Heather and I recently showed Annie the DVD of our wedding and she loved every second of it. Watching it with Annie was pretty hilarious. Still, as much joy as there was watching the wedding DVD with her – and how could there not be joy when watching your wedding with your daughter – there was sadness too. Heather and I hadn’t seen the video in many years, and it was difficult to see how much our world has changed in just a little over six years.
Far and away the most difficult thing about watching the video was seeing loved ones who have since passed away:
There was a clip of my Dad’s long-time friend, Hal, a good hearted man with a memorable laugh telling a joke by the bar;
There were many shots of Heather’s Aunt Kathy, a terrific woman and film aficionado (something I very much appreciated) grooving to “I Want To Hold You Hand;”
And there was Jackie.
If Heather and I, as the bride and groom, were the stars of this production, Jackie would have gotten third billing (at least). She not only looked absolutely beautiful, but was an endless source of energy on the dance floor. Her eyes never seemed to stop flashing as she twirled around, danced in a conga line, and laughed with our friends. She was so full of life that, when watching the DVD, it’s almost impossible to believe she’s not with us anymore. And while it’s wonderful to see Jackie this way (the pre-diagnosis Jackie that she wanted to be remembered as), it can’t be done without feeling crushing sadness at the unfairness of it all.
Nowhere near as hard to see, but hard to see nonetheless, was Heather and me. We looked so incredibly carefree, happy, and optimistic. I realize, of course, that just about all couples are on their wedding day, but that really was how we were in those days. I can’t imagine that, when we said “for better and for worse,” we stopped to give much thought to what the “for worse” bit meant. We would find out soon enough, though. Today we’re so different that it’s hard to watch the DVD and not feel a little sadness over knowing those versions of ourselves are now gone.
Annie, of course, saw none of those things. She just saw the venue beautifully decorated, everyone dressed to the nines, and the happiness we all shared that day. That’s a great way to look at it, and since it was one of the very best days of my life, I mostly see it that way, too. Still, I do wonder what kind of feelings will be brought to the surface when I watch the DVD in ten/twenty/thirty years from now. It’s only been six years and the DVD already has the power to take my breath away.