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I got married! - What does this have to do with loss?

I got married on April 20th!! 

This is why I have been absent from my regular bi-weekly blog posting cadence.

I just don’t know where to start…

One part of me wants to share with you how amazing it was, how loved I felt. The other part also wants to share the not-so-great emotions I experienced. I guess here is where we go back to that old sentiment of ‘beauty and pain can coexist,’ and the fact that experiencing joy does not mean you are incapable of feeling pain simultaneously, and vice versa.

I have written a lot about the learnings and buildup to my dad’s death, but I have actually not shared with you certain details like the day before his death and a specific conversation around the topic of our wedding with my dad. These topics still feel quite raw at times; this is probably why I have avoided writing about them.

However, today is the day when I will talk about one of them.

I will start from the beginning…how did we get engaged?

March 2022

My now husband, as supportive as always, was with me in Mexico, helping me take care of my dad. He was there to move my dad with his wheelchair and oxygen concentrator around the uneven pavement streets in Mexico City, so he could get some fresh air or go to hospital appointments. He was there when we took him to the dentist and he ran out of oxygen and had to rush back home to pick up another oxygen tank while dad was almost unconscious. He was there, seeing me breaking down after dad had gone to sleep because it had been too hard for me to see him that way, his new normal self.

One day I went out shopping with my mum and left my dad and Tom alone, together. To be continued…

Early May 2022

I am back in Mexico as per my dad’s last-minute request, this time without my boyfriend.

Over a period of 3 weeks, I had my dad constantly asking me when my boyfriend’s birthday was. ‘End of May, I repeated, while internally thinking ‘why is he so obsessed about his birthday?’

One morning he asks me to help him get into his ‘secret table,’ a ‘gambling-like’ table that can store things inside. I open it, and he shows me some of his watches.

  • Dad: ‘Here, this is my favourite. What do you think?’ (showing me one of his watches).

  • He follows with, ‘Do you think he will like it? I would like to gift him this for his birthday.’

  • I say, ‘Dad, there is no need, but I think he will like it’ (I am sort of sensing the intention behind this meaningful gift; this could be his goodbye gift).

He gives me the watch

Mid-May 2022

My time to return to London is approaching. I can see my dad is weak; he is barely eating. We decided to stop going to hospital appointments as it really wears him out.

  • He asks me again, ‘When is Tom’s birthday?’

  • I repeat, ‘End of May.’

  • I said ‘Dad, I want to stay more time with you; I might postpone my trip back to London.’

  • He says, ‘No, you need to celebrate your boyfriend’s birthday with him; it is important to take care of your partner. Please go.’

I listened and made him promise that when I come back in July for his 79th birthday, he will be eating more; he nodded. We took a picture 👇

27th of May 2022

SURPRISE!

It is me and my boyfriend’s 5-year anniversary. The mood was low, I am not going to lie. Dad was barely talking over the phone, and I could see him mainly sleeping through the camera in his bedroom. He asked me for some vitamin drip, and I made sure he got what he was asking for. I wanted him to feel supported and with a voice. Upon reflection, I think he was desperate to get a bit of extra energy. So was I.

Difference in opinions about the vitamin drip and threats from a family member made me feel really shitty this ‘special’ day. I called my dad, and I was just crying, to what he says in a very slow, broken voice, gasping for air: ‘Please. I don’t want you to be sad; it is not worth it. Don’t listen to anyone, listen to me and to what I am asking you.’

His words reassured me; I put myself together and decided it is a nice sunny day in London, and I need to regulate my emotions. Off I go with my boyfriend to our surprise anniversary celebration!

And YES - HE POPPED THE QUESTION

Propose Love You GIF by Disney Channel

I said yes straightaway, followed by a bunch of tears. I was very happy but also had a lot of emotions bottled up. Thoughts of the ‘future’ wedding, most likely without my dad came up.

At that moment, I didn’t want to talk to anyone but to my ‘fiancé’ and my parents, which by chance, happened to be together on this day (even though they have been divorced for many years and rarely saw each other).

I video call my mum, and we share the news with them, and guess what?

MY DAD ALREADY KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN!

How???

Well.. let’s go back to March 2022; remember that day I left my dad alone with my boyfriend??

It turns out that day my boyfriend gathered the courage to tell my dad he wanted to marry me. What a nice touch to talk to my dying father about this. Well done, boyfriend!

My now-husband says that when he was talking to my dad, he said something along these lines:

  • Dad: ‘When are you planning to propose?’

  • Boyfriend: ‘End of May, around my birthday!’

  • Dad: ‘Ok, because I don’t have much time left, I won’t make it to the wedding.’

He says he saw my dad’s eyes turn watery as he says these words, so he shook his hand and went back to his room after this interaction.

NOW IT ALL MAKES SENSE! This is why my dad was so obsessed with Tom’s birthday. It was a milestone.

My dad died 5 days later…

So again, I was faced with the usual pattern of life: reasons to be happy, a new chapter with my life partner, and things to look forward to. On the other side, grieving the loss of my father, unable to think about organising a wedding.

TLDR version:

I didn’t feel I could talk to you about our wedding day without sharing the context of our engagement. I felt this experience has added an extra layer of meaning to our relationship and marriage.

Despite grief, I have found strength to embrace new beginnings, always reflecting on the complexity of emotions and the resilience we have.

Next time, I will tell you about our wedding (and hopefully by then I have some nice photos I can share!)

See you soon and don’t be shy, say hi over email, Instagram or Facebook!

Fernanda

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