Our daughter got married this weekend! In the happiness of the event, we were also saddened as several of our loved ones have passed on. We so wished they were here to witness the union of our beautiful daughter and her handsome husband, and in our own unique way, we made it so. Allow me to tell you about the red roses and our loved ones …
A red rose is the universal symbol meaning “I Love You.” It proclaims beauty and also symbolizes a strong family bond, unity, harmony, faith, and hope for a wonderful future. This is the reason why we chose red roses to be placed in honor and memory of our loved ones at the wedding. It is also the reason why red roses were intertwined with the white roses on the wooden arch that the couple stood in front of to exchange vows.
The white chiffon was placed on the arch to appear like angel wings in the background, as we like to think of our loved ones who have gone on before us as angels who are watching over us now. We placed a candelabra and a sign at the wedding ceremony that said, “We know you’d be here today if Heaven weren’t so far away.” We also had a ladder style shelf with the bouquet my sister gave me when I was her Matron of Honor in her wedding years ago. We displayed some pictures below the bouquet in honor and memory of our loved ones. Pictured were: Pamela Huffman Smoak, Bradley Brunson, WadeDelle Moody, Elise R. Huffman, and Clinton Huffman, Sr. Sadly, pictures of FM Brunson and Emily Guest were not on display that day, but they will remain in our hearts forever.
Now I will share a little bit about these precious people:
Pamela is my sister & Brittney’s Aunt. Oh, Pam absolutely fell in love with Brittney before she was born and came to our house with a car full of gifts. I enjoyed seeing Pam doting over Brittney and enjoying all of her firsts with us. Brittney would laugh so hard, and Pam would smile so wide as they played together. One of my favorite memories of them together was when Pam brought over an Easter basket with colorful eggs to hide for an Easter egg hunt just for little Brittney. Pam hid all of the eggs and watched with joy as Brittney scurried around the yard looking for them. Brittney’s face would light up each time she would find one of those pastel- colored eggs. They were so full of joy and love for each other. The love between an aunt and a niece is so strong and powerful!
Bradley is Brittney’s Brother. They were fairly close in age, and they shared the same beautiful blue eyes and adorably contagious smiles! I remember Brittney crawling into the truck to help Bradley hold the gifts we gave him when we would see him. He would smile shyly back at us as he opened them. Through the years this little boy turned into a giant standing beside his sister at her high school graduation. I’ll forever remember his smile standing next to Brittney at her high school graduation! Although they would bicker like all siblings do, the love was there without a doubt even if the words were rarely spoken between them. The heart knows!
FM is Brittney’s Grandfather. FM is short for Francis Marion. “FM,” “Rufus” or “Papa” were also some of his nicknames. Although Brittney never got to meet him, Papa was there when we learned I was pregnant with her. He was so happy to hear the news! We looked forward to witnessing this gentle giant holding this little tiny baby. Sadly, he was taken from before she was born. I remember him fondly, as I loved playing in his hair. It was so fluffy and white as cotton. He was truly a kind, gentle soul, and I’ll never forget how he would tease us by making puppy dog eyes while asking, “Will you be my friend?” or how he would say “I love you.” I made sure Brittney knew him and shared some of my most favorite things about him to her while pointing him out in pictures to her through the years.
WadeDelle is Brittney’s Grandmother. WadeDelle attended field trips with Brittney in elementary and middle school, and she was one of her biggest fans when performing with God’s Copy Cats of St. George Baptist Church and also at ballet and clogging recitals. Sadly, she fell ill shortly after Dakota and Brittney started dating. He went with us to visit her while she was in the hospital, and she made a point to tell Dakota that she heard a lot of good things about him. I asked Dakota to pray right there in the hospital room. Even though I put him on the spot, he did not hesitate and went right into the perfect prayer for her. One of her signature phrases was “Oh my land!” We still use that phrase around our house today, as she is a part of our lives even still.
Elise is Brittney’s Great-Grandmother. Brittney would crawl into her lap, and together they would have the best time laughing together. She would light up when she would see Brittney, and thankfully, I have pictures of the two of them bonding and sharing memories together. Brittney was a teenager when her great-grandmother passed. We are all so thankful Brittney was not only able to meet her but truly know who she was and have memories with her through the years.
Clinton Sr. Brittney’s Great-Grandfather. Sadly, Brittney was only four years old when he passed away. Although she knows of him, she was too little to remember too much of the interactions with him. We have pictures of him at her birthday parties through those early years, though, and we treasure them! He was usually a soft-spoken man of few words that would soak in the conversations when family would visit. I will always remember the plaid shirts and Texaco hats he would wear.
Emily is Brittney’s dear friend. They “met” online and became close friends. They helped each other through some really tough times. That’s my girl, always reaching out to help others in need.
I just wanted to share little snippets of the people we honored that day. We did ask Dakota’s family for any loved ones they would like mentioned or honored during the wedding also, but his family did not wish to have anyone listed although the offer was extended several times. I realize often times bad memories may return at the mention of a loved one’s name, so we understand.
I am sure you noticed while reading this that I have purposely chose “is” instead of “was” when I referenced these precious people. The reason for this is because death cannot change who they are to us nor what they mean to us. I also choose not to say “loved” when speaking or writing about them, as in “I loved him or her” because love is eternal. Our love did not die the day they passed away. Love remains to this very day and always will. Love binds our hearts and lives together through the years and through eternity.
As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now you know … the rest of the story.”