On October 14th, my son Kyle married Karlee, his girlfriend of eight years. He was the first grandchild to get married on both sides of the family. I had hoped that all of his grandparents could attend. All four of his grandparents are still alive, but my father could not attend because of his health and mobility issues. On this happy occasion, it broke my heart that my dad could not be there. He would have loved to see the wedding and, because it was held in a butterfly conservatory, I know he would have loved seeing all the greenery, butterflies, and small birds.
To allow my father to be allow my father to still be part of the event, my husband, younger son, and the bride and groom made the trip to see my father. Karlee was only too willing to wear her wedding dress again, when most of us only get to wear it once. Kyle also put on his wedding clothes including his red running shoes.
My sister-in-law, Lucy, is the Director of Care at the nursing home where my dad lives, and she made arrangements for my dad to be dressed nicely for when we arrived. She also made sure that the bride and groom had a place where they could change. From the greeting we got when we arrived at the nursing home, we knew that several people knew that something special was going to happen.
The day was truly special for so many reasons.
Lots of Emotion
There was an emotional element to this experience for everyone involved. My father was not aware that anything special was going to happen. When my husband, Mike, and I saw the look on his face when Kyle and Karlee entered the room, the day was already a success. Our being there was a surprise and he cried a little.
I felt like crying too for several reasons. This event took away some of the regret that I felt on the wedding day because my dad could not be there. I was glad that Kyle and Karlee loved my father enough to make the trip to see him and dress up in their wedding attire. When my husband and I thanked them for doing this, they kept telling us that we didn’t have to thank them. I don’t think they fully understood how important this day was for my husband and me. I think they thought that anyone would have done what they did. They are wrong!
My husband and I were so proud that Kyle and Karlee had been excited to take this extra step with my father. It showed just how important my father is to them. My son, Tyler, was also there. He always loves to see his grandfather, so he was glad to be part of this day.
Even telling people what we were going to generate such positive feedback from people. I hadn’t really expected that response. When I posted some pictures on online after the event and showed people some pictures on my phone, I was once again struck by the strong and sometimes emotional responses.
No Time Constraints
We took our time. There was no rushing. When my dad said that he wanted to go outside for pictures, we went outside. When he wanted to sit outside for a while, we sat outside. We talked and laughed. There was no rushing to leave. There was stress about trying to do things by a particular time. We had a goal of reaching the home before my sister-in-law went into a meeting. When we didn’t make it on time, she had already arranged for someone else to take Kyle and Karlee to their room to change. Everything moved ahead without a hitch.
My father just appreciated that we were there. There were no negative comments. No one complained that something wasn’t starting on time. No one complained that they didn’t feel included. My dad didn’t comment that we needed to come and see him more often. Instead, he celebrated us being there. No one was there out of a sense of obligation. We were all glad to be together.
I was surprised that no one complained about the number of pictures being taken… and there were a lot. We knew this event wouldn’t happen again, so we wanted to make sure that we captured every moment (both informal and formal). We tried out the lighting in multiple spots both inside and out. My husband took the more formal shots and I just took pictures randomly in an effort to capture some of the feeling associated with the day.
Even the weather was good. The sun was shining and it was warm enough for us to sit outside without being cool (in the temperature sense). It was peaceful and relaxing just to sit there and talk.
Sometimes when you get together with family there’s drama. Someone says or does something that triggers some ‘lively discussion’. Old hurts surface, and the fun begins. There was no drama. Everyone solely focussed on the present. Nothing was blown out of proportion.
Lots We Can Do
Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
It’s so true. We forget how much we can impact other people’s lives with a few words or actions. We can make them feel good about themselves or we can ruin how they feel about an event or hurt their self-esteem.
The following are some suggestions about what you can do to improve how you make people feel:
Over 30-years of writing experience, over five years as a cancer survivor, and a lifetime purveyor of wit and laughter.