As I start this post I’m not quite sure of the shape it will take. I’m emotionally charged at the moment…for you see dear readers, the absence of blogging these past few days isn’t due to the server issues of last week but of the events that took place this past Friday 31st when instead of boarding a train to London I was stepping foot in a hospice for the first time.
My Dad has terminal cancer and his body is beginning to fail him.
The chances are any number of you reading this have been directly impacted by cancer – so there’s little need to explain how this horrific disease attempts to tear the heart out of so many families. Witnessing you loved one losing a battle with their own body is rage-inducing and mind-numbing at the same time…but with such battles can come clarity and for my Dad it’s his bravery, his stoicism and his respect for life that’s continuing to shine through.
Us Brits aren’t too good at talking about our feelings, which is why I’m bloody grateful that I’m part Kiwi too! I have always erred on the side of sentimentality and over-sharing and have in recent years forced my family – particularly my Dad – to be the same, so it’s been a real treat of late to talk with him about his past, his family history and his hopes for those he’ll eventually leave behind as he discards his mortal shell…
One hope is that my brother and I continue to piece together the complicated web of events that led to my Dad being…well Dad. Adopted by his loving parents Huia and Doreen we’ve yet to trace the girl – a mere teen at the time – who brought him into the world – nor do we fully understand the circumstances. However, as we delve further into our family history one thing has become very clear – my Dad was part of at least one spine-tingling love story – the marriage of his parents.
Love. An affinity between two people. Something to be cherished. Something to be celebrated. My Grandparents relationship didn’t imitate a fairytale. It had a messy start and a tragic end. My Grandmother was newly divorced, my Grandpa a middle-aged bachelor when they lost their hearts to each other. They loved and lived together for some twenty years before Grandma Doreen succumbed to cancer – my Dad was just seven years old. It was a blow my Grandpa never fully recovered from.
At the time of their wedding both were living in different countries to their remaining parents (in Fiji and England) and their wedding was very much dictated by their circumstance…it’s these elements that inspired their day and made it all-the-more beautiful.
Wonder how I know? Well, I was amazed to learn my brother had discovered their wedding report! Penned for the iconic New Zealand Herald way back in 1931, the essence of their wedding has been captured for eternity. It not only sets the scene so masterly but describes very specifically the details that played a part in making their wedding so personal and unique. All those beautiful little elements that I try to champion on here as needing to earn their place within your day…baring some relevance, whether it be seasonal, dictated by budget, your surroundings or your sheer passion for them.
I am immensely proud that my Grandparents chose to share their wedding in a way that now echoes what I’m doing and what’s more that their wedding was so individual – no pomp or tradition dictated by a then quite stifling society. There celebration reflected their history as both a couple and individuals. For 1931 it was a thoroughly modern approach. Read on…
I’m unsure if today’s musings serve as anything other than an indulgent moment of pride for my wonderful family (very cathartic admittedly)…but I do hope it plants a seed or two in the minds of those perhaps debating the finite details of their day. My message is simple…if you create a celebration that reflects your circumstances and if you fill your day with details that have earned their place, you will have as near perfect a wedding as we can all hope for.
So here’s to the sentiment… the details and above all, the love.
And Dad, here’s to you and the legacy of love that you are a part of.
Doesn’t it just fill your heart with hope? Hope that we are all a part of a bigger picture and a lasting legacy of love… after all, that’s what makes the world go round.
Image credit: in the absence of a photo of my Grandparents, that’s Dad and I on my wedding day…with thanks to Lucy Shergold Photography.