I lay in my hospital bed, eyes filled with tears as I stared longingly at the crisp October sky. This was my long-awaited wedding day. But I wouldn’t be strolling down the aisle in my white satin gown as planned.
I dated Yates for six years, during high school and part of college. We were the proverbial high-school sweethearts. He was my first love and I his. Young and naive, we discovered we each had dreams that required pursuits down different paths. So, we choose to part ways.
For a decade, Yates and I lived separate lives, with different geographies and different experiences. Several failed relationships and many mistakes later, we each discovered an unexplainable void within our lives and within ourselves.
After almost ten years of no contact, Yates reached me through my mother. We reunited and immediately realized what we had been missing in our lives was each other. The paths we choose gave too much up. Our personal self-fulfillment lied within each other.
Within three months we were engaged.
Now on this beautiful October day, my husband-to-be sat next to me on the hospital bed, caressing my hand with sympathetic understanding. We both knew our journey together would not commence on this day.
An unfortunate twist of fate two days earlier, left me with a collapsed lung, several broken ribs, a fractured pelvis and a fractured clavicle. Hours of phone calls ensued, canceling vendors, airline reservations and informing family and friends.
Anger welled up within me, as I relived over and over the memory of the truck that couldn’t stop and ran the stop sign a block from my home. It T-boned my car, catapulting me into the passenger seat, leaving me virtually paralyzed, both physically and emotionally. Why me? I thought. Why now?
Suddenly the details of reception centerpieces and invitation designs, which had seemed so monumental during the planning stages, were now so trivial. Why had I spent hours and hours poring over what color ribbons to use on those darn bubbles? It wasn’t all about me. It was about us. I worried sick about him.
Now, what was important was having my life, my fiancé by my side and a future of memories to make. I had a new perspective on the importance of marriage and of life. We were already living the for worse before even exchanging vows. I knew this was a test of love and we would pass it.
Despite the doctors’ predictions, within a month I was walking without a walker. I had renewed energy and purpose: I was determined to walk down the aisle and marry the man who had bathed, fed and comforted me through weeks of physical and emotional agony.
Three months after my accident, I sat in the bride’s room of St. Mary’s Chapel embracing the thrill of my wedding day. Yates and I would finally become one.
A torrential downpour shrouded the chapel, accompanied by soft, rumbling thunder. I smiled to myself and thought, God is shedding His tears of joy and expressing His voice of approval of our marriage. We had both finally learned the important things of life.
The emotional and physical scars I still endured were constant reminders of my mortality. I was fortunate. My experience provided a self-discovery I might otherwise never have known: I realized a perfect wedding day does not make a perfect marriage. But the focus of love, caring one for another, can make every day perfect.
Ariana Adams (c) 2003 Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul www.chickensoup.com