Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Moping motherless maniac (the Follow Up!)

Hey ESB,

I wanted to give you a little update on what happened after I wrote you in May of 2011. I took your advice and stopped wedding planning for a couple of months to try and work through my grief and give myself some much-needed head space. In the fall of 2011, my then-fiance and I took a vacation to Italy to visit my father, who was living there at the time, and we fell back in love with Florence and re-solidified our desire (need) to get hitched there. When I got back to the states, my excitement was renewed about the whole wedding thing.

I don't know that I mentioned this in my first post, but I was studying in Florence years ago and my Mom and stepdad came to visit and I mentioned that one day (when I was ready to commit to anything other than cheap wine), I'd want to get married in Florence. The woman STOLE MY IDEA and married my amazing stepdad in Florence in 2006. She loved Italy more than any place on earth. After her wedding, I reminded her that I was still getting married there one day, to which she would laugh and point out my endless string of bad boyfriends and we'd laugh together. 

I totally lucked out when, about 3 weeks into dating, my then-boyfriend tells me that Florence is the most romantic place in the world and he loved it too. I took the perspective that planning a wedding there, to show off the glory of my Mom's (and our) favorite city, was like my final swan song to her. Because she had been privy to some of my super-early pre-engagement wedding ideas (and because we were closer than Charlton Heston and his guns), I felt like I could imagine how she would critique and improve upon my and my then-fiance's plans and ideas. In a weird way, planning my wedding was the last thing we would ever do together. And it felt like she was there with me for every step of the way.

I also was blessed to have an amazing network of people to help me: my fiance, my aunts, my grandmother, my two dads and my friends. They were there for all of it: the crafting, the bad wedding show marathons, the endless dress search (when I tried on 42 dresses and ended up in tears because I didn't know which one I loved and my Mom couldn't weigh in). Oh, and because my fiance wanted my dress to look like the one in the Guns and Roses November Rain video...boys are silly. Finally I found a dress by Carol Hannah, who was on Project Runway when my Mom was sick and she and I would lie in her bed and watch together (and be catty and bitchy and all that good stuff) and Carol Hannah was our absolute favorite. The dress was perfectly me and the connection to Mom through CH made it that much more special.

Anyway, this is us here.

We kept it small--20 guests, a morning wedding with an extravagant luncheon. Was it hard? Sure. Did everyone cry a ton? Yup. But Mom was everywhere. She had been married in the same room I was vowing to be with my husband for eternity. That was POWERFUL. The toasts were sobbing messes. But there's this wedding day magic that people who draw hearts above their "i"s talk about that is so totally real and takes over and all you can focus on is that you're marrying your best friend and nothing can get you down (bronchitis be damned). 

I don't know what I believe happens to people when they die, but in one way or another, Mom was there (in the art and the smell of the food and the architecture and the winding, cobbled streets of Florence) and she was so damn happy for us.

--No longer Moping or Hyperventilating. 


Way to go, ladypants!!!

It's so great to hear the real story behind some of the glossygorgeous images featured on SMP...

(Photo by Lisa Poggi)


  1. best thing i ever read. congrats to you lady! what a beautiful wedding.
    such an inspiring piece, and just what i needed to read. heading down the aisle in less than ten days, without my Dad - and i can only imagine how it will feel - but this was so uplifting and wonderful!
    congrats again to you and your dashing husband!

  2. " planning my wedding was the last thing we would ever do together." Crying.

  3. I am crying at my desk. This is so beautiful. What a perfect way to cherish your mom on your wedding day. Crying again.

  4. Amen! I'm in a similar situtation, having lost my mother four years ago and now planning a wedding (that is two weeks away - AH!).

    She was the planner and could throw together fabulous, effortless parties. Taking this one basically all on my own (with help from my father) was some big shoes to fill. I hope my day will be filled with the same love and emotion you experienced - because in the end linens and flowers and even the dress mean jack shit.

  5. This is beautiful.

    Also, you totally chose the right dress. I love it and, without knowing you, it seems very *you*.

  6. so perfectly written. absolutely beautiful.

  7. Flawless! Congrats! I, too, am crying.

  8. i am so damn happy for you, graceful internet stranger. congratulations.

  9. So sweet. So gorgeous. Congrats.

  10. So lovely. Way to keep the outlook sunny and honor your wonderful mom while celebrating your life ahead.

    Also, your wedding was gorgeous and your husband is HAWT.

  11. This hits close to home. My mom recently died of cancer, and I never realized how badly I wanted her to be at my wedding until it became clear that she wouldn't be able to be there (bf of 3+ years and I are not even engaged.) I can relate to every last bit of the crushing pain of the first email, but this one has me sobbing with tenderness and hope. I'm so glad these emails were posted; it makes a huge difference for me.

  12. This is such a beautiful story and it brought tears to my eyes. As someone who didn't lose her mother but instead cut her out of my life, I both commiserate on being motherless but recognize mine is by choice and yours was not. The other glaring difference is that you love your mom and she obviously loved you, and I did not have that.

    I know this is terribly selfish, but I wish daughters like you would write books on how you came to love your mother so much. If I'm lucky enough to be a mom one day, I fear I will have a daughter who will not love me as I have no idea what a loving mother daughter relationship looks like. I wish I could understand how good people like you and your mom, build such beautiful connections and relationships. While I ache for your loss I also envy the relationship you did have with her. I hope its not insensitive to say I think you're an incredibly lucky woman.

    1. You do know what a loving mother daughter relationship looks like, Anon, because you recognized it in this story. There is so much strength and knowledge in the posts related to this thread, including in yours. You are aware and on the lookout for how to build up good things - and that should help bring bright happy times to come, whatever path you take in life. xx

    2. Thanks, that put a little sunshine in my heart spot.

    3. These relationships are built, little by little over time. As a mother of a 26 year old woman, I know that it takes work on both parties to build up and to tear down. My husband hasn't spoken to his mother for at least 5 years, but that was after 20 years of heartache and his one-sided attempts to stay in her life. You will love your children if you have them. Your children will love you because you'll be a very aware mother who may be doing an even better job because of your circumstances. Keep in mind the mother (and the person) you want to be and work at it, little by little each day. My best to you. Thank you for reminding me of my precious relationships with my mom and daughter.

  13. This is so lovely, thank you for writing it. Your wedding was exquisite, but what I'm most touched by is your relationship with your mom and how you've kept it alive. So much good luck to you.

  14. Great ideeas, this is very it!