Dealing with grief and death after a wedding

Today is the 2 year anniversary of this blog. Today, I’m also I’m 26 years old (or it’s the 5th anniversary of my 21st birthday, which sounds better I think) but apparently I started this blog almost exactly 2 years ago! That’s really weird.

I know I haven’t posted much since the wedding, but it’s been kind of a hard few months. We got married in October 2015, everything was great. About a month later, my mom called me to say that my cousin Michael had died. He could not make it to the wedding but his sister, my cousin, was one of my bridesmaids. I suppose technically  they’re my 2nd cousins, their mother is my actual cousin but since she’s so much older than me, and her kids are about my age, we grew up together and I’ve always thought of her as my aunt, and her kids as my cousins. He accidentally shot himself, he didn’t know the gun was loaded. This happened at his own engagement party.

So, a month after my family gathered together for my wedding, we all gathered again for his funeral.

While on our honeymoon in February, my parents call to tell me that my great aunt Sally, who has been like a grandmother to me, I spent my summers with her in Dallas, had aggressive cancer. While on our honeymoon I made plans to fly to Dallas to say goodbye. She died 2 months later. This was very hard on all of us, but in a way it was easier than Michael because  it was expected and she had lived a long life. I once again flew down to Texas for another funeral. Sally did make it to my wedding, and having her there was honestly one of the most important things to me that day.

The hardest thing to handle however, was losing my best friend and maid of honor just after Easter. It’s been about 2 months now and I still can’t even speak about it without breaking down. Today is my birthday and I can’t believe I don’t have a ‘happy birthday’ text from her, or that we didn’t go out to eat for dinner, or that she didn’t get me one of her weird birthday gifts that only she would get someone. Sometimes I don’t acknowledge that she’s not here, like I refuse to believe it. Like, my brain just deletes the last 2 months and I think ‘I’ll text her later to hang out’, or I’ll think of a joke and be like “Jill would love this!” and part of me knows she’s gone, but another part doesn’t recognize it.

How do I look at my wedding photos and be OK? How do I think back on that day and smile? She was in every aspect of my life, she’s in my walls, I see her in my clothes, in my hobbies, movies, restaurants, stores, Wal-mart, my memories, she’s everywhere. I dream about her almost every night and it’s always the same, she tells me that my real life is a dream and that what we’re in now is real, that she never left, that everything is OK. And then I wake up and it’s all true. I mean every night I dream of this. Sometimes I’ll actually go a day or two without thinking of her, somehow, but she’s always in my dreams, and I can’t get any peace. I think, it’s nice that I do get to ‘see’ her every night, but it hurts so bad, I just wish I could have peace.

She was my best friend, she got me better than my own husband, in a way that only a best friend does, and I know I’ll never ever have anyone come as close to me as she was. Of course there’s Brandon, who has been a huge help during all of this and my rock, I could never have gotten through these last few months without him, but there’s nothing like a best friend. She was like my other half. I feel like a tree, and I had my roots in her, and all of a sudden it was ripped away, and I know I’ll never recover.

There’s so much I want to say to her. That I’m sorry, that I took you for granted, that I wasn’t the friend you deserved, that I took advantage of you, that I never told you what you meant to me and I should have. But even if I could, I actually couldn’t tell you what you meant to me because I’d never find the words and I’m so, so, so sorry. That as bad as this hurts, I’m so glad I had the years together with you because they were the best times of my life. I’m so sorry Jill.

I don’t really have any advice on how to cope with loss after a wedding, I wish I did. I don’t know what to do with the photos of the people who are gone, or see the smiles of people who, in a few months, would lose a brother and a son, it’s like some horrible train wreck. I just want to scream at the people in the photos, at myself, of the disaster that is coming. Like, what do I do? It seems so morbid to celebrate it to me. I try to separate my wedding day from everything else, but it’s all a tangle. Maybe in like 10 years it’ll be ok, but it’s not right now.

My biggest regret, which I had only a few weeks after the wedding, but which recent events have only strengthened, is not having a videographer. I would give anything to have had one now. I didn’t cry a single tear the entire day, not one, until Jill gave her Maid of Honor speech. I don’t remember all of it, I hardly remember a solid detail of the entire day to be honest, but I do remember a line she said, and I hope to never forget it. She said

“May your love be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out”

and I freaking lost it. Like, full on ugly cried. I wish to god I had that on tape. Or video of my aunt Sally dancing, or anything. I have photos, but to hear them again, I would give anything.


OK, so that’s why I haven’t been posting much. I’ve also moved, which is nice, because it’s like a new start sort of. I have an office now, so my living space isn’t filled with my work, so I can separate my work from my life (I work from home). One of my good friends (one of Brandon’s groomsmen in fact) just had a baby, another good friend just got engaged, one of Brandon’s close cousins just got engaged, my best friend and bridesmaid from high school just had her baby (I made the Lord of the Rings alphabet quilt for her in fact!) and my cousin Anna, who was also a bridesmaid (she’s Michael’s sister) is pregnant again as well, so there are many happy things going on in my life too. I just got back from visiting my family in Texas, I saw Anna and her family at her baby shower, which was a happy occasion so close after Michael’s funeral, which was nice, and just had a good week with my family. This Saturday, Brandon is throwing me a birthday party with all our close friends, and it’s happy occasions like that that I try to focus on now.

I don’t really have any advice on how to deal with grief after a wedding, as all I have done to cope is cry a lot. I try to keep myself occupied, I listen to books on tape as I sew, which does take my mind off of things while I listen, it helps me forget. I have found comfort in being with friends and family as well, though I admit that right after these events, I just wanted to be alone. But I suppose the only thing I can find solace in is knowing that on my wedding, as far as I know, and I like to believe, everyone was happy, and hopefully you can see your wedding day as a bright point in your life, as well as all who attended, and maybe that thought will give you peace.





About skittlekittle

Born and raised outside of Houston, Texas, Shanon then moved to Kansas for school. She earned her degree in technical theatre, majoring in props making and managing. She met her fiance while they were both in school, and he proposed to her at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival in Oct. 2013. Now, she spends all of her free time making things for their upcoming wedding in Oct. 2015!
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