For the Beautifully Better, and Overcoming the Worse

September 15, 2022

We had a wedding last weekend. It was perfect. Well, it was as perfect as life these days would allow it to be.

Let’s start off with the challenges. First of all, and damn you COVID-19 for still existing, finding a venue for this wedding was stupid crazy hard. Ryan and Yesi scoured Sacramento for options, and they were forced to delay their nuptials far longer than they would have liked. They had a wonderful attitude, but it wasn’t easy. Then, early this summer, they secured a venue, and they were off and running. Invitations went out, family members started making plans, and it was on!

Then came the hard stuff. None of Ryan’s maternal or paternal grandparents were able to attend the wedding. Also missing was Ryan’s brother Sean, who died in 1997. He leaves a hole in our hearts that was torn a little wider on this wedding weekend.

It gets worse. About six weeks before the wedding, Yesenia’s father unexpectedly passed away. No bride should lose her father so close to the wedding. Brutal.

And then, just to pile on, Yesenia’s mother came down with COVID-19 the day before the wedding. The event was outdoors and we were hoping she would feel good enough to mask up and attend in some isolated way, but unfortunately it was not to be.

So many people, all so very important in our lives, could not attend. Each of them received shoutouts at the wedding for influence they have had in Ryan’s and Yesenia’s lives. But I so wish they could have been there with us. They would have loved every minute of it.

That’s the hard stuff, but damn, it was a lot. I’m writing this the week after the wedding, and putting it down into words is emotional for me.

It’s too much.

And yet, as I have written before, in the face of such pain and hardship, beauty can prevail. And that’s exactly what happened.

Weddings are all about bonding two people together, but they also serve as an outstanding reason to gather friends and family together. Ryan’s brother Dawson came in from Colorado, and his girlfriend Kylie flew in from Boston. My siblings and their families, Jill’s parents, Kelley’s siblings and their families, and so many of Ryan’s friends from Malibu, UCLA, and Sacramento were able to share in the day. During our Friday night on the town in Sacramento (which, by the way, is a GREAT and vibrant city full of fun things to do), and at the wedding reception, Ryan told me how much he loved looking around the room and everywhere he turned, he was seeing another person from another phase of his life. It was wonderful, special, and exactly what a wedding gathering should be.

One of the biggest wishes that parents have for their children is that their lives are filled with love and friendship. Having close friends and a life partner whom you love makes the journey wonderful in the best of times, but even more important in the most challenging times. But here’s the thing. Try though we may, we parents have little to no control over whether our children find love and friendship, and we certainly have very little control over their choices in love and friendship.

That’s why a wedding can be so special for parents.

It’s special because we celebrated not only with our new daughter-in-law, but also with her family. It’s special because, whether Yesi wanted it or not, she gained four new parents. And while we can’t speak for her, we are all thrilled. (I think she’s just fine with us, even though I know I present challenges.) It’s special because it reminded us that Ryan, even without his parents being able to control it or even guide it, chose incredibly wisely with his friends and with his new bride.  It’s special because Yesi, and this was made exceedingly clear as I heard from her friends and siblings, chose incredibly wisely with her friends and with her groom. It’s special because this day was such a long time coming. It’s special because Ryan and Yesi were able to overcome so much to make this beautiful day happen. And most of all, it’s special because Ryan and Yesi are loving, funny, and playful together, reveling in the good times, and supporting each other when life presents challenges. I love that they Bumbled into each other and made this wedding happen.

Did I cry at the wedding, you ask? Only during certain parts, starting from the moment Yesenia appeared. As we all rose, we saw her holding her father’s sombrero in her hands, walking with it down the aisle in her beautiful gown, and eventually placing it on the chair in the front row where he should have been proudly watching his daughter’s wedding. She was strong, and we were all overwhelmed by the power of the moment. So yes, I cried then. And I continued crying as she joined Ryan in front of all of us. Ryan’s Uncle Steve was the officiant, and he was perfect, eliciting all kinds of laughter and emotion with his well-chosen words, allowing me to laugh and cry at the same time. So, no, I didn’t cry, except throughout the entire event. I was able to reel it back a few minutes after the wedding was over. But that was it. Except for during some parts of the reception. But hardly at all besides that.

We celebrated until early the next morning. Our last day together was quiet but still lovely, spending time with family and saying our goodbyes. And now we are back to our normal lives while Ryan and Yesi honeymoon away.   Thanks to Ryan and Yesenia for making us all better and more complete by these wedding memories and stories that can never be taken away.

It was as perfect as it could be.

I’ll continue to worry for my children, hoping that their lives continue to be filled with love and friendship. But right now, life is pretty wonderful, and I am thrilled.

As Ryan always says to me when we review any of my concerns regarding his life, “See Dad? There was never a need to worry. It all worked out.”  

Yes, it did, Ryan.  And I am so happy for both of you.

I will end by sharing an Apache Wedding Blessing that is one of my favorites:

Now you will feel no rain,

For each of you will be shelter to the other.

Now you will feel no cold,

For each of you will be warmth to each other.

Now there is no more loneliness for you,

For each of you will be comfort to the other.

Though you are two bodies,

There is but one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,

To enter into the days of your togetherness.

And, may the days of your life

Be good and long upon the earth.

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  1. Bill Sampson says:

    Congratulations to the happy couple and their extended family

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      Thanks, Bill!

  2. Sally Peel says:

    How wonderful! Congratulations to all of you. I’m so happy for them, and for you.

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      Thanks, Sally!

  3. Connie Harrington says:

    The sombrero. OMG so perfect. Great post Mike! Congratulations to all!

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      Thank you, Connie!

  4. Sherry says:

    Awesome post Mike. Give our congrats from San Diego (and yes, I cried when I read this)

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      Thank you, Sherry!

  5. Rick Bagley says:

    Congratulations Mike, to you and your growing family! I’m sorry to hear so many loved ones couldn’t attend. That had to be rough, particularly for Yesenia and Ryan. But you all still made it a beautiful and special day. You also missed the heat wave that passed through Sac just a couple weeks ago! Congrats again and our very best wishes to the newlyweds.

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      We missed that heat wave by one day, Rick. It was 112 fun-loving degrees at the rehearsal on the day before the wedding, and it dropped to a high of 87 on the day of the wedding. 112 would have been … toasty. Thanks for your good wishes. You know all about the feeling of seeing your children happily married. Let’s both enjoy.

  6. Shannon Dexter says:

    So wonderful and beautiful and true. Thank you for being such a special part of our wedding thirteen years ago!!!

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      Thirteen years! Being your officiant is another one of my life highlights. Seeing you and Tyson so happy whenever I see you makes it even better. Thanks for reading.

  7. Lynn B Johnson says:

    Did I cry through any of this? Just from when you mentioned the beloved family members who were unable to be present…and then, again, when Beautiful Yesenia carried in her father’s sombrero through to your closing Apache Blessing. Yeah, I’m thinking I wasn’t alone in my response to your beautiful post, Mike!
    (and Damn! Ryan looks just like you!)

    What a loving father you are to find the positivity and beauty amidst loss and grief.
    Mazel Tov to you and yours,

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      Looks like you are as strong as I am, Lynn! Thanks for reading, and yes, in spite of everything, it was a wonderful, spectacular, and super fun event for all.

  8. Ida says:

    Beautiful! Just one more of your posts that made me cry. Congratulations to all.

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      Thanks, Ida. But between you and me, making you cry is not too hard to do.

  9. Dermot Stoker says:

    An Outstanding report Mike, a wonderful celebration indeed. Complete with many tears, and much laughter and joy. The most important thing in life is Love. That is why Weddings are so important, they allow us all to feel Love, and see it, it is visible at a Wedding. The Smiles, the Hugs, the Tears all in plain sight. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, D.

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      Thanks, Dermot, and as usual, everything you say is spot on. I’m pushing for many years of happiness for all of our children. It’s what we live for.

  10. Cassandra Wiseman says:

    Sending the Happy Couple all my love and my best prayers for life to bring them bountiful blessings of love and happiness, prosperity and wonderful health and great joys.

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      Thanks, Cassandra. Our sons have supported each other over many, many years. It was wonderful to see Charles and the gang, and they had a spectacular time together.

  11. Les Bennett says:

    Thanks Mike for sharing this post, it was very moving and meaningful in so many ways. It will be one that I will continue
    To think about and remember for many days.

    1. Mike Matthews says:

      Thanks, Les. You go back a long ways with Ryan, and I’m glad it was special to you.

  12. Whitt says:

    Dude. So amazing in every way. Xoxo 🙏

  13. Tracy A Kooy says:

    This was beautiful, Mike. Congratulations to everyone! Sending happiness and laughter for your son and his bride for years to come. And I cried through the whole thing…happy tears, mostly. Huge hugs! xxoo

  14. Mark Massey says:

    With a child married, I guess this means you are finally a grownup. Fine looking young man is Ryan. Come see us in LR soon. Miss you.


  15. Betty Glass says:

    Beautiful wedding! Beautiful couple! Beautiful post! Yes, I cried all the way through. My wish for them is for 65 wonderful years, at least, faithfully together, as I have just completed with a wonderful guy! God bless them both and you. bg

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