Ever heard of a Rose Ceremony? And NO I’m not talking about the Rose Ceremony at The Bachelor… What about a Hand Fastening Ceremony? No??? Me neither, well until I met our new minister that is!
Being sick sometimes means you meet new people… I know sounds a bit strange but let me tell you how that goes.
My mom and dad had to go to Cleveland to renew their passport. At the Dutch Embassy the met a very sweet gentleman named Arnie. My mom and dad started chatting with Arnie about dairy farming, and ended up talking about me. You have to remember this was in 2008 and emotions of me being sick and undergoing chemo were at the tip's of everybody’s tongues.
Arnie told my mom and dad that he had a dear friend, Mr. John Regan and John was a cancer survivor himself and helping others when or wherever needed. He told them, “If I needed somebody to talk to, I should just call his friend John”. Well, not long after I decided to give this Mr. John a call. And it was great! Not great because the subject (cancer is NOT a funny subject) of our discussions where so good but because I could relate and he was a very VERY positive and good humored man. I had never seen John, never met him or even knew where he lived, but 'it' and the talking to him felt good.
Soon after we got done with all the chemo in 2009 I asked John, who happened to be a minister, if he would mind coming up to Indiana and marry Bastiaan and me for REAL this time in a little church in front of our family and friends. Luckily he said yes.
A couple of months into planning this wedding John asked me what kind of ceremony we wanted. “We didn’t know, just a nice one would be fine with us”… John suggested two things; a rose ceremony or a hand fastening ceremony??? In the mean time our relationship (John’s and mine) evolved from calling on the phone to writing emails and when I read “Rose Ceremony” I did a double take and thought “OH NO! Anything else then whatever it is that reminds me of the SLIMY BACHOLOR (and yes i watched EVERY week...) from TV!!!” So we decided to go with the Hand Fastening Ceremony…
My next email to John was: “And what is the hand fastening thing exactly, do I need to bring a piece of rope?” (yes pretty blunt...)
His answer: “This is a slightly different type of wedding ceremony which is called hand fasting and it is of ancient Celtic origin and it is where we in the USA got the expression "Tying the knot" from, to mean someone is getting married. I have a beautiful white and gold-trim piece of rope specifically designed for use in this ceremony. I drape it over the hands of the bride and groom as you make your vows, then TIE THE KNOT. It is loose enough so you slip your hands out after the vows and I hand it to the best man or maid of honor.”
I think he kinda knew that I had this strange idea in my head about hand fastening after reading all those disturbing Stephen King novels…
I talked to Bastiaan about it, and he thought it would be just fine.
Between October 2009 and May 2010 we had sent new invitations, made a new guest list (because all the great new people we had met running in and out hospitals and operating a large dairy), dusted off my wedding gown that had been moved back and forth between our house and my mom’s house for two years in order for Bastiaan not to see it, did major remodeling to make sure all our friends would have a place to sleep…. Well, I just wanted a new bathroom but I had to give Bastiaan a good excuse… and planned the wedding of our dreams.
On May 15th of 2010 Bastiaan and I stood in front of Mr. John (who we met for the very first time in the flesh that day) and he wed us. The ceremony was beyond beautiful. The little church was full of loved ones, flowers and laughter. The Hand Fastening Ceremony was new to almost 95% of all the people that were there, so very interesting and humbling for most of us. There was some crying, some laughing some praying and some "just being happy". You could feel it in the air...
Just like how I got my horse this wedding was a gift from above.
If you ever where a little girl… trust me… this was the wedding you had wished for. After surviving this awful disease, after loving each other was made into a very hard thing to do, moving to a different continent, doing something you have never done before (dairying), we stood in front all our family and friends and felt as one.
Our first time getting married was good, because Bastiaan and I already knew we belonged together.
The second time getting married was tough, because Bastiaan and I were tested to no end in our love, our strength and our determination.
Our third time was perfect, because we overcame and had all the people who we love with us to celebrate.
It was a good day.
And no! This is not the end! The love story continues… I sure hope you'd stick with me!
And I just want to say thank you all for so many lovely, encouraging, humor full, sweet, fantastic, empowering and just absolutely WONDERFUL comments! For everybody who has read my blog in the last two months, if I would see you in person I would give you a huge kiss and hug and say THANK YOU for bringing me so much joy!