Monday, August 06, 2007

Fourteen years and counting

You want to see what Marcel and I looked like, fourteen years ago when we said "I do"? We looked like most newlyweds look - young and hopeful. Little did we know what kind of sometimes wild, sometimes rocky, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes painful, sometimes boring, sometimes peaceful, and sometimes agonizing ride we'd have in the upcoming years. Little did we know that we'd conceive 5 children and get to raise only three of them. Little did we know that we'd say good-bye to some really special people in our lives. Little did we know that we'd get through unbelievable trauma when Marcel's life almost ended. Little did we know that he'd have to watch me slip into a strange and eery psychosis while pregnant with the son we'd lose. Little did we know how lucky we'd be to still love each other and still find lots of things to talk about fourteen years later.If I look slightly terrified in this next picture, it's because I was. This was the moment I dreaded most out of the whole day - our first dance. Not that I didn't want to dance with my new husband, but I come from good ol' Mennonite "dancing-is-for-heathens-and-besides-we-have-no-rhythm-anyway" stock and Marcel comes from good solid French Catholic "we-came-out-of-the-womb-dancing-the-Red-River-Jig" stock. I was almost positive I'd trip over his feet in front of all of our friends and family. Fortunately, my fear was ill-founded - I managed to stay upright. But he's had to put up with my clumsiness ever since.
I sewed my own wedding dress, and the one flaw in the design was that it showed off a little too much cleavage. My sister's bouquet came in handy when I needed to look more "virtuous".My how times have changed! Two of these people (below) are now bloggers (my sister ccap is beside me, and my friend Whippersnapper is next to her), two of these people (other than us) are now married to each other (Marcel's brother on his left and my sister on my right) though they were far from considering it at that time, one of these people is divorced and remarried, one of these people I have lost touch with (my third bridesmaid, who was my "Little Sister" at the time - through Big Sister's Association), and most of these people now have children or stepchildren.
The changes don't end there. Since that day, we've had to say some painful good-byes to some of the special people who celebrated the day with us. Looking through the wedding pictures brought back alot of memories, good and bad. Here are some of the people who've left us since then...

My Grandma, who was an inspiration to me, doing bold and wonderful things long after life would have slowed down a lesser woman. She traveled to Africa after she'd turned eighty.
One of the most important people in Marcel's life - his dear Mémère. She was an incredible woman who believed in people even when they didn't believe in themselves. There were things Marcel confided in her that I don't think he'd ever have told anyone else. When I was trying to be a writer, she made a special effort to come to one of my plays, even though it was in a grungy little downtown theatre. She bought me my first brand new sewing machine (that I still use) because she knew I liked to sew.Our crazy friend Brad, who loved to laugh and make people laugh. He lived life on the edge and died the same way. And of course, my dad. He died the day after our tenth anniversary. Celebrating our anniversary always has a bittersweet feeling to it, because the next day is an anniversary of a very different sort. I still miss him with a powerful ache. This picture, taken at the cemetery next to the cathedral where we had our wedding pictures taken, seems a rather eery premonition. It's been four years now, and I still don't feel like I'm finished saying good-bye to him.
It's been a full and mostly good life these 14 years. Sometimes, you can't help but ask yourself - if you could foresee all the pain that the journey will take you through, would you still go? Today, my answer is yes. I can't imagine this journey without my best friend by my side. He cried with me through the loss of our children, he held me up off the floor when my knees buckled when the phone call came about my dad, I held him close when Mémère slipped away, we grinned at each other when our beautiful daughters came into this world - I wouldn't want it any other way.

We all know it's not always easy being married, but for all those times I've felt less lonely and less frightened, it's worth the effort.


ccap said...

Happy anniversary!

Anonymous said...

Happy anniversary!

Gina said...

Heather, that was such a lovely and touching post.

Sometimes I think if we could see the pain ahead we would turn away, but all those experiences shape us so profoundly.

How beautiful you both looked!

Michele said...

hey, nice!
happy anniversary.

i love the photo of your dad... and all the rest, too.

nice cleavage.

Vicki said...

lets see so many comments I want to make..

lets start with the boobs! Sister I feel your pain! My Mom made my dress and I had the clevage problem as well.

Looking at the picture of your Dad I fell in love with him instantly. I just know he and I could have talked for hours.

What a beautiful bride you were! And that Marcel! Have mercy hubba hubba woo woo.

Grandma's are the best.

Your friend died the day of your wedding?

I have glasses like Marcel has on in my medicine cabinet.

Whippersnapper said...

Oh my. Did someone electrocute me before these pictures were taken? My hair is... terrible.

Sorry. All about me me me, how embarrassing.

It was a beautiful day, and I'm still proud and honoured that you chose me to be a part of it.

Love you both, and happy anniversary!

Krista said...

Happy anniversary, Heather and Marcel. I hope Vergil and I are half as strong, kind, compassionate, wise and caring after 14 years as you two are. You're a true testament to how God can work all things (and maybe especially the painful things) for the good of those who love him. Many blessings!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary Heather & Marcel!

I loved seeing the photos - everyone looks like kids! :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anvilcloud said...

Congratulations from The Capital.

boogiemum said...

Happy Anniversary!

I came here via Gina's blog.

Wow, that was such a touching post. I absolutely love the picture of your Dad at the end. It sent chills down my spine.

Judy said...

Beautiful post, Heather.

I LOVE your dress!

Liz said...

I loved looking at those pictures!

Happy Anniversary to you and Marcel!

Linda said...

I must joing the "Happy Anniversary" chorus. You don't look like you've aged a bit!

Pamela said...

I enjoyed this post so very much.
congratulations on 14 years.
stay safe in each others arms.

Joyce said...

after we've lived life for a while the reflections on marriage are so different than we'd have thought on that day of "I do". You said it all so very well, what a beautiful story of real life.

(ps have you heard that next year's FF will not host pasties? They received enough complaints. thanks for doing your part.)

wordgirl said...

Happy Anniversary! What a lovely tribute to the realities of marriage. Like you, I find myself incredibly fortunate to share my life with my best friend. Marriage is hard and, in some ways, a most unnatural way to live life. That said, I know some people manage to fashion it into a workable and pleasurable experience. Glad to know you've hit upon such a thing.

Karmyn R said...

Happy Anniversary! Thanks for sharing the pictures with us.

Robyn said...

Happy, happy anniversary!

Lucia said...

Happy anniversary.

Your post took me through a little roller coaster of my own - losing my dad and mom, and all of my grandparents over time. I love that your grandmother traveling to Africa after she turned 80. I need to hear about women like this. They inspire me and remind me my traveling days are far from over.

Hope said...

Hapy anniversary, great pics.
i am glad your vacation is all you want and need it to be!