have, and I'm so sorry you have to endure the sorrow way down in your soul.
I'm sending my love from miles away and hoping that you are somehow mending through the tears.
I'm so, so sorry, Snick, just so sorry.

Veronica said...

I am glad that you were with friends when your catalyst happened and even gladder that they were good friends.

I am so very sorry for your loss.

(((hugs)))

FingKASIL said...

I am in awe. Your courage. Your generosity. Your devotion to your friends. I'll bet this is a moment that no one there will ever forget. I'll bet the first 24 lines of the reading were unforgettable too, just by having them read by you. Chin up, Snick. You are a hero to a lot of us out here.

Rev Dr Mom said...

Oh, Snick.....hugs.

Rachel said...

I think even just being at a wedding would be such a painful reminder of your loss. You were very brave to do the reading, and I'm sure it was that much more meaningful to your friends.

I hope that your tears were cathartic.

Lois Lane said...

i've read your blog for quite some time now and have thought of you quite often and have even said some silent prayers for you although i haven't commented before. i just wanted you to know that i think you're so strong. the twins couldn't have a better mother. i couldn't have made it through any lines of that poem. i'm sure john would be so proud of you.

Melany aka Supermom said...

That must have been so very very hard on you. I'm sure your friends completely understand that emotion got a hold of you so.

B.E.C.K. said...

Oh, I feel for you. Big hugs...

Cass said...

You know I'm sitting in my office crying and thinking this: How lucky John was to be loved by you...to have a partner that was with him as you were and how blessed your children will be because they call you Mom.

Anonymous said...

Although I got tears in my eyes from your story, it also made me laugh. Because of course, life being the way it is, this is the moment it would hit you.

Jill

Klynn said...

I could never have even attempted such a reading. I get so emotional at such things, I really should just keep a box of tissues at all times. Just reading your post makes me weepy.

You are so brave and loving. I'm sure that meant the world to your friends. I hope that they remember your reading as a special gift to them, instead of as a moment of sadness.

halfmama said...

Perhaps you don't feel this way, but I am in awe of your strength. Even through an intense crying fit, you constantly demonstrate your strength. Your friends must be incredibly appreciative and touched that you did that for them.

Manda said...

Oh, Snick... On one hand, I'm very sorry that you had to go through that. On the other hand, I think it's a very important part of your "healing." I don't want you to think that I mean healing as "getting over it" because I don't... Losing a spouse isn't something you just "get over." Especially when you love that spouse the way you love(d) John.

I think that a lot of people fail to realize that the grieving and missing him never really stops. I would wager a guess that there will always be things that make you miss him to the very core of your soul, long after he passed away. But the fact that you felt that grief so strongly and openly is another reminder of the love that you and John shared.

Someday, your children will see all that you've gone through and they too will stand in awe of your strength and courage. THAT will be one beautiful day.

lct said...

Thinking of you as you post this latest chapter.

BrooklynGirl said...

God, what a moment. Thinking of you.

Leggy said...

Oh Snick- hugs!!!

Over the years, I've found weddings to be increasingly more intense for me, and I haven't lost my spouse. But the father/daughter dance, the frequent references to having children some day (cause most of us take that as a given), and just the general verklempt about thinking of my own wedding and what the years have done to us (both good and bad, but way more intense that I expected).
I'm sorry it was so intense, but I'm glad you were able to express some of that intense emotion you've been carrying around.

Anonymous said...

crying is good.. most people probably didn't know why you were crying but sometimes you just have no control.. Your husband will always live in your heart. If you stop crying, that doesn't mean you have forgotten him. you never will.
I wish i had the right words to say to you. but just know that your husband is watching over you and is very proud of all that you have accomplished. You are truely amazing for acomplishing so much as a single mother.
{hugs}

Jolene said...

ugh...you finally had the moment. I got a knot in my throat just reading this. And they had sunflowers too. You are an incredibly strong and giving person for agreeing to read at their wedding. John is proud of you. I don't even know what to say...if it were me, I don't think I would've gotten through the poem at all. As always, my thoughts are with you.

OTRgirl said...

Those lines (and your post) made me tear up. Grieving seems to be full of sneaker waves that come when least expected and sweep one along with strong (and bewildering) emotions. I'm glad your friends reacted well and that you were able to focus on yourself without the twins in the midst of all that.

winecat said...

Oh Snick I'm glad you were with friends when this happened.

Anonymous said...

Sorrow cannot be "dry-cleaned". It must be washed with tears. How lovely you were among true friends who comforted you. How amazing you could read the poem at all. You are a strong woman. Crying doesn't make you less...it makes you more.

Anonymous said...

If I were those friends, the ones who chose you to read that poem, I would feel so affirmed --they clearly found the right person to read it, one who truly owned those lines and knew what they meant. Too often vows and readings are done by rote; you, I am certain, conveyed everything that makes a wedding and a marriage what some traditions term a sacrament.

Lisa said...

Oh, that unexpectedly made me cry. Hugs to you and your family and I'm glad you were with good friends.

Anonymous said...

I don't cry very often, but I do know that when I do reach one of those unexpected moments, it is usually exactly what I needed. Sending a big hug your way.

- A

liz said...

Thinking of you and sending hugs.

Amy said...

I'm so sorry :( But yes, tears good. Cleansing. Just sorry you feel bad for when they came.

soralis said...

So sorry to hear about the timing, but you needed to get it out. I can't imagine how difficult a wedding would be after the loss of a spouse. Hugs

MetroDad said...

Just reading this made me a little weepy. Nothing wrong with a good cry though. I'm glad you were in the company of good friends. It must have been so hard for you. I can't even imagine.

buddha_girl said...

Thank you for sharing such a genuine moment here. I expect nothing less from you.

I'm so glad your friends understood and believed that getting through the poem rather than giving up would mean so much to everyone there.

Here's to more crying. Seriously.

jv said...

I cry just imagining it. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.

Vanessa said...

You're not alone -- the exact same thing happened to me at the first wedding I attended after my husband's death (and I wasn't even a reader, just the mother of the flower girl). I cried more there than I did at his funeral, and it caught me completely off guard. I haven't been to another wedding since, but I can only assume that as with so many of these situations, it gets better over time.

{{hugs}} to you