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Opinion: My pandemic wedding story: three postponements and a fresh perspective

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Dan had proposed to me a beautiful palm forest in Chile in December 2019. We spent the rest of the day playing with alpaca on a farm outside Santiago. We wanted to start a family quickly and we planned to get married in five months, at the risk of giving a whip to people in the wedding industry. Feeling the pressure of the weather, as soon as we got back to Texas, I frantically created spreadsheets, joined lines of cheating women at a bridal show (also known as an “expo”), and bought lots of shiny, cheap jewelry. for the bachelorette party. .

Then life as we knew it suddenly closed and planning stopped when a Covid-19 closure began. While it was obvious that a big May wedding wasn’t a good idea, I was initially optimistic about the second half of 2020. “Let’s be really conservative and postpone until November,” I said confidently, as I cleaned the groceries.

As a doctor, I felt I had access to the best information possible. But the lack of data and guidelines at the start of the pandemic made us feel like we were steering a ship through a blindfolded storm. I remember seeing a Zoom webinar in early 2020, in which my university was participating main biostatistical he showed us peaks and valleys of his pandemic projections that stretched into 2021 and felt a wave of denial.

In the end, he was right. So far, we have rescheduled our wedding three times. We always hoped the conditions would be safe enough for a big meeting, but each time the numbers told us a different story. We contemplated a virtual wedding, but we didn’t want to give up the experience of hugging and dancing with friends and family.

As the months passed and the number of deaths increased, my wedding took a low place on a long list of priorities. How would my patients pay for their medications if they lost their jobs? Would my clinic have enough PPE? Could I adequately assess patients with chronic illnesses if I could not see them in person? How do you console someone who watched, with FaceTime, the death of their mother? Measured based on these thoughts, questions about my marriage and time to start a family seemed insignificant to me even when I struggled with these decisions. I couldn’t talk about the disappointment I felt without feeling selfish.

The pandemic has caused so much immeasurable pain that it can be hard to justify worrying about anything less significant than life and death. But an interrupted life story remains a story of living this pandemic.

We are not alone in navigating these interruptions. Couples around the world have it they re-imagined their weddings during the pandemic. This is not all bad; the practical impossibility of an ideal situation allows you to imagine your wedding with more flexibility and creativity.
If my darkest days in medicine have taught me anything, it is that some of the most beautiful moments in life can be forged in times of suffering. Like the hospice nurse who called me on video every week when I visited my 97-year-old grandfather, Papa Red, so I could talk to him while the nursing home was closed (on that first call I learned that related between the two). with red hair), or local community organizers who found ways to feed and house those without heat or water during Texas horrible freezing. When we think of the pandemic, we think of the preciousness of life.
The alpaca collage that Aliza and Dan made as gifts for their family what should be their wedding day.
So we finally decided to prioritize life and started working on the part of our plans that doesn’t involve a big social gathering: having a baby. Now with Covid vaccines are on the rise i cases that go down, a big wedding later this year seems possible. But the crystal clear vision of my ideal wedding that has taken up so much space in my mind has cracked.

Some friends have moved away and others may not yet feel comfortable coming; if I’m pregnant, I might not fit into my dress or drink a glass of champagne; You may have nausea during the ceremony. And most puzzlingly, my Papa Red, who was eager to be with me under the wedding canopy last May, died four months ago of cancer.

On the other hand, these cracks in the facade also release the pressure of expectation. I can admit that I am more than a doctor and that while my pain will never come close to the suffering I have witnessed, it is okay to acknowledge the things I have lost. When rigid expectations soften, the underlying meaning of the event can shine more easily. Family celebration, new and old, is more meaningful than ever, while stressful details lose their importance.

The pandemic has changed our lives, but perhaps it has also changed our perspective. Sitting at the kitchen table last May as the storm blew through what should have been our wedding day, Dan and I spent time making brightly colored paper strips of alpaca as gifts. for our family. We grabbed the torn piece of paper, shuffled it, and combined it into something new and beautiful.

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