The Wedding Video.

I apologize for the radio silence around here. Just be grateful that you’re not my husband, who is currently living on dreams and scrambled eggs.

I am straight-up exhausted.

In typical “us” fashion, we decided that we should buy a new house, join a new church AND start my new job allatthesametime. It all feels like LIFE, and after six months of death, I am grateful for every overflowing trashcan and stale bagel around these parts. I am deeply, deeply thankful for life.

Yesterday, I drove to Massachusetts. As happens on all of my long, quiet drives now, I missed Ian more and more with every winding, New England mile. I arrived home to a sweet surprise—our wedding video!

My heart jumped into my throat as I relived the frosty March day that Kellan and I looked hard into each other’s eyes and promised for better or for worse. I’ll say what took me months to admit out loud: it’s often hard for me to think about our wedding day. There was so much impossible pain and so much extravagant love woven into March 2nd, so inextricably intertwined that it was impossible to tell where one ended and the other began. I had tightly held Ian’s hand as he slipped away just three days before, and suddenly, impossibly, I found myself clutching my Daddy’s arm in a white dress, waiting for the sanctuary doors to open. Breathtaking piano music swelled and I thought my heart might burst from the indescribable pain and beauty of it all.

I had to remind myself to breathe.

Just a week and a half before, my Dad and I had been sitting beside Ian’s bed in the ICU. Monitors flickered in the dark, vacillating wildly between hopeful and heartbreaking. Exhausted hearts rose and sank with oxygen levels and hand squeezes, and no one knew for certain whether Ian would live or die. We were afraid to hope, and still, could do nothing else.

My wedding day was fast approaching, though I did my best not to think or talk about it. Somehow, my stubborn sister heart still resolutely believed that the frail shadow of my brother laying on the hospital bed in front of me might still walk out of that hospital room and waltz with me on March 2nd. Truthfully, I was never able to wrap my heart around the idea that Ian might die. Oh, I could say the words, but they rang hollow every time.

Over the course of planning a wedding for six and a half months, my easy-going Father had never inserted his opinion or asked for anything at all. That day in the ICU, he looked at me and quietly asked me to find a videographer to capture the day, in case Ian lived to see it.

The wedding was days away. Numb and exhausted, I called my dear friend Amy, who spent countless hours in the ICU with us over the course of those weeks. Amy, Dad wants me to find a videographer. Do you know anyone?

Firmly, she told me not to worry about it, that she would figure it out.

Later that day, Amy texted and told me that my friend Josh [who happened to be the most talented videographer at our church] had agreed to film the wedding—and some friends [who remain anonymous to this day] were paying for it.

Hot tears slipped down my face in a sterile white hallway, as I sank to the floor outside the door to Ian’s room.

Ian will never watch this video, but I am indescribably grateful to have it. Its very existence reminds me that even in the midst of raw, searing pain, I do not walk alone. That I do not hurt alone, and that my family and I are loved. And it reminds me of how grateful I am that in the months that followed my walk down the aisle, Kellan walked with me. [Goodness, am I ever glad that I married that man!]

To Josh Sliffe, Amy, and the other friends that made capturing our wedding day possible: “thank you” could never be enough. You are a tangible expression of God’s goodness towards me.

Comments

  1. How beautiful and sweet of you to share this with us! I was already in tears reading your post but then you included the video. I am undone. So well filmed and captured, you are indeed enveloped in love. Thank you. We are right in Hampton, NH – 40 mins from Boston and just about anywhere else in MA, ME and New Hampshire so if you ever need anything while you travel just holler – by phone (can private message you) or email or call Faith Community Church in Hampton and you’ll be in touch with a whole posse of loving brothers and sisters in Christ!!

    • You are too sweet. :) Thank you Carolyn! I’d love to get to meet you some time–and given how much my job will have me on the road, I can’t imagine that I won’t have an opportunity to! :)

  2. Love
    this
    post.
    I saw a blog post of a wedding at your same church this week and considered sending the link to you but refrained wondering what emotions may surface. Well, you drew them out here.
    Love you.

  3. Quite possibly the best wedding video I’ve ever seen. Moments captured.

  4. This is beautiful, Ashley. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Ashley,

    My name is Gwen and I’m a current student at UNC-Chapel Hill. I think one of my friends on Facebook must have posted a link to your blog at some point, which is how I became aware of your story and started reading your posts occasionally. Thanks for sharing!

    I came across this today and it made me tear. I also thought of you. Scroll down and watch the video if you can!

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/16/cancer-kids-brave-remake/2994611/

    Even though we don’t know each other personaly, know that I’m praying for your family,
    Gwen

  6. Feeling like I can’t breathe w the emotion. That josh, he’s something else. Thank you for posting.

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