Bella, Kat and I were standing on top of a mountain side overlooking Lake Diablo that nestles in to the side of the North Cascade Hwy on a beautiful August morning.  There were no bridal showers, bachelorette parties and rehearsals leading up to our wedding day.  We hadn’t planned this moment in the expanse of a year-long engagement.  Our fathers did not give us away and we didn’t walk down an isle accompanied by composer Richard Wagner’s Bridal March. 

Our daughter officiated our wedding while our son’s urn was off to the side just a few feet away, positioned almost as if he had just walked me down the invisible isle and gently set my hands inside Kat’s grasp, and then took his seat.

It only took us two weeks to plan for this day.  Kat and I were on our deck drinking wine at sunset and taking inventory of our priorities.  It was clear that both of us felt connected to continuing our lives together and wanted to be married.  And I love the ways in which we naturally incorporated Ian’s adventuresome spirit into our wedding day.   

We chose Diablo because it was on his list of places to visit and where some of his ashes now rest

Bella spoke on Ian’s behalf, as the one who knew him best, she made sure we understood that he wanted us to feel happiness and that we had his blessing.

Our vows included expressions of gratitude for his 14 short years with us and conversations about the essence of our lives with and without Ian.

The crazy thing about grief changing you (the human) is that the evolution of grief itself (the feeling) changes too.  When Ian died, I never imagined that I would feel anything other than the deepest sadness known to mankind.  I didn’t know that I would be capable of being so sad, yet so full of deep love all in the same breath as I was on my wedding day. 

Yesterday my therapist asks what comes up for me when I say things are good and tell her about getting married. She knows me well enough that there’s a backstory to be told.  I tell her the last time we walked down an isle was at his funeral two years ago.  Making our way to his urn at the front of the church with the three of us carrying his ukulele, his camera and glove and baseball.  But what I remember the most was after the funeral, the three of us walked into the gymnasium hand in hand.  It felt like thousands of people were waiting for us waiting to hug, comfort and console.  The three of us were instantly separated in the sea of mourners, each one wanting to have their turn.  It felt invasive and isolating to be so far from Kat and Bel in that moment. 

Fast forward to now and two weeks into wedded bliss, and it finally dawns on me why this elopement happened the way that it did so organically.  No one from the outside could pierce this moment, burst the bubble or judge how we processed feeling in love, deep gratitude, familial comfort and indescribable grief.  All in the same breath.

Back to blog