Living in limbo

This evening, I was on the phone with a potential client who is planning a wedding for March. It’s at a beautiful venue in the area, one to which I’ve been to attend a friend’s wedding (nearly ten years ago), and her wedding coordinator suggested she contact me about the sorts of flower stuff she and her fiance are interested in for their upcoming event.

Partway through the conversation, she asked me about timing. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Oh, just how long in advance we need to be officially booked, send a deposit, that sort of thing.” I told her my policy on deposits and my usual timeline, and she told me, “I have to share something that I’m sharing with all of the vendors for our wedding so they know in advance. My fiance was diagnosed with cancer last week, and he’s starting chemo, and we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to have the wedding on the original schedule.”

My jaw dropped. “I’m so sorry to hear that,” I told her. “I’m sorry you guys are having to go through such a serious ordeal in the middle of a time that is supposed to be really happy.” I told her I’d be flexible with the timing, and would be completely understanding if they had to postpone or cancel their event. We continued our conversation about their event and my business and what kind of flowers they like, and all I could think about was how rough it all must be. I can’t even imagine trying to plan a wedding with that looming overhead, knowing how sick my fiance is and how sick he will get in order to get better. I’ve seen cancer in the movies, and I’ve sort of tangentially seen cancer in people I’ve known. Going through an illness like that is difficult on everyone, and I can see how one might decide to just put it all off. A good friend of mine in another state who has leukemia signed all the paperwork to be as married to her wife as she can be in a state that doesn’t allow for same-sex marriage, during a time when she was very ill, and they’ve indefinitely postponed their “wedding” celebration until my friend is well enough to enjoy it. But my potential client said she and her fiance agreed they’d go ahead with the planning as though he will be healthy and well enough to have their wedding in March, and they’ll continue to revisit that as time goes on.

“I thought you should know. I told all of our vendors this week,” she said. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to tell a total stranger, over the phone, that my significant other has an illness like that. This potential client has a lot of moxie. She and her fiance both do. He, for being game enough to continue the planning as though he’ll be through the chemotherapy wringer and out the other side far enough that he’ll be ready to celebrate their new family. She, for making those phone calls and for the optimism it takes to marry a person who may not be here in six months or a year. But I guess, really, anyone getting married takes that leap of faith. But not everyone lives in a state of will it or won’t it happen, will we or won’t we get married, will we or won’t we get to grow old together. I’m sending my good thoughts their way, not only because I want to see them get married but because I want them to have that new family; I want that leap in the midst of limbo to pay off.


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