This Season of Life - marisareneephoto.com

This Season of Life

I can’t believe it’s been two months since Steve’s mom passed and three months since we had our commitment ceremony with her and Steve’s family. If you’re not in my private life, then this news may come as a surprise. This journey we’ve been on has been one of the toughest trials in mine and Steve’s relationship, and even more so for his family.

His mom passed away after a three year journey of living with Leukemia…and I say ‘live with it’ rather than ‘battle’ or ‘fight’ because she embraced it, so much that when it came time after her final round of chemotherapy she decided to forego the drug therapy that could have prolonged her state of being. It was very bittersweet, but even the week and days leading up to her decision where Steve’s dad insisted she would continue the drug therapy, and that her goal was to be at our wedding in October, I felt in my heart that she may not be able to be with us, and that was a deeply profound realization. I knew it, but Steve didn’t even as I tried to subtly suggest getting married earlier.

This takes me back to the end of January when we announced to his parents our engagement and she literally burst with smiles and joyful tears. I knew how much it meant to her and wanted to have her blessings and to be apart of our union. With the help of hospice chaplain and a dear aid who helped her look her best, we put together a very intimate bedside ceremony that wasn’t necessarily legal, but spiritually it was so heartfelt (not to mention my seamstress who altered a dress within 24 hours, my neighbor who is also a hair stylist who has a wonderful client who moved her appointment so she could do my hair…so many people helped to bring this together on such short notice). There was music, flowers, and we crafted a ceremony that included everyone to be present and bless our union. There were tears, some sad at least for me realizing she may not be with us at our wedding, but also joyful knowing that it meant so much to us and to her to have this.

She was with us for a little over three weeks after the ceremony. We spent every-other day driving to and from Chester County to visit and be with her, even if just for an hour at a time, as her energy diminished. We talked about our favorite fruits (peaches were a hot topic as it was peach season), where she grew up, and the different places she lived. I felt like I had a good sense of her and knew her quite well, but the relationship we had leading up to her final treatment and her time in hospice care brought us so close.

Her service was just absolutely beautiful…so many of her friends and “family” (Friends that were her family) came socially distanced and spoke at her gravesite. Her good friend who was with her just moments before she passed stated that when she was leaving their house there were so many butterflies outside of their house and she thought to herself that these were her (Steve’s mom’s) guides. When we got home there was a plant waiting from my parent with butterflies adorned, and just a few days later we received 3 cards from 3 different people all with butterflies in purple (which was also her favorite colors). Could this be a coincidence? Stranger things have happened, but Steve and I will hold this in our hearts as a sign from beyond.

After all of this, Steve and I finally wed (legally) with our immediate families (again socially distanced). But more about that at a later time… I will forever cherish our relationships with her and all of the changes of this season of our life.

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