Hindsight often defines the happiest moments in one’s life. Much like in a talent show, you don’t know the best act until the very end. And when the finale isn't fixed on your timeline, one must learn to appreciate the vivid colors of life as they come, because any moment could end in a bow and an until later adieu.
Here comes the bride.
One step at a time, dressed in layers of white satin and lace, I readied to walk toward my happily ever after. Flanked by my brothers, I looked at one, then the other and winked. We had been laughing outside in the scorching hot south Georgia July sun. They were fanning me to keep my makeup from sliding into the cracks of concrete on which you could easily fry an egg. The sight of them waving their arms as if they were attempting to take flight caused us to erupt into a fit of giggles. The laughter alleviated the nerves.
Tears of joy were a blessing. As in most weddings, there had been hiccups, near disasters, and temptations to call the whole thing off and elope. None of that happened. The day had arrived, all had fallen into place, and the time had come. Tall, dark, and handsome shifted from one foot to the other beside the good reverend as I paused just inside the arched entryway. Time stood still. They tightened their grip on my arms; we looked at the wedding coordinator waiting for the official nod. After what seemed like an eternity, she gave it, and off we went.
My brothers nervously smiled at friends and family who had gathered to support my groom and me during our wedding. In the absence of my parents, whose lives ended prematurely as a result of a car accident, my two siblings, one 19, the other 13 stood in for my dad. That sight alone—three orphans, banding together, moving forward—was enough to cause emotion to flow.
Add in a young couple desperately in love—all the feels were present.
They gave me away. I kissed each one on the cheek and stepped up into my new role. Wife.
Many happy moments during the last twenty years have lined up on my timeline. The birth of our two children ranks somewhere near the top. Anniversaries, holidays, vacations, reunions all call out for their place in line.
Death shoved one memory to first place—for the moment, that is.
Not the death of my parents.
The death of my baby brother. The one on my left. The one who grew up, served his country in a war, only to be ultimately taken by the ravishing disease, cancer. Thirty-four years old and the sensation of his grip no longer tugs on my arm.
Branded onto my brain and inside my heart, the memory of our fit of giggles in a churchyard over twenty years ago will never pass away. A perfect moment in time that didn’t gain precedence until much later in life.
A celebratory occasion made sweeter, more precious, and more vivid by a loss so significant.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.