My husband and I are approaching our tenth wedding anniversary on September 24th.
The other night we were sitting on the couch and I said to him, “You know what sucks? I hate thinking back to when we got married because it was such a painful time in my life. I love you so much and am so happy that we got married, but it hurts to think back on that time.”
Why was it so painful?
Well, the year I spent planning our wedding was also the first year my mom spent living with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. She was diagnosed just a few days before I got engaged.
The year that followed was so incredibly hard.
My sister had gotten married five years earlier and my mom was super involved with the planning. Not only that, but she was also super excited about the wedding.
The realization that I wasn’t going to have the same experience hit hard. I wanted to include my mom as much as possible, but she wasn’t able to help me with anything.
I couldn’t give her a task to do. She couldn’t help me pick out the flowers or invitations. She couldn’t plan my bridal shower.
She was emotionless the day I picked out my wedding dress. She shadowed me at the bridal shower my sister had planned. She was confused and oblivious on the day of the wedding.
Along with all of that, we bought our first house that year and my mom couldn’t even drive over to visit me. Whenever she did come over, she kept her jacket on and her purse clutched tightly at her side. She looked more like she was waiting at a bus stop than visiting her own daughter’s new home.
There were no wedding presents or housewarming gifts from her. I bought my own “Soon-to-be Mrs. Dykovitz” sweatshirt. I picked out her mother-of-the-bride dress with no input from her at all.
It was not at all how I pictured things to be and yet, I felt obligated to be grateful that she was still able to be there for my wedding physically—though mentally and emotionally she was in another world.
So yeah, it was a painful year of my life and it’s so hard to think back to that time. The truth is that I don’t have many happy memories from when I got married, but none of that has anything to do with the man I married.
It’s a harsh reality, but such is the duality of life.
Pain amidst joy.
Grief amidst gratitude.
Tears amidst happiness.
And in the end, all we can do is our best to honor it all.
To the bride whose parent has Alzheimer’s, may the pain of your wedding day only add to the strength of your marriage.
I know it did for me.
* If this post resonated with you, I can help you find ways to manage your pain and grief. Check out my new mentoring services for Alzheimer’s daughters.
** If you liked this post, you will love my new book “When Only Love Remains: Surviving My Mom’s Battle with Early Onset Alzheimer’s.” It’s available on all Amazon marketplaces.