Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wedding promises

A week ago today my youngest brother, David, married Monica, whom he'd been dating four years or so. About 40 close friends and family gathered at a friend's home on a Saturday afternoon for a ceremony that was intimate, loving, and intensely meaningful.

Their vows, and the officiant's charge to the bride and groom, were clearly based on mutually frank discussion. The officiant counseled patience, helpfulness, taking time for oneself, and other virtues. And to David she said, "Ask Monica for the help you need."

I'm sure every guest was listening from the perspective of their own partnership. For example, if David finds it hard to clarify his needs, he is clearly not alone among my siblings. When the subject comes up, our spouses and significant others have been known to roll their eyes, exchange knowing glances, and mutter about not being mind readers. It occurred to me that 26 years ago I had included in my own vows a line about asking for help, and it's still something I have to work on. Not that I don't seek help. Rather, I might assume that what I need is obvious, so when I finally ask for it I issue what sounds like a scolding, not a request. When I invite advice, I may reject it in a way that isn't very gracious. Sometimes I comment about something when I'm not even asking for help, but Peter thinks I am. Oh, the opportunities for misunderstanding are plentiful.

For Dave and Monica, questions of seeking and giving help have a special significance right now. In early November, he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. For this 55-year-old lifelong non-smoking distance runner, the news was both shocking and puzzling. He wasn't aware of any symptoms until late September, when he had some shortness of breath, which led to the discovery of a blood clot, which led to the discovery of the tumor in his lung.

Dave immediately went into action. He and Monica, who had been talking about marriage, decided to do it immediately so they can take this journey together. They are choosing to focus on all things positive, to take hope from stories of people who have beaten the predictions and the odds, to draw strength from positive thoughts and actions. He has begun chemotherapy in the hope of shrinking tumors in his lung and bones. If all goes well he'll have radiation later targeting the ones in his brain. Dave and Monica are exploring healthy diets and ways to sustain energy and handle stress, they are supporting one another, and they know they have a strong support system of friends and family.

The wedding was a happy occasion. As guests ate brie and wedding cake after the ceremony last Saturday, snow began to fall, gently at first and then more insistently, in huge wet flakes. A couple of dozen folks joined the wedding couple to continue the celebration at a neighborhood restaurant, the front windows of which framed a glowing, magical wintery scene.

David and Monica, may you give and receive all the help you need, and may the love and joy and magic of your wedding day sustain you forever.




28 comments:

Terra said...

The wedding sounds lovely and full of promise. My husband and I celebrated 40 years of marriage this November, and it is a grand journey.
Congrats to the new wedded couple.

Kristin said...

Amen to your end thoughts/prayer. I wish them many years together.

Teresa Evangeline said...

What a beautiful piece of writing, Nancy. I wish for David a renewed sense of well-being, a clean bill of health soon, and many happy and fulfilling years with Monica.

There are Many stories of people who overcome these types of diagnoses and live long lives. David will be one of them.

Retired English Teacher said...

This truly is a wonderful story told in such a beautiful way. Not only is the story inspiring, it also leaves me with a great hope for people like David and Monica because they are facing the future in such a healthy way. I wish we all were so informed in how to live in ways that support each other so well.

I could identify too well with what you said about communication and asking for help. I am trying to learn how to communicate better with my husband.

I wish the newly weds much joy and a bright, and long future together.

DJan said...

David is he second young nonsmoker I have heard about in the last year with advanced lung cancer. It is so extremely puzzling to me.

I also wish them all the very best, with hopes that the future will bring them a chance to grow old together. What a beautiful story this is...

MissDazey said...

Angels on David and Monica. May their days be filled with love.

Angels on you, the big sister who wrote this story with love and hope.

Far Side of Fifty said...

It sounds like a lovely wedding! I am so sorry to hear of their coming struggle..but being a team is a good thing:)

laurie said...

i love weddings. and goddamn cancer.

Ellen said...

I"m so touched by your post. I know that David and Monica having each other will make all the difference in the world. Love truly does heal. I know they have a rough road ahead, but forging it together with a positive attitude is the way to go. My hubby, also a non smoker had throat cancer in 2004. It was tough, but he is cancer free now. Miracles do happen. Sending blessings to all of you.

Linda Myers said...

Blessings on David and Monica. Thank you for sharing the story of their special day.

Grandmother said...

What a great love story. May they prosper! It sounds like they're doing things right for healing. May it happen. Good for them for being there for each other. May they be blessed.

The Good Cook said...

Blessings to Dave and Monica. I wish them many years of happiness and health. Thank you for sharing their story.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I didn't cry at their wedding, but I have tears in my eyes reading all your wonderful comments and wishes and prayers. I love my blog friends.

Jeanie said...

You did such a wonderful job of telling this story of both the joy and the difficulty David and Monica are facing. I wish them joy, courage and long lives together.

Ms Sparrow said...

What a lovely post! Best wishes to your brother and his bride.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sis,
Thank you for posting about us on your blog - both about the wedding and about my diagnosis. Your post invites other people to generate positive energy in our direction. It is all good!

If any of your friends/followers want to follow my journey to better health, they can find it at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/davidpeterson2
.
Love to all,
David & Monica

IndigoWrath said...

Hi Nancy, this is a entry with a huge footprint; there's so much to think about. Family is everything. I'm of no religious persuasion, but my best thoughts are with you. Indigo

Leah Rubin said...

There are so many poignant and beautiful messages in this post, and they center on love and hope. It's a wonderful and bittersweet story, and they sound like people I would like to know. Such strength! My good thoughts and prayers are going out to them and to their circle of family and friends who support them.

injaynesworld said...

It sounds like the cancer may have a real battle on its hands if it thinks it can defeat these two. Wishing David and Monica many years of love and meeting each other's needs. Prayers and love, Jayne

Daughter Number Three said...

Thank you for sharing this personal part of the human story.

The Loerzels said...

Wow what an amazing story! Wishing them many years of happiness and asking for the help they need from each other!

Emma @ emmasota said...

Best wishes to your brother and his new bride. I hope they are able to enjoy a long and happy marriage.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

May they have many lovely years together.

Jenny Schouten Short said...

How wonderful. Meaningful in the full sense of the word. xo Jenny

Kitty Moore said...

The snow was a beautiful sign...may they have a long and beautiful future together. I'm sending lots of love and positive vibes their way.

Nancy said...

Wow, what an inspiring post. My best wishes to the new couple - may they live long and prosper. Having been sick for over a month, I have a newfound respect for health. It is not to be taken for granted.

Green Monkey said...

so happy I read this post. what a wonderful story. you had me at "ask for the help you need" ....so much harder than it sounds.

I am glad that David and Monica have agreed to face this together, that they have each others support and the support of a strong circle of family and friends.

even so...no warning, no smoking, NOT fair!

Sharla Greenway said...

What a story! One that will continue for years to come! Best wishes to you all,

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