After my father died I became more obsessed with my wedding than I had already been. I spent that Christmas after he passed, filling up my wedding Pinterest board. I was still super single but I knew what color my bridesmaids were wearing and what kind of centerpieces I wanted. Maybe the present was too painful so I chose to focus on the future. Maybe it gave me hope in the midst of my pain. Maybe it helped me remember life was not over even though it felt like it. Whatever my motivation was, from that moment forward, getting married and my wedding day was closely tied to the loss of my father. Any time I found myself browsing through wedding dresses or thinking about the kind of ceremony I wanted to have, I was always reminded that my father wouldn’t be there.

Fast forward eight years and I’ve met the man of my dreams and we’re planning our wedding. As exciting of a season as I anticipated this to be, I also expected it to be riddled with sorrow. With every item crossed off our checklist bringing us closer to our wedding day, I thought the sadness would take me over. There would be no father/daughter dance, no fussing over what he was going to wear, and no seeing his wide smile matching the joy in his brown eyes. I had moments of tears and sadness throughout the wedding but those moments were never crippling. On the day of my wedding, I woke up happy and lived in the joy I know my father would have felt on that day. I may have not been able to look into his eyes but as I stood before God and my family and friends, I looked into the eyes of a man who loves me deeply.

Since I’ve met Desmond, I’ve spent my father’s birthday and the anniversary of my father’s death with him (well that first birthday was the day after but you get the point) and as emotionally taxing as those days had become, with Desmond, those days aren’t so bad. Yesterday, my father would have been 75 years old, and Desmond and I spent the morning sharing our love story with others. Throughout these two years, and truly on the day of my wedding, I learned of the healing power of love. God is love so it should come as no surprise, but to experience what love can do is to live out 1 Corinthians 13. There is a peace and a calm Desmond brings to my sea of my pain that I know is inspired by God. I move with a lightness in the world because Desmond is willing to help carry the burden of grief with his mere presence. Reflecting back on the impact Desmond’s love has had on me, I almost feel silly for worrying that my wedding day was going to be anything but amazing. I didn’t cry but even if I had, there was no need to fear that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the day. After all, there is no fear in love and I am definitely in love.

After my father died I knew I would never be the same and after being loved by Desmond, I’m convinced I’ll never be able to experience the loss of my father the same. Throughout the Bible God used people to perform miracles and He’s still doing the same thing today. God heals. Love heals. And Desmond has been proof of that for me.

1 Corinthians 13:7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

January 21, 2022 (Cherise Richards Photography)