Gone but never forgotten.

It is three days since my brother got married.
Three days since, for the first time in a lifetime,
my whole family gathered together.
My mom, sisters and brothers, grandchildren and partners.
A motley crew.

Yet we all knew that it was not truly everyone who was present.
A very significant person was missing on our side.
Our Dad.
Equally on the other side, his wife to be was also missing a significant other.
Her Mom.

My brother had decided to bypass religion, so there was no church ceremony.
Instead we gathered in a lovely country house hotel,
surrounded by hundreds of years of history.

On Thursday November 14th we added a little bit of our own.

As we entered the old house,photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/anguskirk/3016945334/">Anguskirk</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
we could see where our own history began.
On a magnificent mantelpiece were two old black and white photographs.
One on each side of it.
They were photos of the bride and grooms parents on their own wedding days.

As I stood in front of those photos I was transfixed.
Both showed two smiling faces.
A newly married bride, with her beaming husband.
The prospect of a whole lifetime together ahead of them.

Both photos were reminders that for them a lifetime had been short.

As I stood and watched my brother wait patiently for his bride to be,
I was painfully aware my Dad was missing.
I looked to my mum, dressed so beautifully,
and I felt a pain inside my heart.
How much she must miss him on days like this.

However there was a symbolic link to my Dad in that room.
My two brothers, one the groom the other the best man,photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/berenicedecados/2675465119/">Berenice Decados</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
were each wearing waistcoats.
Within the pockets of each waistcoat a chain could be seen.
They were the chains of old pocket watches.
Watches that a long time ago belonged to my grandfather,
and which my Dad had kept.
Watches that now his two sons were keeping.

As the bride walked up the aisle,
she was proudly watched by her smiling father.
She struggled and managed to hold back tears,
focusing on the face of her beaming husband,
willing her towards him.
I’m sure her missing mother was not far from her mind.

She too held a tangible link to her mom.
Earlier that day a very special ring had been given to her.
Cleaned up and polished.
Her mothers engagement ring.
A ring she now wore on this her own special day.
A ring which once upon a time her own mother had happily worn.

When all formalities were over,
and this very happy couple had been photographed and congratulated,
we stood before the fireplace to listen to the speeches.
It was here we learned that links to those missing would continue.
The top table would have two empty places.
Two places which would be shared by the memory of the father and mother,
who were not present in person but were very much remembered.

We ate and drank for hours.
And then adjourned to the bar.
The music was lively and the dance floor filled up.
As the night went on we laughed and chatted, danced and drank.

Finally there was one final link to the past.
My brother, the best man had organised a special song to be played.
Not your everyday, modern song,
but a song dating back many years.
To a time when my own mum got married.
To a day when she and my Dad danced at their own wedding.

The song was “Look over your shoulder, I’m walking behind”.
Part of the lyrics of this song are sadly all too apt,

‘Cause I’ll always love you wherever you go
And though we are parted I want you to know
That if things go wrong dear and fate is unkind
Look over your shoulder I’m walking behind…

While the song was played my brother, the groom, took Dads place.
And as he and my Mom danced together,
the whole family surrounded this very special lady.
I for one was a mess, with tears streaming down my face.

I looked over at my mum in my brothers arms,
and I saw her smiling, happy face.
I think I loved her even more in that moment than ever before.photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/bulthuisp/6236320068/">Southworth Sailor</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
She has such strength of character.
Not for her tears of regret or sadness.
No, she was proud of her family and so delighted to be having that moment.
I have still so much to learn from her.

The song ended and we all lined up to embrace this amazing lady.

A wonderful day eventually drew to a close.
My mum stuck it out to the bitter end.
The 4am bitter end!

As I reflect on the day I am still smiling.
Yes, it was a day where two very important people were missing.
But I would have to say,
I think my Dad was very definatly present at my brothers wedding.
And I have no doubt, that as mums special song was playing,
my Dad was softly singing in her ear,

“Cause I’ll always love you wherever you go
And though we are parted I want you to know
That if things go wrong dear and fate is unkind
Look over your shoulder I’m walking behind”

photo credit: Berenice Decados via photopin cc
photo credit: Anguskirk via photopin cc
photo credit: Southworth Sailor via photopin cc


16 thoughts on “Gone but never forgotten.

  1. What a beautiful and heartfelt post. I can’t imagine such a ceremony without having my mother there. Just as we ‘kids’ wants our parents to be there in moments such as those, our parents want to be there as well. I believe that they were watching and enjoying every moment of that wonderful ceremony.

    1. It was a great day. As I sat to recap and write this it was only then I really appreciated how many links there were throughout the day to those two who were missing.

    1. Yes. Usually I miss him dreadfully at occasions such as this but this time I did feel him near. Maybe it was all the links which I hadn’t really appreciated until I began to write this.

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