Why do we cry at weddings? The bride, and also the groom, may cry because they are entering into a new phase of life and new responsibilities. They may be cries of happiness and perhaps cries of uncertainty.
For family members and friends, they are all crying tears of happiness for the bride and groom. Yet, with the tears we cry, I do wonder if we are not also crying tears of sadness, especially from the more senior members of the group. Perhaps we are reflecting back to the time we were married. Just like Karen Carpenter's song, "We've Only Just Begun." The theme song or our own wedding many years ago, she sung "We've only just begun to live. White lace and promises. A kiss for luck and we're on our way...And when the evening comes we smile. So much of life ahead. We'll find a place where there's room to grow. And yes, We've just begun."
Yes, so much of life ahead. Just like a spring day, we were young and fresh. We were energized and ready take on anything that comes.
Why do we cry? Of course, we cry tears of joy, yet when we look back at our own lives; we see the good times, the bad times, and yes, the ugly times. We hope and pray that the new bride and groom will have a bright and successful marriage. Yet, as we wish the young bride and groom the very best life has to offer, we know there will be tragedies in their lives and obstacles they cannot even imagine. My own brother was without a father and my mother without her husband for a 4 long years during WWII. My dad never saw me until he came home from the war. However, we were very fortunate that he came back--millions did not.
In 1909, my mother's parents got married in Kansas. Expecting a long life together, I'm certain my great-grandparents and their friends gathered around and cried tears of joy and reflection. They had four children and perhaps one who was stillborn. Yet, in just a few short years, my grandmother was hospitalized with depression. Then 11 years after they were married, my grandfather was killed when a hay stacker fell on him. As indicated in the news article to the left, my grandparents were in the prime of their lives. My grandmother lived for a few more years, but without her children as she continued to suffer from depression. Regretfully, their children were split up after my grandfather died. My aunt, the 10-year old in the article, went to live with her aunt in California. My mother was raised by a foster mother in Colorado, and my two uncles likely stayed relatives in Kansas or Colorado.
In the mid-70s, I was the wedding photographer for a young couple. She was a beautiful, petite girl of 19. He was in the mid-20s. Expecting a lifetime together, there were tears of joy and happiness for the bride and groom. However, the husband got cancer and after a short battle, he died in his early 30s. The beautiful, young bride was, once again, alone.
When we first begin our new life as a married couple the end of life is so far in the distance, it feels we have all the time in the world. We're busy and as Karen Carpenter continues to sing, "...we fly. So many roads to choose. We'll start out walkin' and learn to run. And yes, we've just begun." It's not until we have lived, aged and slowed down, do we realize time tends to speed up and the end of life is near.
Yes, we cry tears of joy and happiness at weddings; yet we also cry tears of apprehensive because we know life on this earth is absolutely imperfect--even in the very best of marriages. As we watch the young bride and groom marry and we reflect on our own lives, we may also shed tears of sadness because we know we will not be around to see our children and our friends' children through to the end of their lives. But, most of all, we may cry tears of encouragement for the young couple to be strong enough and brave enough to endure what life has to offer them as they journey through their lives together. _____________________________________________________________________________
Encouraging others to contribute their stories or memoirs for their descendants, Frank S. Adamo is a communication skills specialist, instructor/trainer, and an author/co-author of five books--with more coming. Our heritage defines who we are and the more we know about ourselves, the better we are to cope with the reality life gives us. Join our membership to embrace your heritage and leave behind, for our descendants and others, the lessons we have learn to cope with our life journeys.