Thursday, October 27, 2011

Dream Wedding: The Charm

The day before Chris and my wedding, I received a very unexpected, very memorable, very meaningful gift.

It was the day of my rehearsal dinner.  I had many friends in town from across the country that I had not seen in years.  I had not had a moment alone with my groom-to-be for three days.  I had been on the go for nearly three weeks, and I was on top of the world as I was watching Chris and my dream wedding -- the beginning of our life as husband and wife -- the wedding I had spent the last six months planning -- all coming to fruition...

I had had a few rough moments -- especially two weeks before the wedding.  Two weeks before the wedding, I REALLY missed my sister, Tracey.  Two weeks before the wedding, I wanted my sister who would have had her own "To Do List" and "Wedding File" and she would have remember the things I had forgotten on my "To Do List" and "Wedding File".  I wanted my sister who KNOWS how to handle my parents the way only a fellow sister knows how to handle your parents.  I wasn't sure how to handle the feelings of missing a sister I hadn't seen or talked to in 9 years.

Then, Mom and I unexpectedly had an hour to kill in Spring Lake.  Spring Lake, which is where my sister lived for her last two years of life.  We had to kill an hour while the dress shop finished mom's dress and it was too far for another trip... we would wait it out at the coffee shop next door to the dress shop.  I walked to the coffee counter and looked up at the menu of drinks and I saw it:  Raz-Ma-Taz.  The coffee shop served a drink called Raz-Ma-Taz.  Raz-Ma-Ta was the name of my sister's favorite bird.

Tracey had a BUNCH of tropical birds.  She had WAY TOO MANY tropical birds.  At one point she had as many as 12.  Raz-Ma-Taz, or Tazzy, for short, was Tracey's favorite.  A big green-winged macaw named Raz-Ma-Taz.  

I stopped in my tracks and had to catch my breath.  We had an hour to kill in Spring Lake and the coffee shop serves "Raz-Ma-Taz".  Mom and I both drank a Raz-Ma-Taz that day in the coffee shop and it was like Tracey was there having coffee with us.

When I needed to tell someone this story, I called Tracey's best friend, Mimi.

Mimi and Tracey didn't meet until the last few years of Tracey's life... they met through their birds.  Mimi is the one Tracey asked to look after her dad for her (our dad).  Mimi always remembers to call my dad on his birthday, on Tracey's birthday, on the anniversary of Tracey's death, and on Christmas.  She has a very special assignment from Tracey and she takes it very seriously.

Mimi and I talked the Monday before the wedding and I told her how much I was missing Tracey and how it felt like God gave Mom and me time at the coffee shop to remember her and include her in the planning time leading up to the wedding.


Flash forward back to the day before my wedding... I was on top of the world as I was watching Chris and my dream wedding -- the beginning of our life as husband and wife -- the wedding I had spent the last six months planning all coming to fruition...  Friends and I had just returned from a day-before-my-wedding bridal shower and things were wonderful.

With my parents' house full of close girlfriends, and my parents' yard FULL of Chris' family and friends setting up the rehearsal dinner furniture and decorations in our yard, the day was flying by until I saw the package.  My day screeched to a halt and my heart began hammering like a jack-hammer when I saw the package.

Overnight priority mail, addressed just to me, thick envelop, from Mimi.

Chris and I were to the point in the wedding events where wedding presents that were continuing to arrive needed to wait to be opened... this present from Mimi was not a normal wedding gift.  This was addressed just to me.  I knew as soon as I saw it, this was something Mimi wanted me to receive before the wedding.

I took the envelop into my parents' family room.  The family room where Tracey and I grew up -- 20 years a part, but where both of us grew up; The family room where we celebrated birthday dinners for years; The family room where our parents hosted both sets of their future in-laws two days before their daughters weddings (23 years a part); The family room where Tracey lain in a hospital bed and where we made our last memories; The family room where Tracey died... now it was my parents' family room full of six of my closest girlfriends from different stages of life -- closest girlfriends who knew I had a sister, but never met my sister -- closest girlfriends in town for my wedding -- the girlfriends who became the sisters God gave me after my sister went to be with Him.

I told them who the package was from and why I thought it was significant and I told them I wanted to open it with them.

I opened a handwritten note from Mimi and a small snapped pouch.

The note said how much Mimi enjoyed talking to me the other day and how after we spoke she remembered something.  Soon after Tracey died, nine years ago, Mimi had lunch with Tracey's mother back in Minnesota.  Tracey's mom had given Mimi a charm that Tracey's dad (also my dad) had given her (Tracey's mom) after Tracey was born.  On the charm was engraved Tracey's name and birth date.  Tracey's mom then gave it to Mimi at that lunch 9 years ago.  Mimi was now giving it to me to have with me on my wedding day and to know and trust that Tracey, my big sister, was looking down and with me on my wedding day.

Tracey Lee
The charm was strung around my bouquet and secured with a pin that belonged to our grandmother.

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