Bittersweet

June 2, 2006

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Tomorrow is a wedding shower for OldestDaughter. It’s the typical, very nice occasion full of ladies dressed swell, presents wrapped in pretty papers and lots of well-wishing and advice giving over a yummy lunch. (Add in two very cute flower girls and you’ve got tomorrow at 11:30.)

It’s being hosted by Husband’s most awesome aunt, and her daughters-in-law as well as my mom, although she can’t attend. You see, Mom and Dad are back in Little Rock for the halfway point – the first stem-cell transplant following high dose chemotherapy.

Which is nothing like a wedding shower.

Although she’s been declared in full-remission and the treatments are working, Mom is pretty sick right now from the chemo and, on top of that, fighting a staph infection (which, apparently, is not uncommon). This is unlike her previous rounds which were not wonderful, but bearable and I think the heaviness of illness is weighing on them both — and we here at home are somewhat helpless.

And so tomorrow I will put on a smile and greet friends and family with warmth and graciousness in the hopes of giving OldestDaughter a nice memory, but really my heart and prayers will be in Little Rock – hoping to give back some strength and courage to two people who gave the same to me.

There’s a lot of “bittersweet” that shows up in Judaism – on purpose. We are taught to remember the hardships and the struggle which keep the good times in perspective. We keep the painful very close to the surface so that the sweet is appreciated even more.

I’ve written before that I hope OldestDaughter and TheBoy have some perspective on the difference between a wedding and a marriage. That they clearly understand the vows they will take, the sacrifices they will make and the covenant they will become a part of.

Forty-plus years ago, my folks had a wedding shower full of pretty ribbons and lovely ladies. I bet they never thought Little Rock would be a part of their marriage. I see the covenant of their life and marriage very clearly – and the perspective it shines on tomorrow’s festivities.

I pray these two soon-to-be newlyweds see past the flatware, the mix-master, the menus and dresses. Past the band, the invitations, the flowers and photographers. I pray they see the minefields. The struggles. The sacrifices.

But most of all, I pray that Little Rock is not just a lesson in life for many around me. I pray that it is the gateway for my folks to have even more memories in the years to come.

Even if they are bittersweet.

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6 Responses to “Bittersweet”

  1. Leslie Says:

    Pam,
    Most of it is bittersweet at least eventually.
    Your folks have that shower 40 years ago and all that followed to get them through the Little Rock.
    The newlyweds are building the founation to get them through “little rocks” of their own in the future. Hopefully not so drastic but a “minefield” none the less.
    I still pray for your family…It hits home with me.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ashley Says:

    Pam, what an excellent and well written post. I don’t have much to say except wow… it’s so true.
    May OldestDaughter and TheBoy have a long, happy and successful marriage.
    And huge huge hugs to you and your mom and dad.

  3. Kelly Says:

    I hope the shower went well, but I really really hope your Mom gets better soon.
    I can only image the pain that she is in.
    Ugh.

  4. R. Robyn Says:

    a lot of stress and excitement all at once. I hope for all the best in all situations!

  5. Em Says:

    That was so beautiful. And I think you’re right that life is bittersweet on purpose. If it weren’t for sacrifice and hardships we’d all be so spoiled and ungrateful for the wonderful things in life. Beautiful!!!

  6. Sylvia Says:

    What a beautiful post.
    First, know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family….I hope everything goes well in LittleRock.
    Second, I echo your sentiment – I hope that OldestDaughter and TheBoy have a wonderful marriage. I hope that they learn to appreciate the value of a strong marriage. But it sounds like they’ve got some good examples to follow.