By Teresa Swartz Roberts
Blog 34. Copyright 2020
The Boy got married today. The day was perfect for an outdoor wedding, blue skies peeking through dramatic rolling clouds, a little breeze teasing the bride’s veil away from her dress. She made her veil from my wedding veil. She’s a talented and creative woman who wanted to include a piece of her groom’s history in her wedding ensemble, the same way I wore Grandma’s faux pearls to walk down the aisle.
Her aisle was wide so that there was plenty of room for the two other men in her life to escort her, father pushing the wheels of his wheelchair through slightly uneven ground on her right and stepfather walking to the instrumental version of “No One is Alone” from Into the Woods on her left. The bride’s sister, clad in a soft off-the-shoulder lavender dress, was the maid of honor. Her mother and grandparents were putting the finishing touches on the cake table until the last minute.
And the bride’s great-grandmother, pronounced the guest of honor by the groom, sat inside the sun room of her assisted living facility. She was what brought this family to The County, extreme northern Maine, for the wedding. In the days of coronavirus, bringing the wedding to her window was the only way for her to be there.
I wasn’t at the wedding in person. The venue had enough connectivity to allow me to watch on a computer screen while My Honey and I sat in our side-by-side lift recliners. If I had traveled from Georgia to Maine for the wedding, I would have been required to quarantine for two weeks before getting together with the wedding party. At least that’s what is supposed to happen. I don’t know that any visitors to Maine are still putting themselves in quarantine these days.
Fact is, I would not have been able to go in person anyway. My Parkinson’s is a little too far along now, and my husband, my wonderful care partner, has disabilities too and is no longer able to baby me. I first realized that I cannot travel safely when my stepmother died a year ago, and I was not able to attend her funeral.
We watched our son’s wedding from more than 1,400 miles away instead of being there with The Boy and The Girl. (It seems appropriate to call her that. She’s our “daughter” now.) Covid19 made that not seem weird after work meetings and school lessons have been held online for months now during the pandemic.
The original guest list had to be pared down to fewer than a dozen because of the virus. The gathering could not be more than 20 people total. The Boy didn’t have a single family member there, but he had his best man and some other close friends, the kind that have become family through spiritual connections forged through long conversations and shared history. They know him.
After the “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” recessional, the bride’s aunt carried us to the newlyweds to congratulate them. I told them we had been talking about what we would say to them if we had been there in person. What advice would I give to my son and his bride on their wedding day?
I would say that if you’re married long enough, you will learn what the vows really mean. The Boy and The Girl wrote their own vows, perfect words for them. For us, it was the traditional “for better or worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health.” You don’t know what that means until you’ve had the death talk.
If I get Covid 19, I don’t want to be intubated, the standard treatment for severe cases. My Honey had to listen to me say I don’t want to have my life saved by extraordinary measures. That was an abstract thought until coronavirus arrived.
I would also tell them that between the weddings and funerals the mundane would become important. When your spouse’s car won’t start, it can be the most urgent thing in the world. Returning home from a trip to the store with not only a 12 pack of toilet paper, but our brand of toilet paper, can make you feel like a conquering hero. When it’s not a special day like when your son is getting married, the mundane days all strung together is life. That’s why watching a hummingbird out our back window and chuckling at a squirrel with a round belly while we watch it consume all of the nearly-ripe pears can be the most important thing I’ll do tomorrow. Not today. Today I watched The Boy get married.