a Dress, a Dance and a Death

I vaguely remember the last #familywedding I went to. All I know is it had been a very long time since the extended #family gathered and it was about to happen again for my cousin’s wedding. I honestly had no idea what to expect. I wasn’t anxious, but I was cautious as to what the night may bring.

Like most families, you hope for the best behavior…

The Dress

The wedding party was gathering prior to the ceremony for pictures. Then, there she was, the mother of the groom wearing the exact same dress as my mom. This was the nightmare of all nightmares for any woman at an event.

My parents were already headed to meet us here at the venue. I needed to give her the head’s up, at least, to process and prepare. I had to call her, but it may be too late. My poor mother. She was so excited about her dress.

She picked up and I told her the situation. I confirmed it was a different color and that she did the dress justice. All I heard was the running of her SUV against the freeway. She was silent. This moment would define the rest of the night.

“What are you gonna do!” she laughed out loud. It was at the moment she showed character and her lifelong student took it in. She wasn’t turning around. It is what it is.

At some point, the ladies exchanged the silliness and all was well with the mothers of the night.

The Dance

It’s no secret my dad and I have a difficult relationship. This weekend when I returned home, I came back with residual sentiment from my last visit – emotionally bruised and tired. He was ridden with guilt and despair.

Minimizing tension was the goal at the wedding. This meant being on our best behavior from beginning to end. While a stretch, he mentioned to my mom he would really like a dance with me. I dismissed it as I do to protect myself.

I can’t remember the last time I danced with my dad which is strange given that he was a strong influence. He taught me not care what other people think, just feel the music and express yourself however you feel.

That night I spotted my parents on the dance floor. They were enjoying themselves, enjoying that moment.

So far, I could tell we entered this weekend with an unspoken tenderness and pause for the other. We just wanted to get along. He was also consumed my rejection and it showed.

I walked towards them. “Excuse me, may I cut in?” I said.

For that moment, we were in sync and all was well with a father and daughter that night.

The Death

We heard that a server from my parents’ former restaurant, had a health complication the day of the wedding. The diagnosis was uncertain.

Salvador was someone we looked out for especially after he worked for us for so many years. My cousin and her immediate family also knew him too after they took over the family business.

He was a gentle, quiet soul who wanted to support his family as best as he can. He was good at his job. Every weekend night he was requested by name to manage big table parties.

It was understood though that we would hold off from sharing any news with the bride that day. I didn’t hear about it again until the next afternoon. At 46, he suffered a severe stroke that left him incapacitated. With nothing else to do, his family made the hard decision to let him go. It was his time, good or bad, ready or not.

For that weekend, we had an ending of one life, while we had a birth of a new a one.

My Family

I didn’t know what to expect this past weekend, but I was proud in our ability to deliver good judgement and hold it together as a family. There were many other instances throughout the night that reinforced this too. These were just a few.

I didn’t have any goals related to my extended family but I did after this. I realized I wanted to invest more time and embrace them for who they are. As different or difficult as anyone may be, it’s ok.

I have a cousin that’s happy being unhappy.  I have relatives that dress up in boots, buckles and cowboy hats as formal wear. It’s not me, so be it. As soon as that Latino classic tune played, we all hit the dance floor and it didn’t matter.

This is the one family I have and I will never know for how long.

‘Til Next, Elisa
#familywedding #family #goals




2 thoughts on “a Dress, a Dance and a Death

  1. This is lovely and honest and true. Our relationships with our parents continue to evolve as we and they get older, and understanding and empathy (along with a little bit of I-don’t-give-a-shit) is required for peace at the table (or the dance floor).

    Liked by 1 person

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