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When my adored, amazing niece Ellie got engaged this year I was overjoyed.  Peter had known her fantastic boyfriend Simon, who is a kind and handsome dude, and picture perfect for my niece.  They are yin and yang to each other, and I reveled in the fact that they too would have an epic love before them.  But with all the goodness and happiness I had over the joy of this wonderful news, I also knew that making the journey alone to a destination wedding would be yet another test of my strength.  It was not a far flight, and I opted to be in the hotel where all the events were taking place.  I knew my son and daughter-in-law would be there to comfort me, but nothing could stop the sad feelings which stemmed from not being able to share these joyful moments with Peter. I also knew that there was no way I could fill the deep and cavernous void of being alone at this momentous occasion.

I limited my time at the wedding to make it easier on my stress levels and chose to fly up on Friday and return on Sunday morning.  For the first time ever, I packed lightly!  This is a miracle because I have always believed in the travel theory “an item left at home is not a worthy item!”  Amazingly, I was able to limit the cosmetics, the hair products, and the rest of the ablution necessities to a minimum, and still fit two pair of dress shoes, two small dress purses, two Pashminas, two dresses, one workout outfit, and a change of tops all in a small wheelie!  It was empowering.  Of course, I did have to clunk around in sneakers all day, but that was a plus for my back.  I know it may never happen again, but color me proud that I managed to do this at least once and hope to be able to repeat it on short hops.  I stowed my stuff in the room, hung my dresses up, relaxed at the pool with my son, and then prepped for the rehearsal dinner.   The speeches were lovely, the setting was divine, and the farm-to-table food was amazing.  I faded early since it had been a very nerve-wracking day and was shuttled back to my room.  Putting the key in the lock and being alone was tough but I quickly turned on the TV for company, charged my IPhone and IPad, and fell asleep.

The next day, I decided to take a nature walk which Peter would have detested.  The word walk was not one that tripped off his tongue easily and nature combined with walk was an anathema of the highest magnitude.  After my walk, I had breakfast with my family and then relaxed before prepping for the wedding.  My son knew that I get slightly carsick so he sat next to me on the bus. The comfort of having him there was actually enough to make me forget about the windy roads.  When we reached the forest, there was a seat assigned to me in the front row of a picturesque circular setting amidst the redwood trees.  I was missing the touch of Peter, gently squeezing my hand, and sharing the energy of this meaningful and blissful day.  That is when the tears flowed like a faucet because I felt Peter’s void so deeply in this amazing setting.  I had to endure waiting for the ceremony to begin and tried to breathe out my sorrow.  The good news was that it was sunny and I whipped out my sunglasses which were a great cover.  Besides, during the ceremony everyone was crying for joy, so I fit in easily.  Just watching the love between these two young people made me happy, and yet I felt that I wished so that I could have shared this joyful day with Peter.

I breathed Peter into my heart and somehow, I felt in the middle of these majestic Redwood trees, he was watching over me and the love that was permeating throughout this amazing setting.  He always adored being in this part of the country, truth be told mainly to play golf, but this was the part of the country he worshiped and adored.  After the ceremony, we had a lovely dinner with many happy and funny toasts and then I split when the dancing began because I knew that not having a partner would bring up another grief burst.

The next day, I patted myself on the back for getting through this situation with the help of Peter in my heart, my family, and some lovely friends who were most supportive and empathetic.  I celebrated a picturesque few days in the forest, I celebrated the love of family and friends, and I celebrated my strength at moving forward with me, myself, and I.

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