If you've been a reader here for at least the past year, or know me personally, you know how huge this is considering how much he and I have been through the past three and a half years. If you had walked up to me exactly a year ago today and told me that I'd be planning a wedding to the man I was separated from at the time, I would've shaken my head and walked away not believing any of it. We were so broken a year ago...barely able to speak to each other, both of our hearts raw from the emotional turmoil of a rocky relationship and dealing with my mental illness. I remember how I sat across from him and fought back tears and words that begged to be spoken as we ate dinner with the boys last New Year's eve in Philly. I remember sitting in my car afterward, staring at myself in the rearview mirror at a red light, and seeing nothing but pain and loneliness in my eyes...it actually felt as though a knife was cutting through me and all I could think about was how I needed to let go of what was, and enter 2012 with open arms, forcing myself to embrace whatever it brought my way. "Let go...move forward," were the words I used to describe my plans for the year when my therapist asked. "Well, I think that's a good approach-you can't embrace anything new if you're still holding on to what was....and you can't move toward anything if you're focused on what's behind you," she replied.
I should call her and tell her how right and necessary her reply to me was at the time. As painful as they were to live out, her words helped me face the heartbreak I had been trying to ignore and parse my way through it, cleaning out all of the junk I'd let pile up in my heart in the process. It hurt like HELL, you hear me? HELL.
But I got through it. I let go. I forgave him. I embraced being his friend, and learned to love him unconditionally.....10 months later, here we are, living as a family in Austin....and getting married in March-the same month we decided to give our relationship one last try back in 2012.
I'm still trying to wrap my head around all that's happened, and as I sit here thinking about it all, I just feel so much gratitude for the life we're living at this moment-it's a far cry from the devastation we had spent the last three years trying to just survive and recover from.
8 weeks from now, we'll be standing in an outdoor chapel, in front of those who have always supported us whether we were together or not, and vow to spend the rest of our lives with each other.
Needless to say I'm in full-blown wedding planning mode. (check out my pinterest wedding board!) Even though we're keeping it a small and simple affair, there are still about a hundred "to-do" items and I've spent the last two weeks making reservations, emailing invites, talking to dress designers, looking at rings....it's been a whirlwind, but I'm doing my best to not be overwhelmed and enjoy this process because it's exciting and I want to be present for every part of it.
Both Bertski and I keep saying how much we want that day and the coming weeks to be time of celebration, and every time I think of this, as corny as it sounds, my heart just swells with a joy I haven't allowed myself to feel in a very, very long time.
So I'm spending the first 3 months of this year celebrating. Dancing, laughing, smiling...I'm giving myself fully to the freedom that's found in it, and I'd love for you to join me!
How? Well, it's simple, really. Our friends and family (and some of YOU) have asked us about wedding gifts and such, so we created a gift registry....
What we would really love, far more than an appliance, box of wine glasses, or the Big Bang Theory 400 question Trivia Game, is for people to help us celebrate our marriage by helping us give back. We feel like we've been given a tremendous gift, and yes, have been blessed beyond what we imagined these past months, so we've made it our goal this year to pay it forward in various ways.
This is where you come in....We have a list of charities and nonprofits that work to address issues that are personal to us or have affected us in some way. They are:
- Cathedral Kitchen in Camden, NJ
- Charity Water
- Nothing but Nets
and the last one....the last one is Postpartum Progress, which many of you know pretty much saved my life after I had Alex, in more ways than one. It directed me to therapy and the treatment I needed, gave me a community of support I didn't have, and introduced me to women who have become my best friends over the last two years. I honestly would not be here, Bertski and I would not be together if I hadn't found Katherine Stone and the work she does with Postpartum Progress.
Would you consider making a donation to one of the above charities, especially to Postpartum Progress? It would mean so much to me and would help me give back all that I've been given as a result of Katherine's dedication to making maternal mental health a priority....as well as help Bertski and I support organizations we feel are working hard to address hunger and disease prevention both here in the U.S. and abroad.
I know you probably think I'm crazy or tacky for doing this, but if you do make a donation of any kind, PLEASE email me and let me know. (dudley dot adriane at gmail dot com) I'd love to send you a card or something thanking you for celebrating with me, with us!
So...yeah. I'm getting married. I'M SO EXCITED! Be excited with me!
To learn more about any of the charities/nonprofits listed above, and make a donation, please visit these links:
Postpartum Progress: http://postpartumprogress.org/donate-postpartum-depression-2/ (you can also read the blog here: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/)
Cathedral Kitchen: http://cathedralkitchen.org/
Charity Water: http://www.charitywater.org/
Nothing but Nets: http://nothingbutnets.net/