I am not going to go into detail how my heart got broken recently. All that you need to know to hear this story is that it was and I cried until I didn’t have any more tears to cry.
But tomorrow was my friend’s wedding.
We had been talking about this day so excitedly since I heard she was proposed to. Actually, we had been talking about this day since she had met Alex. There was this feeling she told me about when she met Alex that he was really something special. In fact, during a heartbreaking time when they were split up, she still felt that. Even when all the hope in the world for them reconciling really seemed to fall away, she still felt it tugging on her heart. This guy is the one. I watched them go through the tough stuff. I watched her cry, scared that maybe she was wrong.
Turns out she was right all along. She was right even before he realized how damn smart she was. This day was always meant to come. Both Bella and Alex came from past marriages and failed relationships. They both built families with kids, and watched it not work out. All the past and all the tears in their life built them for this supreme happiness. How beautiful of a thing is it to realize why everything had to happen the way it did. How beautiful to realize you were really thankful for all the highs and lows as they brought you to this moment.So “damn it, Heather. You don’t get to have a broken heart today” I told myself.
I did my best to keep it together for my trip up to Lake Tahoe where their small, intimate elopement was happening. I claimed that I was fine. Said I was over it. Made a lot of sarcastic jokes the ultimately my dear sweet friend saw through and said she wanted to drive me up to the cabin in Tahoe. Yes, instead of this bride worrying about her wedding, she just wanted to make sure I was ok. This is the kind of amazing human I am talking about. So she drove me up to Tahoe and let me bawl my eyes out. Turns out crying with your girlfriends is truly one of the most therapeutic things you can do. Instead of worrying about herself, she gave me that gift of just crying it out and feeling loved that I really needed.
Then came the morning of the wedding. I turned my phone off. I gave myself a little pep talk in the morning before things were moving. I remember that moment specifically when my favorite Willie Nelson quote came into my head.
“Be here. Be present. Wherever you are, be there.”
This was her day. My dear friend had been such hardships, heartbreak, and trials. But through it, all her heart was so incredibly strong that she knew she was deserving of love and was going to get it. There was never a moment in our friendship where I remember this woman bitterly saying “whatever I guess I’ll just stay alone”. Instead, she bravely said, “I am deserving of it and have faith it’s coming”. This unwavering faith had led her to this incredible man, Alex. This faith led to them creating a bond together so strong nothing could pull them apart. Her faith that this day would come indeed helped make it come.
“So take some awesome freakin’ photos of it, Heather”, I said to myself.
I can’t really explain the surrealism of crying of pure happiness to my friend dancing while she said I DO to Alex. To watch someone so truly deserving of love that I cherish like a sister finally get her soul mate. The immense gratitude I felt in that moment washed over me. And let me tell you the wonders that does for a broken heart. Replace pain with gratitude. It’s a miracle worker, I swear. Hope and Love took over my heart on this day as I watched Bella and her daughter join with Alex and his kids to create this new, incredible family. I watched every one of their faces and saw how happy everyone was about this union.
With such incredible love in the world like that, how can you not be excited for what’s coming next?
I get to have the job of documenting people’s happy days. The days that all the broken roads led up to. All these people I photograph has had their heart broken before, and they finally found that person that wouldn’t. I am so eternally grateful for this gift that the universe gave me.