Today was supposed to be the happiest, most beautiful day of your life. Today you were going to marry your best friend, your sweet handsome Shawn, who would be with you always and forever. Dad had visions of walking you down the aisle and giving your hand to Shawn so that he could take care of you where Dad left off. In one devastating heartbeat, all that changed.
I am so proud of you, dear sweet daughter, for many reasons. First of all, your acceptance of Shawn’s tragic and sudden death, your confidence in knowing Shawn’s true, genuine love for you that will always and forever be a part of you, and finally, your strength and courage to move forward when your heart tells you otherwise. The silent grace you have shown throughout this sad week and most especially today is a huge, humble part of who you are…maybe that’s why Shawn loved you so much.
But Shawn was loved as dearly by you. He was kind and respectful, a hardworking, selfless man with a humble heart. Your love for each other was genuine, true, and real. In the early hours of the morning the day after Shawn died, we talked about how so many people live a lifetime without that kind of love. You and Shawn were lucky – you had that kind of love.
So today, Saturday, July 23, 2016, what would have been your wedding day, looked very differently than your hopes and dreams of six months ago. I so wanted Dad to make a wooden arch for your ceremony, but instead a wooden picnic table covered with sky lanterns stood off to the side as our two families came together for a ceremony of another kind – one that Shawn’s sister Moira prepared for her dear brother and your sweet Shawn Michael. There were no rows of white chairs or coral rose petals lining a center aisle. Instead a circle of love – brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, and even your sweet Gracie – surrounded beautiful you, with Shawn’s parents and Dad at your side. I loved what Moira said in your honor and Shawn’s and thought you might want to see part of her words in writing…
By being here to support you today, we as a united family are honoring & truly celebrating that fact that the love you shared here in the physical was a kind, genuine and giving love. A love that continues to make the lives around you richer just by being present.
Your commitment to each other for the nine years you were together was beautiful, often selfless, and growing. The circle says it still is today. So as we look to the river, I would like to offer a moment of silence in gratitude – to thank the sky that gives us purpose, the water that purifies life and the family that comes together to support through love at the hardest of times.
Lindsay, as heartbroken as you were today and Shawn so deeply missed, you humbly allowed two loving families to stand by your side and line the shores of the Fox River where silent wishes were made and Shawn was so dearly remembered – both of you tremendously loved.
Uncle Paul sent me a message today that I read over and over again, and I want to share part of it with you. I hope it helps you as much as it helped me.
The end of the first verse of the Wedding Song proclaims “the Union of your spirits, here, has caused Him to remain. For whenever two or more are gathered in His name, there is Love, there is Love.”
Nothing, not even death, can destroy the beautiful union and bond that Lindsay and Shawn shared and continue to share. Lindsay’s words of hope and courage and healing give light to this Union.
Know that we all stand with you today, hearts broken, yet confident in the knowledge that whenever two or more are gathered in His name, there is love, there is love!
In the end, Lindsay, today was a beautiful day, although not the kind of beautiful you or I ever imagined for your wedding day. And you, my dear daughter, were as beautiful as ever. I still don’t know from where you gather your strength to get through each new day, but I can guess that it might be from the simple, beautiful love you share with your very dear Shawn Michael.
I hope you know how much I love you and how very proud of you I am…always and forever, mOm 🙂