The morning of my wedding it poured. The torrential down pour coupled with the wind made for a rough ride to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. You would have thought I would’ve been a nervous wreck considering the fact that my wedding was set to take place on the beach. I was calm.
The rain beat down on the windshield as we made our way to the resort. By the time we reached Ocean Isle, the violent winds had subsided into a cool, gentle breeze and the sun was shining.
I stood out on the balcony of the hotel room, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The ride from Myrtle Beach to Ocean Isle was a blur. I opened my eyes and looked out at the waves. I smiled as I thought about all the storms (not just from earlier) that I had made it through to get to this day, September 30, 2016.
Just a month ago I was in the hospital for surgery. I had been sent back to the doctor for a biopsy after a cyst was discovered on my kidney. I was relieved when the cyst turned out to be benign. The months leading up to the wedding were stressful. There seemed to be one thing after the other. “Your iron is super low.” “There’s a spot on your liver.” “There’s a cyst on your ovary.” I felt like I was constantly at the doctor’s office. I had literally been sick to my stomach the week before the wedding. Not today.
Today was going to be perfect. Today was going to be everything I prayed it would be. My grandmother was on my mind quite a bit today. She would have been so proud and excited. You might think I’m crazy, but every time I have moments when I wish my grandmother was here or she’s weighing heavy on my heart, I see butterflies. Today was no different. A small orange and black butterfly floated by my balcony and off into the distance as I made my way back into the room to prepare for the long day ahead.
While the girls were in the room chatting it up and getting their makeup done, I took some time to myself to relax. I laid down on the bed and thought about the amazing letter I had received from my fiancé earlier. In his letter, he told me how scary my cancer diagnosis had been for him. Reading his letter had brought back so many memories and emotions. Reading his letter took me back to the day I had to tell him I had cancer. His letter made me even more excited about becoming his wife. This man had loved me through the fight of my life!
Our wedding was set to begin at 6:00pm. I could see the arbor and guests taking their seats from the hotel room window. I saw the violinist all set up and playing softly as I waited for the wedding coordinator to let me know it was time. My stomach was in knots and I was already fighting back tears. My 4 year old son kept me company. He was so cute in his white suite and chalkboard that read: here comes mommy.
Months before the wedding he told everyone that when WE got married on the beach, he was going to play in the sand and there was going to be a beautiful rainbow. I was so caught up in walking down the aisle that I didn’t notice the rainbow that appeared in the sky until several friends and family told me about it after the wedding.
I wiped tears away as I saw my son prepare to walk out on the beach.
It was finally my turn.
I heard the violinist begin to play “All of Me” by John Legend as I looked at my dad and grabbed his arm. The wind had picked up quite a bit. I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest as I walked down to my future husband. As soon as I joined hands with him, it was as if everyone disappeared and it was just us.
My wedding was everything I prayed it would be and more. It was perfect. Once the ceremony was over, we took pictures with our bridal party and the boys. The photographer looked up and pointed to the sky. “We have a beautiful pink sunset, this rarely happens,” she said snapping pics. The sky was beautiful. The pink hue of the sky reflecting off the water just added to the picturesque scenery (In case you’re wondering, pink was one of my wedding colors).
It’s hard to find the words to accurately express how amazing it feels to be Mrs. Parker. I am beyond blessed to have a man who loves me unconditionally. When we first started dating, we had no idea that life would throw us such a hard curve ball. From December 2014 to May 2015, he was battling cancer by my side. He stood by me through chemo and a bilateral mastectomy. He has seen me at my worst and pushes me to be my best. I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life with the love of my life.
I've always believed that we tend to be the most effective in areas where we have been the most affected. It's often our deepest pains that draw us closer to our purpose. Those words never really hit home until I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 28. I had watched both my mother and grandmother battle the disease, but never thought I would find myself in the same battle, especially not so young. I've learned through this journey that it's not what you go through, but how you go through it. I wanted to share my story in hopes that it will inspire someone to keep fighting, keep the faith and live on purpose.