I wasn’t there for this moment. Pictures are all I have.
I was the maid of honor. It was a day we had been planning since we were 15 years old. I would stand by her and she would stand by me.
Nikki and I had talked on the phone every day multiple times a day for the last several months. We were both engaged and planning our weddings. It’s amazing how much there is to talk about!! There wasn’t a detail we didn’t have our hands on and we needed to make sure the other approved of every move we were making. It was magic.
I had my bridesmaids dress altered and hanging up ready to be worn down the aisle.
I even made Joe go buy a new suit. We had our plane tickets bought and our hotel room booked.
But cancer had other plans.
Nikki’s wedding was September 17th.
Joe was diagnosed with cancer September 16th.
I had ran home from the hospital to take a quick shower and grab a few things and I was talking to Nikki on the phone. I was explaining to her about how the doctors found a mass in Joe’s colon and they were running some tests. I changed my flight but I would still make it in before the wedding. I was apologizing because Joe couldn’t come anymore but we’d figure it all out and everything was going to be great. Nikki understood from the first call I made. She never made me feel bad or even talked about her stress of her own wedding. She was only worried about me.
When my other line beeped in and I saw it was Joe, I quickly hung up with her and took the dreaded phone call. It was the news I was hoping to be back at the hospital for. I was suppose to be holding his hand when the doctor came in. But I wasn’t there.
“The doctor was just here and it’s what they thought. It’s cancer. It’s rare and it’s aggressive,” Joe said calmly on the other line.
I’ve been so weird through all of this. I get this crazy surge of power and wisdom in the moments you should respond the exact opposite.
“Okay, we are going to be okay. Remember how we’ve always said that the stars were aligned for us? Remember how we’ve always said this is just so perfect? God brought us together so we can get through this. We are going to be okay. I’m on my way. I’ll be right there,” it was as if I had planned what I was going to say. I still have no idea where it came from.
Then I called the bride.
It was then that I broke down with my best friend on the other line. She was on her way to do nails with the bridesmaids. She didn’t deserve that phone call during the happiest days of her life. She didn’t deserve to feel that pain. Her maid of honor wasn’t going to make it.
I felt selfish at that moment because I didn’t know what hurt the most. Joe had cancer and I wasn’t going to make my best friend’s wedding. It was this tug of war of what was real and how things were suppose to be. It wasn’t fair.
I emailed my maid of honor speech and it was read out-loud at the reception. My heart hurt the whole night at the hospital as I constantly watched the clock knowing she was walking down the aisle and feeling jealous of her other friends who got to see it all.
I got married 2 months later and Nikki stood by me. I felt guilty that day knowing I wasn’t there for her big day and there she was for me. Being a maid of honor is a hard job!!!
She kept my lipgloss on hand helped me in my dress. She tied my bracelet and kept me calm. She grabbed my veil as the wind blew and nearly ripped it off my head. And her speech was just as beautiful as she was.
Cancer might think it stole that day for us but it actually made my day that much sweeter.
So there cancer, your plan didn’t work. Oh yea, and you suck.