We can make a wedding happen, but love won’t come in unless it’s invited. We can plan the day and execute it perfectly, but the BrideGroom won’t be there unless there is a space that is unplanned. We can make the perfect cake and flower arrangement, but the wedding feast will not be bring fulfillment unless there is the absence of control.
Sometimes, as with this weekend’s wedding in Williamsburg, serious illness in a family member can make this space for love to happen. The threat of death, the possibility of loss, and the build up of a pain-body inside can bring a state of powerless to the mind when it is faced with something that is beyond control. With the loss of control and its acceptance comes surrender, and with surrender comes new possibilities. This is what happened to Bill Bailey, father of the bride, and husband of his beloved Ginger, who was diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer three months ago and is currently undergoing chemotherapy. Her daughter Catherine (see previous blog about the sailing bride) moved the wedding up to April so her mother would be able to attend.
The wedding happened with such joy that I, a wedding photographer of 19 years, was powerfully touched. You can see pictures from the wedding on my site, but pictures really can’t describe the celebration of life that this family offered to their guests. And they taught me a deeply felt lesson.
At the brunch after the wedding today, I talked to Bill to thank him for having us as his photographer. We had known Bill and Ginger through my wife’s sister, Delle, and over the years had seem them occasionally, but I had never stopped to talk to Bill as I did today. We talked about death and how much life means when what you take for granted is threatened. Bill told me how much his wife has taught him about life and it meaning as she faced her own mortality. “I was a mess when I first got the news,” he said. And on top of that there was the stress of putting the wedding together in this horrible race with time.
Yet, the wedding did come together, and so did Bill. I was struck with how completely he threw himself in his daughter’s wedding. You can see this in the photographs. I asked him if he was experiencing a great release from all the pain, and he said, “Yes, now that he looked back on it. I think Ginger and I can just enjoy each other now.
“Cancer doesn’t play favorites, “ he continued. “Ginger was always a model of healthy habits.” Yet in neither Ginger or Bill was there any crying of “Why us.” Especially with Ginger. She was so present at the wedding, tired, but joyously present. No victim here. And because of their presence, they created the space for their daughter and their guests to be present.
I feel that this family through this trial and surrender gave their daughter and new son a true foundation for their marriage. They gave them the gift of love….or let me say, love gave them all the gift of life.
Posted under up lifting, weddings
This post was written by ed on April 29, 2006