I will be getting married in a month. This is undoubtedly an occasion I am excited about and one that seems to have taken forever to arrive, not least because I am turning 38 this December and my fiancé will hit the 50 mark in October, and neither of us have been married before.

Since getting engaged, we have both been acutely aware of the fact that we will both be missing a parent on this special day. My mother died sixteen years ago from cancer and his father passed away five years ago, also from cancer.

So far, I’ve only had one of “those moments” of a sudden resurgence of grief. I hadn’t been feeling well and happened to be on my way to a dinner when I drove past a bridal store, when I suddenly burst into tears at the thought of how much I’d miss my mum on this day and how she wouldn’t be able to share in the preparations or the experience of seeing her only daughter walk down the aisle.

There it was again, for the millionth time, that searing pain of emptiness in my heart and the pain, the deep pain of loss. It made me wonder, will I lose it totally on the Big Day? Will my carefully applied vintage-style make up end up smeared in a Kleenex before I even reach the altar? Will I make it through the “I do’s” without sobbing? Worse, will the photograph’s depict contorted ugly crying faced bride and groom, rather than a radiant, so happy to be wed couple?

My fiancé and I had already talked about how we could incorporate the memory of our parents and their presence into the service and agreed to have a unity candle lighting ceremony, whereby the two already lit candles would represent the spirits of my mum and his dad, something the minister would mention in her address.

We’d planned to have an image of our combined family trees featuring all of our relatives, dead and alive, to include both sets of our grandparents who have also crossed to the other side. We’d also chosen songs that were favorites of our parents or had a strong association: a friend of mine will be singing John Denver’s Annie’s Song, my mum’s nickname was Annie.

I’d  also been wondering how I could “borrow” something of hers for my outfit having already obtained something new, old and blue. But it is amazing how little I have left of hers after sixteen years: a hat, a cardigan, some bits of costume jewelry, cut-outs of the magazine and newspaper articles she wrote, photo’s and lots of memories.

I do have a camisole. It’s the one she wore on the last day of her life. I remember helping to carry her to bed that night. She was 5’5 and probably no more than 100lbs at that point, and she was slipping in and out of consciousness, eating maybe a mouthful of soup every 4 hours.

When we got her to the bedroom, my stepfather helped me to undress her, but it was I who removed the silky camisole, asking her to lift her bony arms in the air so I could slip it over her head. As I tucked her in that night, kissing her on the top of the head, I whispered “Goodnight darling.” As I walked down the stairs afterward, I thought how odd it was that the roles had reversed so entirely; it had only been a few years earlier that she would come in at night to kiss me on the top of the head and say “goodnight darling.”

I pondered; perhaps I could create something with the camisole? I figured I’d be borrowing it in a way. After some thought, I decided to make a locket, with a picture of Mom inside using a small strip of the camisole to make a ribbon with which I could tie it to the inside of my dress.

This idea of keeping our loved ones alive, of bringing their essence into our waking moments, especially the ones we find so hard, the Lonely Landmarks is what I refer to them as in my book, Your Legacy of Love: Realize the Gift in Goodbye, is a healthy practice.

Remembering is good, even when it brings about a few tears. I know that I’ll have “one of those moments” on the Big Day, its inevitable. But I’ll have all my friends and family there, many who will be fully aware of the fact that it will be a sore point for me and my fiancé, and I’m sure my mom and his dad will make a guest appearance by way of the speeches. She’ll be with us in memory, in spirit and, as I’ve come to realize over the years, she’ll be there in me.

After all, we share the same DNA, and, according to my brother, the same eyes, and, as my cousin points out, the same shaped fingers. And I’ve always believed a wedding isn’t a good wedding without a few tears. If all else fails, I know she’ll be hiding under my skirt!

 

Gemini Adams 2011

Gemini Adams

Gemini Adams

Gemini Adams, E-RYT, C-TREP - is a trauma specialist, yoga teacher and award-winning author who is passionate about unraveling the shadowy “stuff” that sits behind our suffering to bring relief and restore an authentic state of well-being to mind, body, heart soul. In the role of educator, Gemini has mentored and taught classes and workshops to adults, at-risk teens, children, the bereaved, the elderly and special needs groups on a variety of transformative, health and wellbeing topics as well as the creative writing and publishing process. 

Knowing from personal experience how trauma impacts the present moment, causing frustration, disruption, robbing us of inner-peace, health and the ability to “be” who we truly are. Gemini began practicing yoga, meditation and seeking transformative tools in her early 20’s to recover from her own trauma's — school bullying, parent’s divorce, boyfriend rape, substance abuse, and her mother dying from cancer at a young age. A Somatic Trauma Resolution (STR) and advanced TRE® practitioner, she draws on 20 years of trainings and certifications with the Trauma Center Justice Resource Institute, Trauma Prevention, CRUSE Bereavement Care, the Tony Robbins Leadership Academy, the NFSH, the Health Wave Institute and studies with Ray Castellino, Sharon Porter, Dr. Peter Levine, Dr. David Bercelli, Dr. Betty Martin and Dr. Diane Pool Heller. Gemini is a trauma-informed Yoga Alliance registered E-RYT teacher with over 800 hours of yoga study with Sivananda, Sri Dharma Mittra, YogaBugs™ and many of California's leading teachers, including Saul David Raye, Govindas of Bhakti Yoga Shala, Sianna Sherman, Micheline Berry, Shiva Rae Mark Whitwell. 

Combining her passion for changing lives with her love of exploring different cultures, Gemini has facilitated youth, mental health, environmental and social impact projects in Africa, Peru, China, Poland, England and the USA, with The Red Cross, Raleigh International, Personal Overseas Development (POD) The Tony Robbins Foundation and The Temple of the Way of Light. 

She is also the creator of Womb*Sense — a fusion of yoga, somatic experiencing and sensual movement — which she’s taught to hundreds of women across four continents. Held in the safety and solidarity of sisterhood, women are guided to shake out pains of the past, freeing trauma from their bodies and wombs, to essence, open to pleasure and their heart’s desires.

Gemini currently works with the Center for Relational Healing, a trauma and addiction recovery center in Los Angeles, where she also has a private practice offering one-on-one sessions with somatic experiencing and shamanic practice to overcome relational neglect, abuse, sexual assault, incest, bullying, CPTSD, PTSD, low self-esteem, unresolved grief or trauma, depression, anxiety and to integrate journeys with plants or psychedelics. A recipient of the prestigious Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship, she writes for Open to Hope and the Huffington Post and is the author of several bestselling books, including Your Legacy of Love: Realize the Gift in Goodbye and The Facebook Diet, which have been published in multiple languages and featured on The Today Show, the BBC, The Huffington Post, Reuters. Also, her freelance healthy living articles have been published in Medium, Women’s Health, Red, BOOM, Live It Natural, and Yahoo.com. You’ll find her popping in to teach at retreats, festivals, conferences around the world, relaxing at a spa or hot-springs, shopping at a local farmers market, dancing under the moon or creating mischief and magic with family and friends. Gemini was a guest on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart,” where she discussed 'Lasting Memories of Our Parents' with hosts Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley. 
Listen to the show at https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/39570/lasting-memories-of-our-parents

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