When P's grandmother died last autumn, I was prepared to be upset at the funeral. I thought that, coming only a few months after P's funeral, it was bound to be hard for me, even though I hadn't known his grandmother well at all.
Well, I got through that all right, but I was completely blindsided by my reaction to this weekend's wedding. I hadn't been expecting to feel sad -- why should I? It was a wedding, not a wake -- and at the beginning, as I was watching G scatter silk flower petals down the aisle, I didn't. But then the minister got up and started talking, and from that point on, I cried without stopping through the entire ceremony. If you know me in real life, you know how unlike me it is to cry in public, or to show any strong emotion really, but I couldn't help it. The best I could do was cry silently, which I did, sitting there alone in the corner of the third pew. And it's a good thing I was alone too, because if anyone had tried to touch me, I might have died of shame on the spot.
What set me off was the minister's speech, which was all about the bond of marriage and the melding of two people into one. Of course she didn't mention the flip side of that coin: what happens when that bond is broken against your will, and the other half of you is ripped away in an instant, while your back is turned. I didn't want to stop being married to P, damn it. In my mind, I still am; I still wear my wedding ring (and his too, on the finger right next to mine); and I hate every time I'm forced to tick "single" or "divorced/widowed" on a form. A few weeks after he died, the Social Security Administration sent me a lot of paperwork that said "marriage ended in death on 7/2/2006," and it seemed like the cruelest cut ever, that some government agency could pronounce my marriage over just like that, when I still feel married and think of myself as married. There's something there, no matter what they say. It's less as if the bond's been severed and more as if it's stretched out long and thin, as if I'm on one side of a chasm and P is on the other, a tiny black dot far off in the distance. But is that true, or is it only in my head?
Anyway, I managed to get hold of myself as the ceremony ended, and I don't think anyone saw my little breakdown, or if they did, they probably just assumed I'm one of those people who cries at weddings. Certainly the bride and groom didn't notice, and I'm grateful for that. Not everything is about me, and the last thing I'd want is for my personal issues to spoil their day.