This weekend, I have found myself watching the recap of the Royal Wedding quite a bit. I have not really been interested in it particularly before this, but when I got up to go to work Friday, it was everywhere. I turned the TV on for the news and there was the happy, newly wed couple standing on the balcony looking lovely and in love. I had flashes of memories of my own and found myself wishing, hoping, and really wanting the newlyweds to have a happily ever after.
As a mom of boys who have lost a parent, I have always rooted for William and Harry to have a happy adult life. Even before my life changed, I watched and hoped they would thrive. Their lives are very different than mine and my children, but they and my children have that one thing in common…their parent tragically died when they were young. I root for the royal boys, like I root for all of our kids who have survived tragedy thus far. I wish them only happiness and want all the best for them and hope they found the tools along the way to deal with their grief and loss.
Seeing Prince William and his bride standing on the balcony started my head running through scenarios. All the tragedy he has seen in his life, all the tragedy my family has seen and I found myself truly hoping and wishing that his tragedy was over and he and his new bride would be standing on the balcony in 50 years watching their successors wave to the crowd like the Queen watched them. I found myself hoping for a happy ending for my family too. I know that “an ending” isn’t really the goal, but I want to live a joyful life. I want my kids to live a joyful life. I really do want to look back someday and see that although we were wounded so severely by our loss, we bounced back into life and made the most of it.
Now, the other side of me…the widow side, the more pessimistic side ran different scenarios. I remembered Williams’ parents and their very public, unhappy marriage. I remembered all the sadness when his mom was killed. I found myself worrying for William and his bride…I guess it’s the “what if” part of my brain…sometimes I just can’t turn it off. When they said William was going back for active duty all I could think of – was – I hope nothing tragic happens to him, that would be so unfair to them – why do I even go there in my head? Why do those thoughts sneak in to my mind? Is it only because one day I was giving birth to our second son and five days later a doctor was telling me that he would try to “lengthen my husband’s life and keep him comfortable.”
My happy ending crashed to the floor that day. My happy ending seems like a far away dream that can’t happen now. I don’t want anyone to have to endure the pain my family has endured. I want people to get a happy ending.
So, as I watch history unveil this weekend, I consider what my own history will be. I consider the choices I make everyday to heal and work toward a new, re-framed happy ending. I watch a young man and woman in love and hope for that myself again. I hope my children will grow and be able to love, be loved and look toward a happy ending. I place my hope in our endurance and our ability to face our pain. Hopefully through all of this, we will be open to love and our futures in a gracious and genuine way. It is always my hope that all of us who have lived through tragedy will have our shining moments, our happiness return, and our wounded hearts open wide to receive love in a new, more meaningful way. I hope that we too, will have our happy ending back again.