Not every wedding day is bliss-filled.
I’ve spent the past couple of weeks talking (mostly) about light-hearted moments at weddings. As a mother of the bride (four times over) and as someone who has coordinated/catered weddings in abundance, I’ve seen my share! But not every wedding is fraught with humor. Some are just plain tough. So, I’m going to deviate a bit to share a personal story about a less-than-perfect wedding.
In 2007, just three days before my third-oldest daughter’s wedding, my 45-year-old sister passed away. She died in her sleep. We were devastated, as you might imagine. The very dress that she had just picked up from the cleaners (to wear to my daughter’s wedding) was used to dress her for her burial.
My sister’s viewing took place on the very same day as my daughter’s wedding rehearsal. If memory serves me correctly, the viewing was at five, the rehearsal at seven. The next day (Friday) was the wedding. The next day (Saturday) was the funeral. I remember carrying around a purple folder all three days. Inside (on the left) were my sister’s funeral arrangements. On the right, the plans for my daughter’s wedding.
If you look at pictures of me from my daughter’s wedding, you will notice that my eyes are red and swollen. Still, I wanted/needed to enjoy my daughter’s big day. We’d planned for months, after all! Somehow we all made it through that very difficult week, though it lingers in my memory as one I will never forget.
Shortly after my sister’s death, I was asked to write another Annie Peterson novel, PUSHING UP DAISIES. (Annie is a mother-of-the-bride, many times over.) I knew that I had to pay tribute to my sister. Breaking from my usual light-hearted tone, I added bits and pieces to the story that were intended to make the reader think (deeply) about our purpose in life. Annie struggles with the death of a good friend in this story. And, of course, she’s also in wedding planning mode, as always. As you can see, I pulled from my own personal experiences to write all of this, and (in doing so) felt a sense of joy, in spite of the pain I’d faced.
Here’s a blurb about PUSHING UP DAISIES:
Annie Peterson is beginning to feel like a perennial Mother of the Bride. . . She’s just married off her oldest daughter but still has another ceremony/reception to plan for Brandy’s twin sister, Candy.
When Annie and her daughter visit the Clarksborough, Pennsylvania, florist shop, Flowers by Fiona, to order Gerber daisies for the big day, Annie’s dachshund, Sasha, somehow escapes from the car. Sasha ends up in the floral delivery truck with young driver Justin Bastrop, en route to a delivery. Ironically, Justin stumbles into a crime scene at the local funeral home— complete with one too many dead bodies. The funeral director, Eddie Moyer, is D.O.A. and Sasha is missing. Possibly for good.
Who is behind the funeral home murder? Is the local florist, Fiona Sullivan, somehow involved? Or could it be the delivery driver, Justin? After all, he’s been angry at Eddie Moyer for years, ever since the old guy fired him while he was in his teens. Then again, there is that matter of the disgruntled family member to consider. Roger Kratz has held a grudge against Eddie Moyer for weeks, feeling he was overcharged for his wife’s funeral service.
Annie dives into the investigation full steam ahead, hoping to solve the crime. Will she solve this riddle in time for her daughter’s ceremony? And, will Sasha arrive home safely?
Thank you for letting me share about my sister. It’s been a bittersweet post for me, but my memories of her are very strong. I know she would have loved my daughter’s wedding. No doubt she would have been talking about the Hawaiian-themed reception for weeks to come!