A Wedding and a Funeral

Margaret Rode Courageously

I’ve got to be honest with you, I’m not normally a huge fan of weddings and no one looks forward to going to a funeral. My own wedding was of course delightful, never-mind the pervasive sweat and persistent feeling of vertigo. Weddings make me nervous. I am nervous for the groom, for me, the ring bearer boy and the guy playing the organ. I do love the reception as I consider myself a formidable dancer.

So as fate would have it in my life, I was asked by my cousin and his beautiful fiance to ‘Mary’ them in a wedding ceremony to be held in Denver, Colorado. But before I go there, let me rewind a couple months to the funeral.

My Aunt Margaret had fought fearlessly against cancer for some time. Her example of courage and strength in the midst of pain and suffering will remain with me forever. She was well known to many in the Portland area as a selfless and giving human being, who would care for you..no matter who you were. In April I delivered the eulogy for my Aunt in a Catholic church packed with friends and family. Near to my left, was my cousin, Margaret’s son. He and his fiance tried to beat time and wed in the presence of his mother. But time and fate did not allow for this opportunity. As I spoke of Margaret and the example and legacy she left us with, I could not help but hurt for my cousin and fiance, who in anticipation of beginning a new life together, had to say goodbye to one that had meant so much.

Fast forward to July.

For the record, I am not a reverend, man of cloth nor claim a religious title of any sort. Although I did sign the Certificate of Marriage as “Spiritual Adviser”. I don’t really know why, but the state of Colorado and it’s ‘rules of engagement’ allowed for me to facilitate the marriage of my cousin to his fiance. As you can well imagine, Margaret was on the minds of many there at that special occasion. The wedding was held at a hotel in Denver. The atrium, where the ceremony took place rose high above. Once again family and friends packed the ground floor as hotel guests and onlookers gathered at balconies on all floors. Someone in the wedding party spoke of how he wished Margaret was there to see her son get married. Upon which my 5 year old daughter, in her oh-so eloquent way said, “She is here and has the best seat in the house”.

Will Ride Courageously

The ceremony was beautiful and a new life of a couple began. I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t a little nervous. But much more than that I felt privileged and honored. In the span of only two months, we experienced the loss of life and the creation of a new married couple, all in the same family. Often something wonderful comes out of something so sad. In the case of my cousin, that couldn’t have been more true. So much of life is this interplay or juxtaposition between sadness and joy.  In this case so much of who my cousin is and the kind of woman he chose to marry, was because of his mother Margaret.  It was because of her influence, her love and her strong will (in great part), that that wedding happened on that day.  No she was not there in person, but she no less made that day come to fruition than my presence in facilitating the union.


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