Marriage Penalty

Blogs-contributors, Dan Waeger — By on March 31, 2009 at 11:42 am

Many of the readers of this blog know that last Saturday was supposed to be a pretty big day. The one that involved a white dress and a way-overpriced party. A lot people felt it was important for me to mark the day in a special way or be busy. Sorry folks- every day kinda sucks right now, and just because I was supposed to get married on a particular day doesn’t make it any worse. I just bummed around on the rainy day. Just like I will do again on some days in the future.

At the time we cancelled the wedding, we didn’t acknowledge it on the blog. I suppose some thought this was because it was too painful. Truth is, we didn’t even have time to deal with it at the time it was all happening. A few quick phone calls and emails to vendors undid a few months of planning. My mom and dad graciously and discreetly stepped in to handle the rest- picking up the wedding dress, formally notifying the guest list, and worst of all- dealing with the gifts. To this day, I am not sure what happened to them. I think some are still at my parents house in-limbo.

I know people felt terrible about the whole situation. After all- a wedding is supposed to be one of the big three personal event that make a person’s life complete in today’s world… wedding, first home and kids. Truth is, the wedding planning gave me something to do for a couple of months while I was unemployed and while Dan was undergoing chemo. Even when we were planning, all of the things we focused the most time on were for other people- the gifts and special touches at the reception. In most ways, we knew the wedding wasn’t really for us, but more like a big “thank you” to friends and family. And we had a lot to be thankful for with respect to our support system.

To this day, I don’t really care about the wedding the way you readers probably think I do. Truthfully, it saved me a lot of money that ultimately allowed me to stay with Dan the last few weeks of his life and now to take time for myself. Sure, it was fun to plan, but I am a planner. I enjoy the process of planning most anything.

We did get a marriage license, and thought we’d go to the courthouse by ourselves when Dan had a good day. Well, he never felt well enough for us to go after that (which should tell you something), and it never really mattered to us that we weren’t married. It certainly would’ve saved some headaches with respect to the fact that a fiancee has no legal rights, but we dealt with it the best we could in the time we had. Though it’s a real kick in the shins to be told that, as a fiancee, you’ve got no rights and that legally, you’re no different than the average schmo on the street.

As I was saying to the Boss Lady today, the only reason not having the wedding bothers me is that it was the one thing that cancer took from us during our time together. Until the very end, cancer never prevented us from traveling, working, running… basically enjoying a normal life. Dan & I were more than adament about having a normal life. I remember when we met with the priest the first time last April to schedule the wedding. When he learned that Dan was a cancer survivor, he asked us if we wanted to move the wedding up as opposed to having it in 11 months. You know- just in case. I remember Dan saying that we just wanted the normal process, and 12 months seemed like a good timeframe (we would’ve married 1 year and 1 week from the day we got engaged).

Would we have changed it if we’d known what was in store? Probably not, because after the cancer spread, the wedding ceased to be of any real importance, other than to have a big party for friends and family. And when it did spread back in late June, we didn’t know what would really become of our relationship in some respects. We were optimistic, but realistic.

So yeah, I didn’t get married. Cancer took away the party, and it irritates me just for the fact that Cancer got us on that one. I don’t think it’s as tragic as people would like to think. What would’ve been tragic… what if I decided that I couldn’t hack it, and since I wasn’t married, had no obligation to stick around for the tough stuff. People get divorced over illness. People leave. Dan’s illness brought us full circle. No regrets.

So sorry if I seem emotionally detached from the whole topic of my wedding. I guess I don’t buy into the traditional notion anymore that life begins when you say “I do”. Not being married doesn’t make the loss any easier. Being married wouldn’t make the loss any easier either. I just find solace in the fact that I had a good love story. As Dan said to me “We had a good run”. A pretty great run. Of course, I desperately wish that run was a lot longer, but man, what a wonderful ride no matter how short.

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