On October 6th 2018, my daughter got married. It would have been an emotional day anyway but inevitably, coming so soon after losing Gail and at an event for which she had already sorted out what she was going to wear, it felt as if I’d somehow mislaid something important.
On the other hand, things that might normally have phased me become easier. There was no speech that was ever going to be as hard as the one I made at the end of August and, plans I’d made to accommodate Gail’s failing health in the spring to make sure she could get about easy enough and wouldn’t get tired at the wedding, had becomes superfluous.
I laid Gail’s planned wedding outfit out before I left for the hotel on Friday night, safe in the knowledge that her hat – she was a fantastic hat wearer – would have been admired by all.
This blog isn’t about marriage so I’ll skip over the important part of the day and just say the whole event was a complete success and a wonderful occasion. The groom toasted Gail – something I wasn’t expecting but which I was enormously touched by – and I was able to reference Gail’s absence in my speech to highlight the importance of living each day to its maximum. I danced all night as I would have done had Gail been there and, unbeknown to everyone, Gail’s favourite colour was in evidence as I wore a pair of her pink panties; an amusing Facebook poll having taken part the week before to decide which shade best suited the occasion.
It was the following day that the wall was hit. I’d been so geared to making the day the best my daughter could possibly have while riding the emotional roller-coaster of losing Gail that the thought of going home to a house without her became quite traumatic.
October 7th 2018: I know from all the lovely texts, calls, emails and comments I’ve had, that many of you were concerned for my well-being yesterday. So, this is just to let you know that the day went better than I had any right to expect. Natalie declared it ‘the best day ever’ and I really couldn’t ask for more than that.
Of course, I mentioned recent events in my speech and the Groom paid tribute to Gail and everyone toasted her memory which is something I honestly didn’t expect.
It’s odd to discover in my advanced years that I have, apparently, a penchant for public speaking and speech writing, but when some huge bloke from Australia – Steve’s father’s side of the family are from Down Under – gives you a big hug and tells you he ‘never cries’ but ‘your speech made me laugh and wipe away a tear’ then I think it’s fair to say I nailed the thing.
The reception? I DANCED. Unlike my wife, I can’t actually dance but I had to for her and I did to the extent that I didn’t sit down for over four hours, before having a brief rest and then doing another two. Everyone was pretty astonished and said as much, but I was borne on other wings and it got me through.
This weekend was originally the focus for 2018 and it was nice I was able to re-focus after a huge derailing in the summer. It’s a huge comedown now though and I’m staying in London as I can’t face going home yet.