Recently one of my children asked me the wedding date between his dad and I; my first husband Eric. I grasped at straws in midair, trying to find the right words for the honest answer that I simply didn’t remember it.
I never planned my first wedding.
It’s true that we were engaged. It is also true that we argued constantly about where to get married – New York or Louisiana. The majority of my family resided in New York and this was the place in which I mainly grew up. The majority of his family resided in Louisiana and this was the place in which he grew up. The arguments lacked compromise or solutions so eventually I gave up the discussion until a compromise could be met.
We had met in a controlled environment (boot camp) and shortly after boot camp from the US Navy, I hit a fork in the road. He proposed on my first road trip to Florida where he was stationed.
Sometime in November he asked me if we could go to Louisiana to meet his family and friends. I was game.
When we arrived in Louisiana, Eric ‘explained’ that his parents wanted to ‘throw us a wedding’. At that time, I knew something wasn’t sitting right with me, but I didn’t quite understand. I lost my voice for many reasons; allowing another to be comfortable was one of them.
I did not choose the flowers. I did not choose the vows. I did not choose the cake. I did not choose the date.
Not a single member of my family was there that day.
I have often referred to it as the shotgun wedding – the only difference being that I was not pregnant and there was no gun held to either of our heads. Yes, I made a choice that day to let my voice go unheard; a decision that I have reflected on many times.
It wasn’t until years later that I discovered letters written by Eric to his father and letters of response; with the wedding being the main topic of discussion. There were threats made and manipulations spelled out throughout the sentences. In the end, Eric succeeded with his intentions.
I have learned a lot since I was that young girl at the age of 19. There is wisdom in knowing when to let your voice be heard, knowing when to be silent, and knowing when to walk away…..
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