This past weekend my husband, Noel, and I went to Sonoma, California for our second wedding post-pandemic. I have always loved weddings and cry at every single one of them. Thank heavens I invested in waterproof mascara, so I did not look like a horror movie or the world’s oldest goth after the ceremony.
The love evident the day of the marriage was palpable. Meredith was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after their first wedding was canceled. Since then, she has gone through chemotherapy, steroid treatments and all that comes with it.
Meredith said that she feels as though all her dreams have come true even through cancer. She said that she has been given so many gifts, how can she hold any anger toward her struggles? She said difficult times can lead to the most beautiful destinations. For all of us attending that wedding, we were gifted with that beautiful destination. It was such an honor to be a part of the love story that is Matt and Mere.
Matt stood at the altar waiting for Mere to walk down the aisle with closed eyes and immense emotion. Her father walked her down the aisle and she and Matt joined hands. The church became incredibly quiet, and a friend named Steve yelled out, “We love you Matt and Mere!” The whole church, minister and all, burst out in laughter and cheers echoing his proclamation. We have all waited for so long to see them join as one and especially after all they have endured, it was such a moment of pure joy and bliss.
The wedding started off with a reading from the bride’s twin sister Kat. It was an excerpt from “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis de Bernières.
“Love is a temporary madness.
It erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides, you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
It is not excitement,
It is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
And this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
And when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches,
They find that they are one tree and not two.”
As Kat read this reading, I felt every word. I rejoiced that in the 26 years I have been married to Noel that we always found a way back to each other through thick and thin. I have fallen in love with my husband so many times in our marriage and never more so I would dare say than now.
Matt is a man full of surprises and is the most creative human I have ever met. He created a huge metal eternity heart sculpture for their wedding that appeared on the altar. It was two beautiful pieces of a heart that was brought together as one by Matt and Mere at the end of the wedding. At the reception, we all wrote notes of love and inserted them in the heart as a symbol of our love and support of their union.
Matt also surprised Mere with a song from “The Greatest Showman” called A Million Dreams. He sang “I think of what the world could be. A vision of the one I see. A million dreams is all it’s gonna take. Oh, a million dreams for the world we are gonna make.” Not a dry eye in the house.
It was a dream of a wedding and I know this couple will continue to do the work to make this marriage be a forever one. This week instead of a honeymoon, Mere will be back at it with five weeks of radiation and infusions every three weeks until February. May we all have the spirit of Mere this week and remember her words when times are hard, “Difficult times can lead to the most beautiful destinations.”
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher and Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.