I always wonder if everything else had gone smoothly, if I would have been bothered by the rain….

The Sanskrit expression “Mana eva manusyanam” translates to “As the mind, so the person.” In the book The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sri Swami Satchidananda explains that this refers to how everything is relative and every experience is mental. He says that if we think we are bound, we are bound. If we think we are free, we are free. He tells the story of how he used to treat people for scorpion stings by putting salt water in their eyes. The sting victims’ attention would be focused on their sore eyes and they would forget all about the sting and by the time their eye pain was relieved the sting was gone. He says that if we are upset over something small and something really bad happens, the first problem doesn’t seem to matter anymore. But, it takes a larger problem to put this in perspective.

About 9 months before my wedding, my fiancé was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. It was right in the middle of his back, and the surgeon needed to cut right down to the muscle to get all of the cancer out. If he missed any or didn’t go down far enough, the results could be deadly. The surgery went well, the lymph nodes were clear, but regular testing was required. Six weeks before the wedding, his blood test came back with irregularities. This could be nothing – sometimes surgery and the resulting trauma can make the blood get a little hinky. But it could also mean that the cancer had gotten into his blood, which would mean a prognosis of having only a few years left to live. We would find out the additional results in 6 weeks.

Needless to say, the final weeks before the wedding were scary and stressful. I couldn’t imagine my life without Dave. I hoped and prayed that everything would turn out okay.

The day before the wedding, I was dropping off decorations at the reception location with my sister when I got a call from Dave. His sister-in-law had taken his mom to get her hair and nails done (the hairdresser was her sister Barbara, which will come into the story later) and while her hair was being washed she suffered a stroke. She was rushed to the hospital and the good news was that she was stable.

Poor Dave tried to finish everything he needed to do before the big day not even knowing if it was going to happen. We didn’t know what to do – cancel everything now? Possibly get married without his mom? While we got ready for the rehearsal in a state of shock, Aunt Barbara went to the hospital to check on her sister. On the way to the hospital, her car slid off the road. She too was taken to the hospital

When we got to the church for the rehearsal, we were told that Dave’s cousin Lisa – a nurse – had driven to the hospital to check on her mother and on her aunt. On the way to the hospital she was stuck by another driver and broke most of her ribs (I know – this is crazy right? I swear it’s true. I always joke that if our wedding story was a Lifetime movie that I would have turned the channel after the second car accident thinking “Come ON, this would never really happen!”).

Looking back, our rehearsal was kind of funny. We had a really large wedding party (10 bridesmaids, 11 groomsmen, 8 children in various roles) and SO many people were missing because they were at the hospital. Uncles were filling in for flower girls, a random cousin pretended to be the mother of the groom. We told everyone at the rehearsal dinner that things were sort of up-in-the-air, and that the best thing everyone could do was to drink up! At 4AM I sat with my girlfriend at the bar wondering if I would be getting married later that morning (admittedly this probably wasn’t the best decision).

I woke in the morning still a little drunk. I went to the salon and had mimosas with my bridesmaids (I think my mom had no idea what to do with me) and got my hair done. While I was in the hair chair, my future brother-in-law called to say that his mother had (against doctor’s wishes) checked herself out of the hospital and would be at the wedding. His cousin Lisa and Aunt Barbara would be there too. Huge relief. The wedding was on.

When we got back the hotel, the groomsmen were all having lunch and started freaking out when the saw me, quickly escorting Dave out so he wouldn’t see me before the ceremony. His brother came over to tell us that the doctor had called while they were eating to let him know that his blood tests were clear. He personally called on a Saturday to let him and told him to have a great wedding, honeymoon, and life.

The rest of the day was a whirlwind. The next 14 or so hours were a blur. It had been raining on and off all day. We were having our group wedding pictures between the ceremony and the reception on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum when the sky got very very dark. In a matter of seconds it was a complete downpour. I wish someone had a picture of the scene that ensued next – 25 very well dressed people (me in 4 inch heels) racing down the steps of the art museum in the pouring rain. It must have looked hilarious.

It rained on my wedding day – and it was the best day ever.

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