From the beginning of May I started my trek through wedding season. Not only have I been making it through, but the Lord has been taking care of every small detail. The first wedding I attended after the accident, I lasted an hour. My friends were right there beside me reminding me that there was no obligation to stay. I ended up heading home and my sweet friend helped me pack for my move. The second wedding was emotional because it hit close to home and a lot of my AK friends were there. I made it through and didn’t really think too much of what was going on. It was a whirlwind but I think that was better than the alternative of losing my little mind with the hardness that goes along with weddings for me sometimes.
The third wedding was emotional for me to see the father/daughter, mother/son, and bride/groom dance, so I ended up leaving the tent and waiting for them to finish until I came back. What came as a blessing was more of the healing journey for me here at this wedding. I was sitting with with several friends who deeply wanted to know how I was doing. They wanted to know where I was at in life with my grieving process even though I didn’t bring anything up. I had a wonderful heart to heart with the next weekends bride-to-be. We chatted about grief and the sudden deaths that occurred in her family. This friend and her fiance lost 3 loved ones the week before their wedding. I am thankful she shared with me and entered in to where I was. We were never made to do this life alone. So fast-forwarding to their wedding, this bride specifically came over to dance with me during a couples dance because she saw me sitting alone. Knowing my story, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “thank you for coming to our wedding. I know this is hard but I am so thankful you have come to celebrate today with us.” Could she be any sweeter?
Later while everyone is having a wonderful time, me included, I get into a conversation with one of the guests who is persistent I am lying about being single. Wouldn’t you know that another sweet friend of mine is right there listening and just hugs me and proceeds to tell me she thinks of me everyday along with praying for me. Not only do I feel so well known by my friends around me, but I also sense the Lord taking care of all my little needs. I honestly had a wonderful time at each of these weddings. I wasn’t sobbing in the corner, it wasn’t about me, I didn’t draw attention to myself. My friends simply knew my story and supported me seamlessly. I need to mention that I was able to stay 2 weekends with the couple who got married in the third wedding. These friends enter in every time I am with them. We have now attended 3 weddings together and each one of them has been there for me throughout this wedding season. Thank you for both being servants, loving me, loving God, and loving others so well.
Continue forward several more weeks and I was on my way to Idaho, but first let me just show you how these details were worked out. Mind you this is now my 5th wedding. Tis the season right? I’m just at that age? Yeah, I’ve heard all that before. Honestly, I came to realize that if I were still in A.K. teaching, I would not have been going to many if any of these weddings. Most of them have been here on the east coast. I am incredibly thankful for being able to attend these weddings and support my friends. It hasn’t been the easiest, but my friends have been beyond loving and supporting, and they have been better than I could have expected. So this wedding in Idaho was the first wedding that Kyle and I would have attended where he was close to at least one person that was getting married. He would have known all the other people because they were acquaintances or friends of ours, but this friend in particular used to hang with Kyle, cook him meals, and was one of the first people we told about us getting married. This one carried a different meaning. Also, several people Kyle looked up to were there, his friends were there, and it just felt strange to go without him. I had apprehensions of attending but I chalk that up to subconsciously knowing it was going to be emotional.
So here were some of the details worked out on my behalf for this Idaho wedding. A friend of mine had their plans fall through about a week before we headed to the wedding. She was willing to find a morning flight with me so I didn’t have to drive alone at 4:30 am to the airport when we left. She literally said, “Whatever you need friend.” I hate that her plans fell through but I felt so loved by her gesture to support me where I knew I would be anxious. For those of you who don’t know where I am at in life, I have been working through anxious thoughts and feelings. A little frustrated that this comes with grief as I have talked to quite a few people who struggle with anxiety after losing a close loved one. Not only did the Lord provide a riding budding in the morning, I picked up 3 of my girlfriends from the airport that night before the wedding, we all caught up, shared about our lives, and created new memories. We met more friends the morning of the wedding where we spent time catching up. The grief hit me on that Saturday as I saw cabin trinkets,airplanes on socks, heard sappy love songs on the radio, and looked at the beautiful mountains outside. The tears flooded my eyes as I looked at my sweet friend. She asked me if I was tired and then realized that it was more than that. I missed my person. I kept thinking, “really, right now?” but as it happened I embraced it so I could enjoy the night with excitement and joy.
Later that day, a different friend and I sat together talking about life. We talked about grief and everything in between. We shared how God has been working on our behalf in every step of our lives. I cherish the moments where I could walk and talk with my friends. I spent time with two other friends who have their own personal struggles and hardships right now. Had I not built these bonds, there would be no connection. There would be emptiness and I am sure loneliness. Each one of these friends have been a blessing, benefit, and a game changer over the years. Thank you to all of my friends who were there for me at this turning point in the wedding season. I also spent time with Julie McFarlane (Blom) who is and forever will be intertwined with my story. She hugged and held me so tightly that all the memories of A.K. flooded through my mind. I felt the loss we both feel, yet the joy of being together, and knowing that God completely has us. It is moments like those that I cherish and love to share. Alright so we danced the night away and I was hugged by many who I know deeply love me and know I love them. This description was a bit longer, but overall it was an incredible time with incredible friends of mine.
Now to the next wedding…...you thought we were done, ha not yet. So I thought this would have been a normal wedding but after this wedding came clarity and healing. This was the first wedding that when I left, I felt more like the Abbey I once knew. I know that this had been all happening, but I finally felt it to the point where it felt strange and foreign to me. I drove home thinking I should be sad and not happy. Ah, the tables are turning and I am allowing myself to have fun again. I had been doing that at each wedding thus far but I finally felt there be a release at this wedding. I allowed myself to be okay and not weighed down by grief, anxiety, fear, doubt, and I could just enjoy myself. I verbally process so much before, during, and after this wedding.
So what is pretty neat, is that while at this wedding, I ran into the teacher/adviser/mentor who sent me to AK. She shared her story of the impact AK had on her and I could see how her story unfolded and led into mine. If God didn’t take her through what she went through, I would not be where I am at today. Maybe that seems far fetched and it is possible God would have used someone else, but I am glad to know this woman who suggested, set up, and cleared a way for me to head to AK 5 years ago. We talked for at least an hour or two. She encouraged and reminded me of who I am as a teacher. I don’t need to go into details but the impact this woman has had on my life near and far will never be forgotten. You know who you are and I thank you for seeing the potential in me that you once did 7 years ago when I walked through your classroom door. This wedding, I was surrounded by different friends than the ones in Idaho. These are AK people who live here on the east coast. I left out names and thats okay because what I am hoping you see is where God has been healing me. I hope you see where God has supplied more than I could have asked for as well.
Alright so there are just a few stories where I could see the Lord’s hand providing exactly what I needed when I needed. I have been trying to write a blog for at least a week now. I have gone in different directions but after writing all of this, my heart feels lighter and full of thanksgiving as I have seen the Lord use friend after friend to support me. I don't want to forget the ones in my life that pray for me or the ones who text/call either because that helps tremendously. Now, I have a wedding this weekend and a friend of mine is coming here to visit. I am excited to spend time with them and show them a little bit of PA. I will be attending my brother’s wedding early November and then another wedding in December. Since May, I have been invited to 10 weddings and will have attended 9 at the end of December. This does not include wedding shower invites and attendance. I understand this is the season and it has been a really great one honestly. Now as I do sometimes, I ask for prayer to finish strong as I have been feeling the absence of Kyle lately. I think it is hard for me because I know Kyle would have been here at my brother’s wedding. It is a hard pill to swallow and I am trying to do so with grace but it hasn’t been easy. I know the Lord will work on my behalf and go before me as He has so far. Thanks for reading my readers and may the Lord bless you.