The day after our beautiful wedding found us driving to our honeymoon destination on a two lane road in North Carolina. Behind us we had left a large group of loving, happy guests eating breakfast at the hotel and making plans for the rest of their weekend. We literally felt cloaked in the feeling of love our beautiful ceremony and reception had generated. We were happy and content and couldn’t discuss anything else except how amazing the whole weekend had been and how lucky we were. Total. Newlywed. Bliss.
This is why, when a nagging thought kept persisting through my feelings of happiness and contentment, I tried to push it down. Until I couldn’t and I burst out with it, as the tears started to flow down my face. “I feel like a part of me has died,” I confessed to my sweet new husband as he drove our car down the narrow road. As I said it I could picture a literal dead part of my body: a large, graying, damp, heavy mass, an extra limb that had somehow been attached to me and suddenly fallen off without me knowing it existed in the first place.
I know it sounds so strange that I had these thoughts after saying yes and planning a wedding. There was never a moment when I “wondered if” I was doing the right thing. I knew the second I heard him ask me if I would marry him that I was in, one hundred percent. My mind was clear, it was made up and my heart was literally bursting with excitement and love. Him and I were so happy and SO ready to marry each other. And still, this feeling of dying. I wasn’t exactly sure why I felt this way and I felt like I was betraying him. And as I sat in the car next to him it quickly started to stress me out. I felt terribly guilty for even thinking such a thought that I couldn’t keep it in a moment longer. I braced myself for his reaction with tears in my eyes.
He looked at me, making a little V with the space between his eyebrows. “Well,” he said as he continued to drive, unfazed “maybe you didn’t need that part anymore.”
“Yeah?,” I said as his words hit me. “Okay...yeah...I think you are right.” I wiped the tears off of my face
And he was right. That part of me had died because it needed to. It was the part of me that spent the last 16 years wondering what was the big deal about getting married. Do I want to get married? Would I ever feel the way I needed to feel to get married? Would I ever understand what all of those people raved about? Would I ever understand what the freakin’ big deal was? I had opportunities to get married before this but I didn’t follow through on them because I didn’t want to. It had never seemed right or felt right. But what did it even mean to “feel” right? I simultaneously thought about getting married and how I could avoid getting married that I was in conflict with myself.
As you can see, keeping this part of you going takes a lot of effort. Perhaps it took an entire, invisible limb.
And that my friends, is the part of me that died. That was the part that no longer served me, the part that was stuck on my staying the way I was and not changing or growing or moving on in my life in a very specific way that I was obviously ready for. The part that held out against being committed and held out against evolving as a woman in a way that I really wanted to but had been afraid to do - until now. So when our officiant said during our beautiful ceremony, “ Our prayer for both of you is that you might find in each other’s love, such profound acceptance and total release that you will feel reborn” maybe it actually worked. Maybe I was reborn. And that old part just had to die.
I’ve been obsessed with this conversation between my husband and I since it happened. I really felt that I had experienced something so simple and profound that maybe other people had the same experience. To me it was such an interesting concept to die to who you are becoming. Let me be clear - I don’t think everyone needs to get married to experience this. But I do think that at some point, everyone will have to die to who they were to become who they will be. And I think there are many different ways that can happen. Any life experience that has such a profound impact on you can open your eyes and your heart to new ways of looking at the world and people and yourself. And you realize that how you think and what you think are outdated and no longer useful to you at all. It can happen just like that! Or it can be gradual. It’s the Just like That experiences that tend to leave you in tears though.
Do I miss that old part you ask? No, not in the least. I was more than happy to mentally bury the dead “limb” in our car after my mini mourning and funeral. I was ready to focus on the new ways of thinking, being and feeling and figure out what my beliefs, priorities and life would be like on my new path and without the limb weighing me down.
I honestly thought others might be interested in this story the same way I have been. But it’s not always easy to explain to people that after your wedding you felt like part of you had died. It has mostly garnered me weird looks. People don’t quite get it. They try to make me feel better with responses like, “Well yeah, it can be sad after all of the planning is over, “ and “ You feel like you have nothing to look forward to,” or “I’m sure he was thrilled to hear that!”. But I don’t need to feel better about it because I have already figured it out. Yes a part of me died and thank goodness for that. It was exactly what needed to happen.