Wandering Roots: The Broken BrideWritten by Stacy Jurich | | firstname.lastname@example.org
This past weekend, four of us jumped into the most-reliable-yet-still-with-quirks car out of everyone to make the eight hour drive to Door County, Wisconsin for our friends’ wedding. Eight hours turned into ten hours, but alas I was speeding down the unlit northern roads as we gradually got closer to our friends-waiting-with-wine by twelve mile increments.
When we arrived to the resort on Lake Michigan, we could hear talking and laughing from the second floor balcony where friends of Jane and Doug were excitedly catching up, making new friends, and cheering when Wes arrived with cases of beer from the next town over (we were in a dry town). Jane and Doug were engaged last Spring; the high school sweet hearts had been dating eleven years before they both decided to lock in their love with rings and vows before family and friends.
We ran upstairs and were met by the bride, looking cheery, spirited, beautiful and…broken. Her arms were already in hug position, bent at ninety degree angles and wrapped from knuckle to just past the elbow in a splint cast. Jane broke both of her wrists in a tree climbing accident on the eve of her birthday, just one week prior to her and Doug’s wedding day.
A semi-experienced climber, Jane had climbed twenty feet up a tree in her neighborhood, but when she went to put her weight on a branch she didn’t notice it was a dead limb. She heard a snap and that was the last she remembered. Witnesses told her she had fallen head first but thankfully her instincts put her arms out to stop her fall. She spent nine and a half hours in the hospital with her husband-to-be by her side.
I spoke to her on the phone the day after she arrived home from the hospital. I hadn’t heard Jane sound that sad or tired, EVER. Her neck, back, arms, face…her entire body, was extremely sore and she had cuts on her face. She had little energy and was relying on Doug for most everything. I knew without asking that the wedding would still take place, although she was considering scheduling an additional photo shoot for the couple. Fortunately she had family and friends arriving just two days later for the wedding and would provide help and comfort.
Jane is motivated, efficient, curious, intelligent, adventurous, spontaneous, subtle and coy in manner yet precise and candid in thought and speech. She didn’t want to drag out the stresses of planning a wedding so kept the engagement short; they had been together eleven years anyway. She wanted the wedding to be simple, small, non-traditional, relaxed and romantic.
Jane and Doug had forty-six of their closest friends and family travel from all over the country to be with them. Most of us were planning on helping with preparations in some way once we got there, but since Jane was now the wedding director without being able to do any of the jobs, everyone happily made sure everything was taken care of. The night before the wedding, I, along with three other girlfriends, helped Jane with the simple job of getting ready for bed. We dressed her wounds, applied muscle relieving pads, helped her brush her teeth and gave her water through a straw. She took her wedding ring out of the shoebox next to her bed to show us. It was so intricate and beautiful, “…from the twenties”, she kept repeating; it was the most perfect ring for her.
Throughout the weekend Jane handled her disadvantage and misfortune with a smile. Although, at times I could sense her frustration or longing to feel more freedom on her wedding day. She did get emotional at the hair salon when other brides were getting their hair done, unbroken. She did not, however, feel sorry for herself, nor did she expect anyone else to. She did not have to sacrifice any aspect of the wedding and laughed throughout.
Saturday afternoon was a perfect sunny day, not too hot and not too cold. The wedding party hiked down a short trail to an overlook of the bay. The bagpiper played “Here Comes the Bride” as Jane and her father walked down the trail. Jane looked perfect, and I’m not just saying that to be nice. Her vintage dress was just above the knees, a white laced v-neck with thick shoulder straps. The color of the splint wrap was subtle and almost matched her skin tone. Her gorgeous auburn hair was done in a honeycomb up-do, and she wore pearl earrings and Chaco sandals.
The ceremony was beautifully curated to the personalities and beliefs of Jane and Doug, and their community of friends and family were there, as we have been and will be, to support them and give our blessings and love.
Regardless of how much money is spent on a wedding or whether it is done in a courtroom or without recognition from the state; regardless of what is worn or what challenges each person endures, true love, as emphasized by the pastor at Jane and Doug’s wedding, is the most important element of any union.