I attended the commitment ceremony of my Pilates instructor and his partner last night. There was beautiful music: cello, four handed piano pieces, and two male opera singers. The symbolism wasn’t lost on me. Each partner then had friends and family stand up and say a few words, a sister running back and forth across the stage handing the mike from one partner’s group to the other’s. She made us laugh when she reveled in her “Vanna White moment”. Then, in a lovely act of simplicity and ceremony, they mixed water and soil from each of their respective homelands.
Two rows below me one of the partner’s parents sat and I could see his father with his head in his hands, as though trying to not see. His mother stared stoically ahead, like a stone statue. But they were there. Despite their apparent disapproval they were there. I lamented the newlywed’s lack of freedom to marry, but was awed by their bravery to do it anyway.
All in all, it was a very moving ceremony. The woman beside me was weeping freely. Another woman on stage kept wiping her eyes. Weddings do that to people. Witnessing true love does that to people.
I found myself flinching at the “till death do us part” moments. My Pilates teacher said as part of his vows “your name will be the last words out of my mouth.” Something deep down inside me knotted up at these words, and made me swallow to keep it down. I didn’t want to think it. I didn’t want to leap ahead in my mind to what this new couple might have in store for them. I wanted to believe that it doesn’t have to be “till death” because those words give it a finite end, and I know now that it just isn’t that simple.
I wish I didn’t fear for every happy couple I attend the wedding of, but weddings I realize now, are often a difficult reminder of the happy bride I once was, of the certainty I had that I would grow old with my husband, that when “death did us part”, we would somehow be ready.
But no one is ever ready.