As I write this on Thursday, I realize on Saturday, April 16, my daughter is to be married and it is supposed to rain.
Of course, it is.
Nothing, it seems, has gone right since we came into this new year. My father fell and is now brain damaged leaving my mother, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, to mourn the loss of a living husband who is no longer mentally present. Some days she understands this and some days she does not. Neither parent can assist my sister or I in their financial and/or legal issues and while we discovered scores of political groups, nonprofit organizations, national and international businesses all pilfering through our father’s bank accounts, there was little we could do.
We watch thousands and thousands of dollars disappear from the account before we could legally intervene; we were told that our very much alive mother was legally dead; we had no idea who our parents owed money to and for how much. But all these things would become the least of our problems as we learned how negligent care can be for the elderly, and how very swiftly depression, grief, and despair can overtake an entire family.
As we approached the wedding date, everything was piling on. Our daughter called home, crying. She thought we should postpone the wedding as there was simply too much going on but we had argued that we needed the wedding, we wanted the wedding, that her nuptials would be a bright spot in an otherwise impossibly difficult time.
But the sometimes unfair thing about time is that it marches on in spite of everything else going on in the world. It cares little of neglect or identity theft, of grief or fear. It does not concern itself with personal trauma or utter chaos. So as each day slipped away, edging us closer and closer to the wedding date, time began to show its most fearsome power yet – its limit.
We were running out of time.
Then, in the midst of our turmoil we were reminded of something far more powerful and wondrous than time.
We were shown love.
And wasn’t this why we wanted the wedding in the first place? Wasn’t this why we clung together and fought to find sunnier times?
This love came not from within our little family (though do not doubt how strong that is) but from what our family was to become.
Our future son-in-law’s mother, Anne Beckman, and her sister, Mary Strickland, stepped in. Rather, they swooped in. They arranged flowers and food, funny dance moves, and promised happiness. They measured floor space and set up tables. They decorated, hired servers, and made assurances that this was their pleasure.
For my daughter, they threw bridal showers and orchestrated wedding gifts. They offered guidance to the new young couple and changed the course of all our lives in ways they cannot understand.
They became life savers. They became so much more than in-laws. They became family.
Rain, as it turns out, is thought to be a wonderful omen for weddings. Many cultures believe that rain on a wedding day is a sign of fertility but, more importantly, it promises a long-lasting and happy marriage.
Best yet, it is believed that rain on a wedding day is symbolic of washing away tough times.
Whether the rain comes on our wedding day, Storm Anne and Storm Mary have already helped to wash away so many troubles, leaving indelible marks of family, devotion, commitment, and love.
Still, I hope it pours and pours and pours.
Now residing in “the nicest city in Texas,” Alexandra Allred is the author of numerous books, including White Trash, Damaged Goods and the Allie Lindell series. Visit her website, www.alexandratheauthor, or Twitter @alexandraallred but always check out her column the WDL as she ponders all things Waxahachie and beyond its borders.