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  • It had been almost one year. Almost one year since I was last in this church. It was all I could think of as I sat down in the pew next to my boyfriend. I thought of how today was to be a happy day and how that day almost one year ago was not. I thought of the contrasting situations and as we stood and turned to watch the bride walk down the aisle with her father, my boyfriend’s great-uncle, I felt a lump form in my throat. I smiled at them as they passed by and drew in a deep breath. Weddings always made me cry but this was different. Almost one year ago my boyfriend’s grandmother, who had raised him since he was young, had died and we attended her funeral service. I realized that the funeral service was the last and only time I had ever been in this church and now here we were, almost one year later, about to witness a beautiful and happy ceremony joining two people together in their love.

    After the ceremony, we made our way to the back of the church. We greeted my boyfriend’s great-uncle and he smiled as he said, “It was tough there for a little while, but I got through it. The father daughter dance tonight will probably get to me.”

    A few hours later at the reception, my boyfriend and I had just finished eating and watching the newlywed’s first dance. I knew what was coming next. As they asked for the father of the bride to make his way to the dance floor, I told my boyfriend how I remembered dancing with my own dad at weddings my family attended when I was young. I told him how I used to stand on his feet and dance with him and as I spoke these words my eyes filled up with tears.

    “Are you crying?”

    “Yeah,” I said, smiling through my tears and almost beginning to laugh. “Weddings always make me cry!”

    I told him how I was thinking of my dad and hoping that he would be around to walk me down the aisle and dance with me at my own wedding. I don’t know why I was thinking this. Perhaps it was because I had been thinking about the loss we experienced the year before. I know that things in life can change very quickly. I am blessed that I still have both of my parents with me. At my age, they were both on their own. They did not get to have their parents dance with them at their wedding. Their parents were not able to see their grandchildren born and grow up. I was not able to meet my grandparents.

    On this day, full of love but with reminders of loss, I thought about how much things had changed within the past year. How we have all been changed and have grown, not just in body but also in mind. I wiped away my tears as my boyfriend reached to do the same. I smiled as I looked at him, knowing that I would not take one moment for granted.
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